Amphitheatre: successful first year

ZZ Top performsThe St. Augustine Amphitheatre, northeast Florida’s newest outdoor concert venue, celebrates its one year anniversary according to an announcement received by Historic City News from Karen Pan in the Office of Public Affairs of the Board of County Commissioners.

Located a short distance from historic downtown St. Augustine on sixteen acres of beautiful maritime coastal hammock, the Amphitheatre offers an amazing concert going experience. Four concession areas, a plaza and beautiful nature trails are some of the venue’s features. A unique tensile canopy covers three quarters of the seating bowl.

A St. Johns County managed facility, the Amphitheatre has exceeded all financial projections for its first year and is currently covering 100% of operating expenses. This is an outstanding accomplishment, as only 38% of the venues in the U.S. cover operating expenses (reported by 2003 IAAM Industry Profile Survey). The renovations were completed August 2007 with a renovation investment of approximately $12 million.

The 4,052 capacity amphitheatre boasts 158,000 attendees during the first year of operations. With 49,505 tickets sold for national touring acts in 2008 (as reported by ticketmaster), the Amphitheatre ranks among the top five U.S. amphitheatres with capacities under 5,000 for paid ticketed attendance for major touring concerts.

The facility has received accolades from concert promoters, professional musicians, concertgoers, national press and regional press. The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners is delighted that the community has embraced this investment in what has fast become a recognized community asset.

The new facility has generated a considerable amount of attention from booking agents and promoters around the country. “A great first year!” said Jason Sills of Red Mountain Entertainment. “Artists such as 3 Doors Down to Boys Like Girls to Metro Station have raved about their experience at the new amphitheatre.” John Valentino, Vice President of AEG Live! Florida said in a recent interview “It’s a good sized venue, and it’s intimate for its size. Anywhere an artist feels he really connects with the audience is a good play. And that’s been our experience.”

The response from concert goers has been phenomenal. In a recent St. Augustine Amphitheatre concert review, Folio Weekly reported the Old Crow Medicine Show concert July 5th as, “Unforgettably fun… The band loved the audience, the audience loved the band, and the union was a beautiful thing to behold.”

The St. Augustine Amphitheatre has garnered forty front page articles in various newspapers and magazines generating a buzz locally and nationally. Here is what the press has to say:

• “The Rise of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre: A Major Player” – Florida Times Union
• “A St. Augustine Success Story” – Pollstar Magazine
• “A good first year for the St. Augustine Amphitheatre…. A string of sold out concerts and a busy calendar” – Celebrity Access
• “The Amphitheatre brings the biggest stars to the Oldest City” – The Compass
• “Unique and unforgettable.” – Entertaing U

The new facility has impacted tourism significantly. 69% of concert attendees come from outside St. Johns County as follows:

Jacksonville 40%
St. Johns County/ St. Augustine31%
Other Florida16%
Gainesville / Ocala4%
Daytona 2%
Orlando 1%
Tallahassee 1%
Palm Coast1%
Out of State1%

Twenty-one major touring concerts and events were offered during the Amphitheatre’s first year including Blackwater Sol Revue: JJ Grey & Mofro, Los Lobos, Tony Joe White, the Airforce Academy Band, Little Richard, Flight Before Christmas & Aire Traffic, Army Field Band, George Thorogood & the Destroyers, 3 Doors Down, Buddy Guy & Robert Cray, Arthur Live!, ZZ Top, Corey Smith, Trace Adkins, Golden Dragon Acrobats, Jordin Sparks & Jesse McCartney, Modest Mouse & Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, “The Soundtrack of Your Summer Tour” Boys Like Girls, Good Charlotte & Metro Station, Boston, G Love, John Butler Trio, and Tristan Prettyman.

Amphitheatre staff anticipates over thirty major concerts in 2009 with the addition of two major art and music festivals. Confirmed events for fall 2008 & winter 2009:
Saturday, October 04, 2008, O.A.R.
Friday October 10, 2008, Staind, Seether, Papa Roach
Saturday, October 11, 2008, Montgomery Gentry
Saturday, October 25, 2008, Steve Miller Band
Sunday, October 26, 2008, Widespread Panic & Los Lonely Boys
Saturday, November 08, 2008, Michael W. Smith & Stephen Curtis Chapman
Friday, November 14, 2008, Black Crowes
November 21- January 4, 2009 Winter Wonderland
Sunday February 8, 2009 Art Garfunkel & The Jacksonville Symphony

In addition to concerts, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre offers free and affordable events community events including the bi-weekly movie series in the fall and spring. During the winter months a six week Winter Wonderland offers a real outdoor ice rink, snow, theatre, sleigh rides and a toboggan run. Pollstar Magazine called the event “innovative.”

The St. Augustine Record named Winter Wonderland their “Favorite New Event of 2007.” The Amphitheatre calendar also includes High School & College graduations, community rentals, movie premiers, fundraisers, church events, art festivals, recitals, cheerleading events, food tasting festivals, social gatherings, public speakers, school board functions, children’s theatre and a weekly farmers market.

Join the one year celebration with the following events:

August 30, 2008 with Blackwater Sol Revue festival: JJ Grey & Mofro, Toots and the Maytals, Hill Country Revue

August 31, 2008 “Tailgate 08” Slightly Stoopid, Pepper & Sly and Robbie