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  • Writer's pictureElisabeth Gasparka

Summerfest and Henry Maier Festival Park

In this episode of Creative MKE, Elisabeth speaks with Kevin Canady, Vice President of Sales & Business Development, and Scott Ziel, Vice President of Entertainment, at Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., the organization that manages and hosts Summerfest, and books a variety of festivals and other events on the grounds throughout the year. The group reflects on how Milwaukee World Music Festival Inc stewards the unique cultural asset that is the Henry Maier Festival Park, 75 acres located on the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee. Ziel and Canady speak to the nature of Milwaukee’s festival culture, the history of Summerfest, and how the organization helps regional companies to retain and attract talent, while creating a variety of paid opportunities for local talent. Each year, Summerfest relies on hundreds of creative contractors and vendors—from professional jugglers, to sound engineers, to photographers and restauranteurs to make the festival all that it is.

Summerfest is the world's largest music festival
Elevated view of the Summerfest grounds at dusk (Image:

Canady and Ziel shed light on the process of building Summerfest (hint: the planning begins just as soon as each festival ends). Despite changes in the music industry especially in the wake of the pandemic, Canady and Ziel and the whole team remain focused on producing and attracting events that showcase the best of Milwaukee, responding to the needs and tastes of attendees, and delivering on creative ways that an event of such enormous scale can positively impact the Milwaukee community beyond presenting affordable world-class music and entertainment.



Full Interview Transcript (Click to Expand):




References and resources:

Kevin Canady Bio (click to expand):

Scott Ziel Bio (click to expand):


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