Thanks for coming
to the BIG GIG BBQ!

Presented by

About the Big Gig BBQ

The Big Gig BBQ

When & Where

Sunday, September 4
5:00 pm — 10:00 pm
Henry Maier Festival Park
200 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee
Rain or shine

This Labor Day weekend, you’ll find the best BBQ in town on the south end of Henry Maier Festival Park. Presented by Meijer, the Big Gig BBQ will be serving up smoky ribs, savory brisket and signature BBQ from ten of the best local and national cookers. An officially sanctioned event of the Milwaukee Rally, the Big Gig BBQ will feature two stages of live entertainment, including a national headliner, and the finest beer. There’s no backyard BBQ that can compete with this party!

Food & Drink

Enjoy savory fare from local and national BBQ experts and a variety of beer!

  Download Menu (8.4MB)

Atlas BBQ
Atlas BBQ

Atlas BBQ has been serving great BBQ in Grafton, WI since 2012. Best known for the three B's - BBQ, Beer and Bourbon, Atlas BBQ takes great pride in making BBQ from scratch daily and featuring unique interpretations of world BBQ.

Dickey’s Barbeque Pit
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit truly speaks Barbecue. Famous for their Texas style barbecue with meats that are smoked slow with real hickory wood every day on site – it’s no wonder why Dickey’s is known for some of the world’s best barbecue since 1941.

Double B’s BBQ and Burgers
Double B’s BBQ and Burgers

Promising “Serious BBQ,” Double B’s is a local favorite from West Allis that boasts award winning wings and some of the best smoked BBQ in the Milwaukee area.

Famous Dave’s
Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que

Famous Dave’s passion for BBQ is famous! Their pitmasters slow cook quality meats to perfection with smoldering hickory logs and hand-rubbed fresh spices.


Specializing in “Low Country” cooking of the Carolinas, Creole and Cajun cooking of Louisiana and traditional slow-smoked Southern BBQ, Maxie’s is a local favorite for southern comfort food.


Family owned and operated by the Picciurro Family since 1942, Pitch’s is locally and nationally famous for their bar-b-que baby back pork ribs and chicken as well as seafood, steaks and chops.

Saz’s State House
Saz’s State House

From BBQ baby back ribs and pulled pork sandwiches to their famous combination platter of mozzarella sticks, sour cream & chive fries and cheese curds, Saz’s is celebrating 40 years of providing “The Finest” in dining and service.

Silver Spur Texas Smokehouse BBQ
Silver Spur Texas Smokehouse BBQ

Housed in the second oldest restaurant in the State of Wisconsin, Silver Spur serves slow-cooked, high quality meat Texas style, with smoky BBQ sauce on the side.

Smoke Shack
Smoke Shack

Smoke Shack serves only certified humanely raised meats that are dry rubbed, slow smoked and sauced by you.

Charcoal Grill and Rotisserie
The Charcoal Grill & Rotisserie

A staple in Wisconsin BBQ, The Charcoal Grill & Rotisserie serves up a hearty menu of savory favorites and “smokes out” local festivals every summer, including Summerfest.

Miller Lite
Blue Moon

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of beer too! Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy products from Miller Lite, Leinenkugel’s, Blue Moon and more.


Brigg's and Stratton stage

Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard and the South Pavilion will be home to live entertainment including country, rock and blues music and cooking demonstrations .

Chris Janson

8:30 PM : Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Stage

Chris Janson

Chris Janson was born to entertain crowds. He started his professional music career in 2005. Janson is a singer and songwriter with multiple #1s, is platinum selling many times over, and has hundreds of millions of streams. His list of hit songs include his #1 breakout single “Buy Me a Boat,” “Holdin' Her,” “Truck Yeah” (Tim McGraw), “That's How I'll Always Be” (Tim McGraw), “I Love This Life” (LoCash), and over 25 additional hit songs recorded by a long list of established artists. Janson has been nominated for multiple awards and has won several along the way, including iHeart Radio Award's "Country Song of The Year" for “Buy Me a Boat.” Janson is currently featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame inside the “Buy Me A Boat” exhibit, which celebrates the hit song and his soaring career. He plays every instrument on stage, and is best known for his signature harmonica playing. Additionally, Janson has played the Grand Ole Opry more than 145 times to date, and made numerous television appearances including: The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, CONAN, The Today Show, ACM Awards, and ACCA Awards.

