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Summerfest announces AJR will ‘replace’ Jimmy Buffett at the Amp

 An older man smiles while playing an acoustic guitar on stage in a darkened live-music venue.
Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefers / Facebook

The “Jimmy Buffett playing this year’s Summerfest” saga has been interesting to follow, and it finally reached some form of closure Tuesday afternoon, when the festival announced AJR as the headliner of its July 6 show at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

If you recall, that date on the Amp calendar had long been vacant, although it was an open secret the Big Gig had its eye on Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band. Then, Buffett revealed May 18 that he had been hospitalized in Boston after a trip to the Bahamas.

The announcement resulted in a statement from Summerfest: “More information will be provided at a later date regarding Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band’s concert on Thursday, July 6 at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.” Apparently, the festival shared everyone else’s stance that this was an open secret because no such concert had ever been officially announced.

As we ambled toward Summerfest’s opening day, the “TBD” disappeared from beside the July 6 date, replaced by Buffett. It turns out that’s as close as we got to Mr. Cheeseburger in Paradise being officially added to the lineup, which now includes the Metzger (or Met) brothers from AJR.

Buffett’s social-media channels don’t mention anything about the cancellation as of this writing. But I suppose if you were never officially part of an event, do you need to post anything official about not being part of it? Anyway, as a result, it’s difficult to determine whether this is a continuation of his previous medical issues or some other confluence of the events that led to the switch. If it’s the former, we certainly wish Buffett all the best for his health and that he can get back to Wisconsin soon.

AJR, meanwhile, will apparently headline the Amp on July 6 while still filling the role of opener for Imagine Dragons two nights later. The brotherly indie-pop trio has released four studio albums, including a pair of Billboard top 10 efforts in 2019’s Neotheater and 2021’s OK Orchestra. More recently, they dropped three singles: “I Won’t” last July, “The DJ Is Crying for Help” last November and “The Dumb Song” in April.

If you want to pick up tickets to, hopefully, the last headliner to be announced for the AmFam Amp, there’s a Summerfest email list presale tomorrow at 10 a.m. and a general sale at the same time the following day online and at the Summerfest box office.