An agreement with concert-promoter Live Nation for the design, construction and operation of a permanent outdoor amphitheater has been approved by the City Council for what Irvine leaders describe as “the heart” of its Great Park.
The venue would replace the current temporary FivePoint Amphitheater on the edge of the massive park that is still under development.
City leaders in April teamed up with Live Nation on choosing which swath of land in the Great Park should host a permanent amphitheater.
After the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater closed down in 2016, many residents and live music enthusiasts have persistently advocated for the city to plan a new venue to replace the temporary amphitheater that has hosted fans ever since, using portable bleacher seating and a temporary stage and restrooms.
Live Nation last week released design renderings of the 14,000-person-capacity concert hall it has in mind to be located on 25 acres near the current intersection of Great Park Boulevard and Skyhawk.
The agreement approved during a City Council meeting Tuesday night laid out terms for building and operating the amphitheater. Under the arrangement, Live Nation is expected to hire design consultants for the venue and the city is responsible for construction. The concert-promoter would purchase and install entertainment equipment, and operate and maintain the facility.
The total cost of the project could be as much as $130 million, city officials said. Live Nation is expected to contribute $20 million toward construction and pay a starting $3.5 million a year to the city for use of the venue, increasing 3% each year.
The city will also get half of a $5-per-ticket surcharge to pay for maintenance, which city officials estimate could total up to $1 million per concert season.
Members of Save Live Music Irvine filled seats in the City Council chambers during Tuesday’s meeting along with members of Orange County’s theatrical stage employees union.
Andy Kinnon, assistant business representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 504, said he was “ecstatic” the project is moving forward, adding that having a permanent venue will give stage workers in Orange County “peace of mind” knowing that future seasons are guaranteed.
But a number of residents during Tuesday’s meeting expressed concern over noise and traffic from a large venue in the middle of the Great Park. Some complained that booming bass from concerts held now at the FivePoint Ampitheatre shake their windows or make it difficult to put young children to sleep.
City officials proposed a handful of sounds mitigation measures, such as constructing the stage 20 feet below the street and building 20-foot mounds around the site. They also created a traffic plan to pull cars off neighborhood streets using interior park roads.
City officials are aiming for a 2025 completion date for the venue.
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