Lifest returns to Oshkosh in 2021, live entertainment hopeful at other venues

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 12:10 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 4, 2021 at 10:33 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Another sign summer might look closer to normal: Organizers of Lifest say the Christian music festival will go on this July in Oshkosh.

“I think people are really ready to get out and do something. Obviously, people are still cautious but that’s the joy of living in the country that we live in: We have the ability to make those decision for ourselves,” said John Dougherty, festival director.

Last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Appleton-based Life Promotions says it’s working with Winnebago County and the City of Oshkosh to make sure safety measures are in place for vendors and people attending the festival. Organizers say Lifest typically attracts more than 25,000 people a day.

The four-day Lifest kicks off July 8 at Sunnyview Expo Center. Tickets are on sale now at

Organizers say they’re still working on acts but they already include Newsboys, Crowder, Matt Maher, Skillet, Matthew West and Zach Williams.

”I think all of our artists are ready to get out and perform. They’re ready to see crowds again. They’re ready to perform in front if people. For our main stage we basically moved our 2020 lineup to 2021 with a few exceptions,” said Dougherty.

We’re told camping is also available during the festival.

Lifest has put on concerts at Sunnyview Expo Center since 1999.

Meanwhile, spokespeople for other venues which host live entertainment say the interest is coming back slowly.

“There’s some concerts that are out there, so our fingers are crossed that those things will happen as they’re scheduled, but you just never know in this atmosphere and this time,” said Terry Charles, senior manager of corporate communications at PMI Entertainment.

Gamblers hockey games and Disney on Ice are a few events which have gone off without a hitch, but concerts have been more challenging to book due to social distancing measures.

“If a concert that’s currently out there on the books and has been sold out, it basically needs to happen as a sold out concert. It’s not like you just tell 75 percent of the people you can’t come and the other 25 percent you can. That won’t work on a number of different levels much less financially,” said Charles.

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