Tucker Beathard

7:00 PM : Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Stage

Tucker Beathard

At just 20 years old, singer-songwriter Tucker Beathard already exudes the confidence and swagger of an established artist. It's probably because music is in his blood. He started playing drums and guitar in a band with his brothers at 10 years old and had an early immersion into songwriting via his dad, two-time BMI "Songwriter of the Year" Casey Beathard. It was Tucker's rebellious attitude as a teenager that inspired the lyrics for the chart-topping hit "Homeboy" recorded by Eric Church. Not long after making the decision to forgo a baseball scholarship to focus on music, Beathard signed a publishing deal with Big Machine Music and a recording contract with DOT Records. Now he is beginning to carve a path for his own unique and unapologetic sound with lyrics like "Hell no I don't mind turning heads; Hell yeah I'll get by living on the edge; Our point of views may never meet; I don't wanna be you, yeah I know me." Beathard is working on his debut album and is already booked for shows this summer with superstars Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban. His hit single, “Rock On” is climbing the Country charts and he was named in Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” (November 2015).

Danny Miller Band

5:00 PM : Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Stage

Danny Miller Band

Danny Miller has been playing the blues in southeast Wisconsin for the last thirty five years with some of Wisconsin's best musicians. In that time he has collected a loyal group of fans who love to listen and dance to his music which features his soulful voice and soaring harmonica solos.

Danny started his career with "Rocket 88" and played with several bands over the years, including Plumb Loco and the well-known "Cahoots" before forming his own group in 1980. Danny won the 2002 WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Award winner as a harmonica player and is an acknowledged "Master" of the instrument. Danny was nominated for a WAMI again in 2004. His talents are in demand and he has contributed solos to the CD's of many local artists. He continues to make guest appearances when the situation calls for a great "harp" player.

8:30 PM : South Pavillion

Ronnie Baker Brooks

In the Olympic tradition, when the torch is passed, the flame transfers from one sure hand to the next – keeping it burning, while at the same time moving forward. It’s a fitting image for the career of Ronnie Baker Brooks, the exciting Chicago musician whose fiery guitar playing and soulful singing make him today’s premier torchbearer of the urban blues tradition.

As the son of blues great Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie came of age as a witness to the Chicago blues scene in all its glory and struggle. “I grew up among the best of the best,” he recalls. “Every time I play, I feel like I’ve got to do it with the authenticity and passion that I saw in guys like Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, B.B. King and my father. But I also have to put my twist on it: None of those guys repeated what came before them.”

Chicago Blues Super Session
6:00 PM : South Pavillion

Chicago Blues Super Session

The Chicago Blues Super Session is like having a complete Blues Festival all in one show. Every one of these world-renowned musicians could carry a whole evening by themselves. But having them all together sharing their talents on the same stage is a very special event. This is a group of some of Chicago’s finest blues artists and is nothing short of amazing.

5:00 PM and 7:30 PM : South Pavillion

Biker Billy

Biker Billy will roar into the Big Gig BBQ, bringing his outrageously wild and hilarious cooking show. Grab a cold beverage and be prepared for some fiery hot cooking as only Biker Billy can create. You’ll get a totally different take on BBQ from Biker Billy and, if you are lucky, a free sample too. Plus, if you are brave enough to join him onstage you’ll experience something hotter than a Harley exhaust pipe in Milwaukee Rally traffic.

Mad Dog & Merrill
5:00 PM : Near South Pavillion
Mad Dog & Merrill

Nationally recognized and self-proclaimed "Grillologists," Mad Dog & Merrill, entertain and educate thousands of backyard enthusiasts every year with the finer points of grilling. They want nothing more than to make everyone a better griller and have a ton of fun in the process. Mad Dog & Merrill travel the country performing in front of live audiences, writing cookbooks and making videos to show people how easy it is to be creative and entertain in their own backyard. Enjoy this web site and your comprehensive behind the scenes tour of the most entertaining and knowledgeable "Grillologists" of the past 30 years, Mad Dog & Merrill.

