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Irvine City Council Moves Forward with Great Park Amphitheater

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The City Council has brought in a pair of heavy hitters to create the next generation of live music in Irvine, and turned to a proven reliable partner to keep the music playing in the short term.
 
At their February 27th meeting, Councilmembers unanimously voted to hire Populous Inc., designers of the beautiful Sphere arena in Las Vegas, to design a new 8,000-10,000-seat amphitheater for the Great Park. They also voted to retain ASM Global, operators of the iconic Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, to consult on the design from a venue operator’s point of view. The actual operator of the new venue, tentatively dubbed Great Park Live, will be chosen later, but ASM would presumably be the front-runner if it chooses to bid.
 
Meanwhile, the Council also voted unanimously to retain PSQ Productions to oversee the setup and operation of a temporary 5,000-seat amphitheater to operate for the next three years while the permanent facility is designed and built. Irvine-based PSQ has produced many events for the City in recent years, including the Irvine Nights concert series and the City’s 50th anniversary celebration.
 
The City staff has already secured the lease of a stage and other equipment for the temporary amphitheater and has developed a layout for a site on the Great Park’s North Lawn. The temporary amphitheater will face east, away from the nearest housing, and have a food and beverage area that can also be used to serve the adjacent Sports Complex.
 
The programming for the first year of the temporary amphitheater will consist of at least 15 shows: five by the Pacific Symphony, including its traditional Fourth of July Concert; five Irvine Nights shows; and at least five shows by various artists to be announced. In addition, the City staff is looking at making the temporary amphitheater available for community events, graduations, gala fundraisers, and corporate events.
 
The permanent amphitheater will be built in the “Heart of the Park” area of the Great Park, adjacent to two planned lakes and near the Great Meadow. It is slated for opening in 2027.
 
The design contract with Populous will cost just under $15 million. The ASM contract has not been finalized, but City Manager Oliver Chi told the Council it will likely be “in the low six figures.”
Roger Bloom

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