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Summerfest’s legendary BMO Harris lineup adds Elvis Costello

A man wearing a dark suit and sunglasses holds an acoustic guitar with one hand extended up into the air.
Mark Seliger

Usually for concert announcements, I try to provide a quick summary of the headliner, a sort of thesis statement on why someone might want to trade their hard-earned money for a ticket. I’m not even sure where I’d start with the artist Summerfest just announced for the BMO Harris Pavilion: Elvis Costello.

The 50-year veteran of the music scene will play the first weekend of the festival with longtime backing band the Imposters, taking the stage Saturday, June 24. Costello’s addition fills the eighth of nine available headlining spots and follows very quickly upon the other announcement Monday morning of Cypress Hill.

The man born Declan Patrick MacManus is a genre vagabond. He’s done punk, new wave, power pop and baroque pop. He’s put out albums solo; with the Imposters and his other backing band, the Attractions; and in a stunning array of collaborations with the likes of Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and the Roots. He’s also appeared in The Simpsons, 30 Rock, the second Austin Powers movie and Talladega Nights.

In short, the guy’s a rock star. His 32nd studio album, The Boy Named If, came out last year and was kind of a banger. He also just finished up a residency in New York City that spanned 10 consecutive nights and never played the same song twice. So while you may not know for sure what you’re going to hear at one of his concerts, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be good.

You can wait for the day of the show and try to snag one of the free general-admission seats. Or you can pick up a reserved ticket at 10 a.m. this Friday, March 17, online via Ticketmaster or at the Summerfest box office.