The DNR expects air quality to improve on Thursday, but there’s still a chance the Milwaukee area will see smoke impacts through Thursday evening.
By Sarah McGrew
June 28, 2023
MILWAUKEE — One of the local performers you’ll see on stage at Summerfest this weekend is Emmit James. James is a Reagan high school graduate and said it’s been a life-long dream to perform at Summerfest.
He described his music style as, “a lot of hip hop, jazzy fusion influences, live music. A lot of energy. A good mix between upbeat and more chill jazz-type vibes.”
As he prepares to take the stage Thursday he’s taking into consideration the poor air quality we’ve seen in Milwaukee the last few days.
“As of the last couple of days it’s been on my radar,” James said. “Maybe wanna be cautious leading up to, wearing a mask and stuff like that.”
Mostly, he’s just hoping the air clears before he hits the stage.
The DNR expects air quality to improve on Thursday, but there’s still a chance the Milwaukee area will see smoke impacts through the evening.
Amy Kalkbrenner, an associate professor at UWM’s College of Public Health, said the air quality we’ve experienced the last couple of days will like impact performers.
“The more you breathe, the more air pollutants you’re simply drawing into your body. And what makes you breathe heavier? It’s exercise,” Kalkbrenner explained. “It’s a workout being up there. They’re using their lungs to sing, to dance. They’re raising their energy and moving around. So be kind to those performers, they’re working in much less than ideal situations.”
Kalkbrenner said it’s also important to recognize the role climate change plays in these situations and the impact it could have going forward on Milwaukee’s beloved summer festivals.
“We know that these wildfires are influenced by climate change. And unfortunately what that means right now is that we are going to see this kind of situation become more and more common. So we have to take that into account when we think about the long-term health effects,” Kalkbrenner said.
Fans heading to Summerfest this weekend should also pay attention to any air quality alerts. Kalkbrenner suggests wearing a mask on days when the air quality is considered unhealthy.