MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn on Monday, July 1st responded to an incident in which the Summerfest grounds were packed on Saturday night, and Summerfest officials even let fest-goers into the fest for free for a 15-minute period.
"This is a big city. And in big cities, sometimes there's really big events with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. I think it's fair to say - last Saturday night, if the attendance figures are right, we basically had the city of Green Bay on the Summerfest grounds - in one night," Chief Flynn said.
Estimates say about 117,000 people were at Summerfest on Saturday, June 29th -- but despite the numbers, Chief Flynn says there were no major arrests or incidents.
Summerfest officials say they were caught off guard by the number of people that showed up at three of the ticket gates.
Officials could not keep up with the demand, lines formed and congestion and impatience began to build.
Police and Summerfest security officials made the decision to open the gates for 15 minutes, let people in for free, and then return to normal ticketing activity.
As for whether Summerfest plans to make any changes after Saturday night’s gridlock:
“Our current plans work well. (Saturday) night was an extraordinary situation with different volumes of people. We don’t anticipate that happening again,” Summerfest Chief Marketing Officer John Boler said.
Police and Summerfest security personnel did not report any arrests or injuries as a result of the overcrowding.
Summerfest officials advise fest-goers to purchase a Summerfest ticket online, and print that ticket to take with them to the fest, as a means of avoiding the lines.
Summerfest runs through July 7th.