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Summerfest tabs Earth, Wind & Fire, Avett Bros. for BMO Harris spots

Side-by-side images of three men sitting in a black-and-white photo and three men in flashy clothes smiling at the camera.
Avett Brothers / Earth, Wind & Fire / Facebook

With its slate of American Family Insurance Amphitheater performers almost full, Summerfest moved slightly north to the Amp’s sidekick Monday morning, revealing the first two artists who will play the BMO Harris Pavilion during the festival.

The Avett Brothers will take the stage’s second headlining opportunity on the first Friday, June 23. The group released their 10th studio album, Closer Than Together, in October 2019 and followed it up rather quickly with EP The Third Gleam in August of the following year.

The band got a slightly less conventional release in January 2022, when the Berkeley Repertory Theatre debuted Swept Away, a musical based on an 1888 shipwreck featuring songs by the Avett Brothers. We probably won’t get high drama at the Summerfest show, but high energy is a pretty good bet, as the group has shown during their many stops in Milwaukee over the years, including a BMO Harris set back in 2016.

The second Friday of the festival, June 30, belongs to Earth, Wind & Fire, who have been at it for more than a half-century and spent the last few of those decades racking up career-spanning recognition. They entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, picked up a lifetime-achievement award from the Grammys in 2012 and were feted at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2019.

In case you’re not familiar with how the pavilion works, there’s free general admission seating that rewards the early birds on the day of the show, as well as reserved seating that goes on sale well in advance. Tickets for these two shows, which include Summerfest admission, will be available starting at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster and in person at the Summerfest Box Office.