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Raleigh looks to pick up amphitheater for free

Posted May 27, 2008

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— City officials said they hope to combine used infrastructure with a sponsor's money to open an outdoor entertainment venue downtown by the summer of 2009.

Concert promoter Live Nation gave the steel skeleton and fabric covering for a 5,000-seat amphitheater to the city for free in exchange for the option to book about two dozen shows there a year. The city would be able to book a similar number of events there on its own, for a total of about 50 events a year.

"Concerts at Moore Square have been very popular. It's apparent that kind of venue will bring people downtown," Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Officials have been eying a vacant parcel at the corner of McDowell and Lenoir streets – across the street from the new downtown convention center – for an entertainment site for months. The site is now used to store equipment and supplies for the convention center construction.

The amphitheater structure was originally built for and operated in Boston. It was later used in Denver, where Live Nation purchased it.

Raleigh would have to pay to lay the foundation for the venue and erect the structure and likely would need to replace the fabric covering. But Meeker said money raised by selling the naming rights to the amphitheater would help offset those costs.

City officials also are trying to sell two $1 million sponsorships for the convention center by next June.

Raleigh resident Ann-Lynn Bailey said she and her children are excited about the prospect of outdoor entertainment downtown.

"We think the amphitheater would be wonderful to bring the kids out," Bailey said. "Culturally it would be really good for them to bring music. It would be really fun to have (the children) come and listen to music."


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  • foetine May 28, 2008

    the only thing that gets upgraded at Walnut Creek is the sponsor name.

    I was speaking with a pal in Denver and he said the "tent" venue up there was shut down - not upgraded. If Denver can't make this tent work, how much of a chance does Raleigh have? It will kill Cary's Booth though. where's the reporting to discover how much real cash is going to be involved in this deal? Or are today's journalists content to retype press releases?

  • Funky Neighbor LEE May 28, 2008

    LIVE NATION currently runs/books Koka Booth Amphitheater.

    I like Live Nation, but if every venue in the area is book by LN there is no competition to keep prices in check and to bring different types of acts.

    I am concerned about Walnut Creek not investing in itself. It's a great place but to be on the leading edge it must continually improved.

  • foetine May 28, 2008

    and what about all the people paying millions for downtown condos. Are they going to enjoy all those nights that this venue will be blasting until 11 p.m. on a school night? or will everyone in the venue be given headphones and told to tune into a certain station to hear the show?

  • foetine May 28, 2008

    WRAL is already backing this project with their misleading headline: "Raleigh looks to pick up amphitheater for free." The city gets a used tent for free. The amphitheater is going to cost us millions and even more in lost revenue.

  • paradox2920 May 28, 2008

    I think you people who whine and complain about parking need to look around. I can think of at least four easy to access parking decks and numerous side roads that have curbside parking. I live pretty close to downtown, so maybe its because I'm in the area more but in my eyes parking is not a problem. So you have to walk a block or two to get where you're going. Wah. Yes the parking decks charge. Welcome to a city (well..a large town attempting to pretend to be a city anyway).

  • foetine May 28, 2008

    I still see Live Nation and Clear Channel as one two-headed monster that has destroyed radio and concerts in America.

    They give us a twice used tent and we have to pay for everything else and then they get to "rent the place" for free at least 24 times a year.

    By they way, back in Jan. Mayor Meeker said, “The tent cover is now here; it's being stored." He didn't tell us that the cost of the tent cover would be lost revenue by giving away the space for free to a private company.

    This new venue will ultimately kill the concerts in Cary because Live Nation won't have to pay the same expenses with their freebie site in Raleigh. The city is making them a charity case. And why? Cause they dumped a twice-used tent on our doorstep?

    Live Nation has already gone on record saying that they don't want to upkeep Walnut Creek and would rather have smaller outdoor venue and use RBC for the bigger shows.

    We're a Hand Me Down city. Maybe Detroit can give us a pair of slacks.

  • disco2drivin May 28, 2008

    I'm with you Leonardo!!! Some of the people on here that post negative comments on a daily basis (especially when a downtown topic comes up) must live some sad lives. I'm really suprised that we haven't seen a 'blah blah Meekerville this, blah blah Meekervilee that' comment yet. I think Meeker must have stolen some of these peoples girlfriends or pushed them down in the schoolyard many moons ago.

    As far as the music venue goes, I think it's a great idea. It's the perfect size to really compete with Kooka Booth. They've really been racking up on the good shows this year and we need to get them back to Raleigh.

  • denverbob234 May 28, 2008

    more wasted effort in downtown Raleigh\. Why would anyone want to see a concert in dt?

  • CestLaVie May 28, 2008

    chance: the location is the FIRST thing that I thought of too.

    More reasons NOT to go downtown: parking is a problem; can't even begin to afford living down there in the new preppy condos, etc.; won't eat lunch down there re the parking problem; won't shop down there re the parking problem (what stores?); won't work down there re the parking problem; don't feel safe down there, especially at night; won't utilize the Moore Square Farmers Market during the week re the parking problem; don't usually attend downtown events (Artsplosure, Raleigh First Night, concerts, parades, etc.) re the parking problem, etc., etc.

    I am just one person. I think thousands of others feel the same way about doing ANYTHING downtown. We go there only when forced to have to go to the courthouse or register of deeds office.

  • Leonardo May 28, 2008

    I feel sorry for you people. It must be awful to be leading such miserable lives that you automatically assume bad intentions in everything you see.