New BMO Harris Pavilion to debut at Summerfest 2012

MILWAUKEE -- Summerfest organizers say the sounds will be smoother, the sights will get better and the crowds even bigger at the the new BMO Harris Pavilion.  The $14 million project started last fall. It replaces the classic rock stage.

"We've got some new additions to the grounds that people are absolutely going to love," Summerfest VP for sales and marketing John Boler said.

The pavilion is hard to miss.  It has some of the best views in the city.

"It's at the corner of water and water," BMO Harris executive Brad Chapin said. "We've got water at the lagoon, we've got water at the lake.  We've got an incredible view of the lake or the city."

It's easy to tell Lake Michigan was the builder's muse.  A 50,000 square foot roof looks like waves.  Blue seats are front and center.  The stage looks like it's floating on water.

"What's your going to be seeing is an upgraded experience for some really big bands," Chapin said.

The area can hold up to 10,000 people.  There is standing room and seating at a bar near the lake, in addition to those covered under the roof.  Those standing can watch show on huge video screens.

"We think it's going to be a great experience and a huge addition to Summerfest," Chapin said.

The cost to sit in the bleachers is free with a Summerfest pass.  Closer seats require special free passes that have already been distributed by BMO Harris Bank. These passes can be bought on Ticketmaster for the price of the website's service fee $3.00.

Steve Miller Band will be the first headliner to take the stage Wednesday night.