The outdoor venue for summer concerts will be upgraded, “reshaped” and expanded slightly starting in September as part of a $115 capital improvement campaign at Meijer Gardens.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s much-ballyhooed $115 million expansion and renovation campaign being announced today includes significant upgrades to the outdoor amphitheater which hosts an uber-popular summer concert series.
Starting in September, after this summer’s concert series is completed, work will begin on reconfiguring the sound and lighting area, adding 100-plus permanent fixed seats in the VIP “sponsor” area and creating permanent bars on the east and west sides of the upper amphitheater.
After the 2018 season, the existing concession building – which only opened in 2011 as part of the last amphitheater renovation project – will be torn down and replaced with a new structure that’s three times the size.
The new building will feature expanded concessions, enhanced box office, green rooms for artists and crew, and three unisex restrooms accessible from outside the gates for guests waiting in line for concerts.
In addition, the amphitheater’s lawn seating area will be “reshaped and expanded,” with a small increase (less than 5 percent) in the 1,900-capacity of the venue. The project also will add four covered entry gates to replace the three existing uncovered gates.
John VanderHaagen, Meijer Gardens’ public relations manager, said the amphitheater improvements are aimed at maintaining the “intimacy” of the outdoor venue while boosting “the capacity and quality of the sponsor seating area by adding permanent fixed seating to replace the temporary folding chairs that would often become damp after a rainfall.”
EXPANDED CONCESSIONS FOR ‘QUICKER FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICE’
The new folding seats will save time and labor, “eliminating the need for staff to set up, dry and tear down the seats before and after each show.”
The enlarged, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) concession building that will be constructed in fall 2018 is designed for “quicker food and beverage service and increased capacity to serve our guests,” VanderHaagen said, “as well as convenient new restrooms for guests waiting in line to enter the venue.”
A larger plaza area created within the gates “will help shorten lines and guest wait times,” he added. “The tremendous success of the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer Gardens and the desire to improve the guest experience is what is driving these upgrades.”
So far, for summer 2017, Meijer Gardens has announced three bookings — Alabama-based soul group St. Paul & The Broken Bones on June 9, the “Four Voices” tour with folk artists Joan Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Indigo Girls on June 12 and classic rock icon Ian Anderson, frontman for Jethro Tull, on Aug. 18.
The rest of the lineup will be announced in mid-April, with tickets going on sale to Meijer Gardens members on April 29 and to the general public on May 13. Ticket prices haven’t yet been announced.
Today’s announcement noted the work on the amphitheater will begin in September “if the financial resources are secured” during the capital campaign, which already has raised $102 million.
The bulk of Meijer Gardens’ four-year improvement project is actually focused on other parts of the sprawling gardens facility and will include a new 60,000-square-foot, LEED-certified welcome center, a new 20,000-square-foot Covenant Learning Center, new Peter C. and Emajean Cook Transportation Center, new Sculpture Garden entry plaza, re-imagined and expanded BISSELL, Inc. Scenic Corridor, new Outdoor Picnic Pavilion, new Padnos Families Rooftop Sculpture Garden and expanded and accessible parking and urban gardens.
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC