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Raleigh amphitheater celebrates opening night

Posted June 4, 2010
Updated June 5, 2010

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— Raleigh's new $2.5 million, city-owned amphitheater officially opened Friday with a night of music from seven local bands.

The event kicked off with Th' Bullfrog Willard McGee and ended with headliners The Connells. With free admission, thousands packed the venue, which is across McDowell Street from the Raleigh Convention Center.

The 5,000-seat amphitheater will play host to the Backstreet Boys on Sunday.

Raleigh amphitheater celebrates opening night Raleigh welcomes new $2.5 million amphitheater

Other acts are scheduled to play the Raleigh Amphitheater:

  • Gov't Mule with Special Guest Jackie Greene - July 16
  • Honda Civic tour Presents Paramore with Tegan and Sara - July 23
  • Shinedown, Puddle of Mudd, Chevelle - July 25
  • Slightly Stoopid with Cypress Hill - July 28
  • Chelsea Handler - July 30
  • O.A.R. with Citizen Cope - Aug. 10
  • Umphrey's McGee with Rebolution - Aug. 13
  • Heart - Aug. 14
  • Sound Tribe Sector 9 - Aug. 25
  • Black Crowes - Sept. 17

Raleigh has a deal with concert promoter LiveNation to bring 15 to 20 events each year to the amphitheater, and the city-owned venue also will host local events.

Officials said they expect the venue to turn a $500,000 annual profit and add to the downtown entertainment scene.

"I'm expecting a lot of foot traffic," said Dave Rose, owner of Deep South, a bar across from the amphitheater. "We usually don't open until later in the evening, but we've had a full crowd in here all day."

What the name of the new amphitheater will be has drawn some controversy. The city has proposed a $1.5 million, five-year sponsorship deal that would give naming rights to Bud Lights, but substance abuse groups have said the name would send the wrong message.

State regulations prohibit an alcoholic beverage from being part of the name of a public venue, so the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission would have to approve any deal.

38 Comments

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  • dwntwnboy Jun 4, 2010

    Just heard the Connells do their sound check- can't wait for 10pm!!!!! YAY!!!!

  • mcondor Jun 4, 2010

    This sounds like a viable venue.

    I never understood the location of Walnut Creek - it is way
    too far away for most of the triangle to go to. I know I will not
    go from durham to Walnut Creek, but would consider (barely) the new amphi-thingy

  • ForTheLoveOf Jun 4, 2010

    See, this is gonna be cool, but a horrible cost to taxpayers. First, you have the cost to build. Second, sure, you may rake in 500,000 annually, but as soon as something happens, guess who gets sued? The city. Guess who foots the bill? The tax payers. Government should never get into private business and try and turn a profit...

  • InvolvedCitizen Jun 4, 2010

    I'm looking forward to enjoying many shows at this small, outdoor venue. (Capacity of 5,000 here vs 20,000 at Walnut Creek.) Downtown too?! Even better. BTW, the City of Raleigh spent way more on Walnut Creek when it was built.

  • Jimm57 Jun 4, 2010

    "...remember that everyone's has their own definition of 'cool bands.' I've pretty much accepted that my own taste in music (jazz/funk/blues) is....think01"

    AWESOME IDEA! A Jazz festival! It'd be a great venue for that for a weekend. Anyone working on that idea??

  • SomeRandomGuy Jun 4, 2010

    I went by the place this morning, and it didn't look like it was NEAR ready to be open, especially not tonight!!

  • Gerbil Herder Jun 4, 2010

    Whatever, I get to hear the Connells for free tonight @ 9:55 pm. All you complainers make sure you stay away; I am sure they will be able to pack 5,000 comfortably for most of these shows that are booked in the upcoming months.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 4, 2010

    "Waste of money? This facility is was built on a shoestring that would even impress Tom Fetzer. It will make the city a LOT of money.- dmccall"

    It's a waste of money because it shouldn't have been built.

    Your logic sounds like my wife saying it's okay to buy the $100 dress on sales for $50 because she saved us $50. If she hadn't bought the dress, she would have really saved us $50.

  • dmccall Jun 4, 2010

    Waste of money? This facility is was built on a shoestring that would even impress Tom Fetzer. It will make the city a LOT of money. It is a better venue than Walnut Creek for smaller bands because it will cost WAY LESS TO OPERATE.
    If you go tonight you'll see what a shoestring I mean. It actually is TOO cheap, and we'll have to pay to fix some its problems in a couple of years.
    This is in no way a monument to Meeker.

  • dmccall Jun 4, 2010

    Also some hints on parking would be nice. I've put them together here for everyone:
    http://www.gogoraleigh.com/2010/06/04/the-connells-open-the-walt-tonight/

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