6:30 PM : Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Stage
Meijer Local Celebrity Bacon Eating Contest

Watch contestants “out eat” each other for the chance to win a $100 gift card to Meijer and competitive eating cred. Hosted by local critic, writer and TV/radio personality, Gino Salomone, the bacon eating contest contestants will include:

  • Eric Hucke – Reigning Champ from the Bacon Eating Contest of Summerfest 2015
  • Makenzie Boettcher – 88Nine Radio Milwaukee
  • Molly Snyder –
  • Duncan MacManus – WMIL FM106.1
  • Tyler Maas – Milwaukee Record

Download Contest Rules


Big Gig BBQ Entertainment VIP Package
2016 Big Gig BBQ Entertainment VIP Package

Enjoy extra perks with the Big Gig BBQ Entertainment VIP Package!
For $50:

One (1) Big Gig BBQ general admission (Sunday 9/4/16)
One (1) parking admission
One (1) admission to the north side of the Big Gig BBQ VIP Deck where you can enjoy a great view of the main stage, two (2) complimentary beers, light snacks, and unlimited soda and water
Free parking*
A keepsake laminate & lanyard

VIPig Pass

Enjoy a few extra perks with the VIPig Pass!
For $30 in advance, pass holders get the VIP treatment with:

Admission to the Big Gig BBQ
Four (4) 2oz BBQ tastings from any vendor
Four (4) 3oz beer tastings of Leinenkugel’s, Redd’s or Henry’s Hard Soda
Free parking*
A keepsake laminate & lanyard

The parking barcode is included on your print-at-home VIPig Pass. When you present your VIPig Pass, you will receive your VIPig packet which will include your food and beer tasting tickets and keepsake laminate. Please enter the grounds via one of the VIPig turnstiles. VIPig Pass holders may park free of charge in Lot P.

General Admission Tickets

General Admission - $15
Children 10 and under admitted free!


The following items are ALLOWED at the Big Gig BBQ:

  • Umbrellas 
  • Strollers
  • Small Camera
  • Small Bag or Purse
  • Drawstring backpacks are allowed

The following items are NOT ALLOWED at the Big Gig BBQ:

  • Backpacks
  • Large Bags over 9X10X12 inches
  • Camelback style hydration packs
  • Picnic Baskets
  • Outside food and beverages
  • Cans or glass bottles
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs or substances
  • Firearms
  • Knives
  • Mace or pepper spray
  • Weapons or objects that could be used as weapons
  • Fireworks
  • Professional grade cameras or video equipment
  • Professional recording devices
  • Pets (except service animals)
  • “Selfie sticks”
  • Banners or flags on poles
  • Laser pointers
  • Lawn chairs
  • Skateboards or skates
  • Wagons
  • Kites
  • Frisbees
  • Other carry-ins as determined by management

NOTICE:  Pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 943.12(1M) (c) (3), individuals may not enter or remain at Henry Maier Festival Park while carrying a firearm, at any “special event.” A “special event” is defined in Wisconsin Statute 943.13(1e) (h). All events at Henry Maier Festival Park are special events, as defined in Wisconsin Statute 943.13(1e) (h).

Pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 943.13(1M) (b), an individual may not enter or remain at Henry Maier Festival Park while concealing or openly carrying any knife. Any permissions given by any Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. employee that are in conflict with this notice are void.  Failure to comply by this notice will result in immediate ejection from Henry Maier Festival Park, without refund, and violators will be subject to the fullest penalty under the law.


Event Map
Event Map
Getting Here

Don’t know how to get Henry Maier Festival Park? Directions for the best route will be posted closer to the event.

 Get Around Guide


Parking will be available in Summerfest-owned lots for $10 (VIPig Pass holders park free in Lot P).

Complimentary motorcycle parking is available on the grounds, capacity pending.


A special thank you to our presenting sponsor, Meijer. The Big Gig BBQ is also sponsored by Miller Lite and is an officially sanctioned event of the Milwaukee Rally.


Miller Lite

Milwaukee Rally

Get in touch

Main Office
Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.
639 E. Summerfest Place
Milwaukee WI 53202
P: +1 414-273-2680
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