Interim amphitheater plan to keep live music alive in Irvine
FivePoint and Live Nation have announced a proposal to build an interim outdoor concert venue on 45 acres of land at the end of the runways of the old MCAS El Toro base.
The new, interim amphitheater would seat 12,000, compared to the 16,000 who attended shows at Irvine Meadows, and be within walking distance of the train station at El Toro. It would stand for some three years, while, hopefully, plans to build a permanent outdoor concert venue are finalized.
The master plan for the Orange County Great Park has long called for an amphitheater in the Cultural Terrace, the part of the park that is controlled by the city and the furthest from realization. Insiders say that the Cultural Terrace cannot move forward until a lease for recycling facilities located on that part of the old base expires in 2018.
Public pressure to come up with an alternative outdoor venue for concerts has been building throughout the summer, as music fans attending Irvine Meadows shows came to the final realization that there would be no last-minute reprieve for the much-loved locale. Several of the musical acts that took the stage in recent months were outspoken about the loss of Irvine Meadows, and the need for a new venue.
In August, a “Save Live Music Irvine” movement began, with fans joining an online campaign, complete with petitions and email lists of registered Irvine voters and others who want action on a new amphitheater—some 30,000 of them so far. Fans also wrote their memories of attending concerts at Irvine Meadows on large boards put up during concerts near the entrance to the venue. A large sampling of those comments from fans, some playful, others poignant, was displayed at the press conference announcing the plans for a proposed interim facility near the Great Park.
As part of the plan, Live Nation will design, construct and operate the outdoor facility and adjacent parking, as well as concession and hospitality offerings. The goal is to open in time for the 2017 summer season. FivePoint, working with Live Nation and the city of Irvine, hopes to secure the necessary permits for the proposed venue.
“Live outdoor music is so important culturally and economically for Irvine and the region,” says Irvine City Councilmember Christina Shea. “Having a facility of this size and quality in the heart of this city is a big win for us and all of Orange County. I want to thank FivePoint and Live Nation for partnering on this project. I can’t wait to see the interim amphitheater finished and continue the important discussions about putting a permanent amphitheater in the Great Park.