Prince likes us

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Summerfest kicks up its cool quotient with younger lineup


Journal Sentinel pop music critic
Posted: June 19, 2004

Prince likes us

Babisch, who books all the Marcus Amphitheater acts for Summerfest,
labors each year to keep ticket prices affordable. In 2003, for
example, bargaining with Fleetwood Mac’s management led to Summerfest
having the lowest ticket prices of the band’s tour. Keeping cost in
check is increasingly difficult, however, as the industrywide average
continues to rise, particularly for older performers.

“The older, more seasoned acts like Madonna are generating the
highest grosses, but that goes in line with them having the higher
ticket prices,” said Ray Waddell, who covers the touring industry as
a senior writer for Billboard.

MTV’s Armenia wasn’t surprised to hear Madonna, Van Halen and most
other older-skewing acts were skipping Summerfest, with the exception
of Crosby, Stills & Nash, who will headline the amphitheater July 3.

More established acts also tend to have more elaborate production
requirements for their performances and might not be able to set up
in an amphitheater setting.

Prince, who kicks off Summerfest on Thursday, is an exception to the
demanding, high-priced veterans hitting the road this season.

“Prince reworked his entire schedule to play here because he likes
playing here. We’re his only outdoor date,” said Babisch, adding that
the funk-rock icon also was willing to change his stage configuration
to fit into the amphitheater.

-mail Gemma Tarlach at [email protected].