Moving along a plan for a temporary amphitheater at the Great Park is among the first things on the Irvine City Council’s to-do list as city leaders reconvene for their first public meeting of 2024.

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, Irvine leaders will review two options for a temporary live music venue; both propose the venue to be established at North Lawn, a 7-acre multipurpose recreation area at the Great Park Sports Complex.

The two options differ in size, however. One would seat around 8,000 guests and host 35-40 shows per season featuring nationally touring artists while the other would seat around 5,000 and cater to Pacific Symphony’s performance calendar.

Should the city move forward with any one of those plans, the temporary venue will be set up for the 2024 summer season and will remain throughout the end of the 2026 season or until Irvine completes construction of its new amphitheater, which is slated to open in time for the 2027 summer concert season.

City staff recommends the more modest facility, which would host approximately 10-12 annual “concert in the park” style shows — likely to be held jointly with other complimentary Great Park events and be free of cost — on top of Pacific Symphony’s summer concert series.

While the smaller venue limits revenue opportunities, per the staff report, it requires less upfront investment compared to the larger venue, will mitigate potential noise issues felt by the nearby Travata retirement community and provide more space for kids to play at the Sports Complex. It would feature a smaller stage, limited food and beverage options and no bleachers, as opposed to the 8,000-capacity venue, which would require an extensive production infrastructure, bleacher-style seating and a wide range of food and beverage choices.

According to the staff report, parking spaces needed for the 5,000-capacity venue could be accommodated using only city-owned lots, while the larger venue would need to dip into adjacent properties owned by FivePoint and the county.

Related Articles

Local News |

Great Park’s resident task force is coming to an end

Local News |

Hundreds of new homes to be added to the Great Park Neighborhoods

Local News |

Why Irvine quietly scrapped a vintage WWII PV-1 Ventura bomber

But that doesn’t mean the downscaled venue comes without financial risks. Along with a reduction of revenue opportunities that the larger venue may bring, staff estimates that the city would have to invest up to $2.5 million annually to keep the smaller venue running. Several revenue sources including sponsorships and parking could likely offset a substantial amount of costs, according to the staff report.

On the other hand, the larger venue would bring with it less cost certainty, according to the staff report, and require up to a $3.5 million upfront investment for the 2024 season for necessary infrastructure including the stage and bleachers.

The FivePoint Amphitheatre, which opened in 2017 as a temporary bridge between the demolished Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre and a permanent venue to be built at the Great Park, closed last October after a final concert by the Zac Brown Band. Due to ongoing FivePoint residential development in that area, there wouldn’t have been any way to continue producing shows in the current space.

City leaders on Tuesday will also review a proposal for a memorial at the Great Park in memory of those killed in the Armenian genocide.

The Great Park board will meet at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Civic Center Plaza, to discuss the temporary venue, and the matter will be brought up again at the regularly scheduled council meeting set for 4 p.m.