Company News

Summerfest Amphitheater Reinvigorates Concert Experience

Concertgoers at Milwaukee’s Summerfest enjoyed a dramatically improved experience this year, due to major changes at the American Family Amphitheater – the main stage at the lakefront festival grounds.

F.J.A. Christiansen’s Sheet Metal department played a big role in the upgrade that literally raised the roof from 39 feet to 65 feet, allowing better site lines. The existing roof was separated and raised, with new structural support added.

FJAC crews installed five different panel systems, noted FJAC Vice President Don Walter. Those ranged from a screened area that fills in the space created by raising the roof, sound-absorbing insulated rockwool panels for side walls, and soffit panels. FJAC worked with Millennium Forms of Elkhorn, Wis., on the panel systems.

The main facade of the theater has stainless steel decorative tiles that were given a unique blue color via heat treating.

The project had to be completed in time for the opening of Summerfest on June 26. To meet that hard deadline, FJAC at times had four crews and six lifts on the job site, and during some weeks work went on seven days of the week.

“We absolutely had to meet the deadline, so we did everything we could to succeed, which we did, thanks to our hard-working crews,” said Jeff Keller, FJAC Sheet Metal Superintendent. “We not only met the deadline, we helped give the amphitheater an incredible look. It just looks great.”

The $50 million overall project managed by Hunzinger Construction and designed by Eppstein Uhen Architects also upgraded food and beverage operations, added restrooms and VIP hospitality areas, expanded concourses and enhanced accessibility. The backstage was also rebuilt.  Sheet Metal Foremen Jason Thelen and Paul Keller led the on site installation, while Brad Skryzpchak led sheet metal shop fabrication.

Work on the second phase of the project, which will add new concourses, restrooms, seats, additional hospitality areas and increased food and beverage operations, began immediately after this year’s festival concluded on July 7.