Rainbow Summer at the Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee



Free and discounted outdoor concerts and films available throughout the summer to the public starting this July at the Peck Pavilion.

Following a year without live outdoor performances, the Marcus Performing Arts Center is bringing back the Rainbow Summer outdoor entertainment series at the Peck Pavilion. The series includes weekly free and discounted outdoor concerts, family-friendly films and performances on Thursday evenings, July 15 through September.

Longtime Milwaukee-area residents may recall Rainbow Summer as the original outdoor entertainment series, bringing free live performing arts to the city, before Milwaukee had Jazz in the Park in Cathedral Square (1991), River Rhythms at Pere Marquette Park (1996) or Chill on the Hill in Bayview (2004).

Making its debut in 1975 as the Alewives Jazz Festival, the outdoor entertainment series served as a place for the community to come together to delight in the arts while enjoying the few months of warm Wisconsin weather. Renamed Rainbow Summer in 1981, the festival continued to provide free live performing arts programming for Milwaukee each summer until 2003.

“We could not be more excited to be among the first to bring back free, live outdoor entertainment to the Milwaukee community this season,” said Marcus Center President and CEO Kendra Whitlock Ingram. “Rainbow Summer Reimagined gives us a sense of nostalgia — both for those who remember Rainbow Summer from decades ago, as well as those who have been craving this return to normal over the past 16 months.”

Included in this year’s lineup is a diverse range of performances, from K-pop and ballet, to feature films for the whole family. To make this year’s Rainbow Summer the most memorable one yet, the Marcus Performing Arts Center has already begun improvements to enhance the attendee experience through the creation of a dynamic and vibrant new outdoor public space, including audio and visual upgrades with the installation of a custom 9- by 16-feet LED video wall, new speakers, soundboard and cameras to enable streaming capabilities.

The Rainbow Summer Reimagined lineup includes live musical performances from Marc Broussard, Billy McGuigan & The Downliners, Chicken Wire Empire, De La Buena, DLC: DANCE, KLASS & The Student Body present "Back 2 Skool, and Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience.



There are two types of tickets you can purchase for the Rainbow Summer concerts:

    -     “Reserved Bowl Seats” in Peck Pavilion. These tickets are priced per person.
    -     “Reserved PODs” on the lawn. Each POD can accommodate up to 5 people. Only 1 ticket is needed for the entire POD.

How early can we get into our pods?
Grounds will open 1 hour in advance of showtime.

How are the pods delineated?
There will be a white box painted on the ground with a small flag denoting the pod number.

Click here to view the Rainbow Summer seating options.

Should we bring bag chairs to sit on and can we bring food and beverages?
Feel free to bring your chairs and blankets. Food and beverages are not allowed to be brought in. Food and beverages will be available thru Sazama's on the Marcus Center grounds.

Click here to view Sazama's Rainbow Summer menu.

As part of the Rainbow Summer Reimagined lineup, the Marcus Center will also show a series of films FREE to the public. These include: Cinderella, Center Stage, and Footloose.

Seating for the free movie series is lawn seating and on a first-come basis.