Where's the music at the amphitheater? 

Now that Riverfest 2004 has come and gone, the Riverfest Amphitheatre will sit silent for nearly two months. The first scheduled summer concert at the venue isn't until July 27, when modern rockers 3 Doors Down, Nickelback and Puddle of Mudd perform. The reason for the dark house is that concert promoters didn't know the venue was no longer under an exclusive management contract and was available for lease. Parks Director Bryan Day said his office could have done a better job of getting word out about availability. "Because it was this way for 10 years, people have assumed it's still exclusive," Day said. Now, a bona fide promoter wishing to book the amphitheater should call Mabyn Patterson at Parks' River Market office (375-2552). It costs $5,000 to reserve the venue. The promoter must pay 30 days in advance to confirm an event and is responsible for all ancillary needs - security, emergency personnel, vendors, etc. "That's cheap," Day said. "There are other expenses, of course, but … you get all the food and beverage money, we don't get any. Of all the venues in Little Rock, we are the cheapest. He added that the amphitheater is also "probably the hardest to produce in because we are weather-driven." The city is advertising the amphitheater's availability in the music trade journals. When Butch Stone's exclusive management contract ran out last fall, Day entertained thoughts about putting the venue management up for bid before deciding to open it to all comers. Stone was happy to go that route, too, he said; Stone has turned his concert management business over to son Dennis. So far, only Danny Eaton, Stone's promoter the past three years at the amphitheater, has booked a show this summer. Eaton is now with AEG, a fledgling Los Angeles concert company out to compete with big boys Clear Channel and Concerts West. In this market, AEG seems to be gearing more of its shows indoors to Alltel Arena. On the bright side, the amphitheater's quiet time is allowing for some badly needed repair work. Drainage improvements in the orchestra pit area were completed during the spring, and work to replace the tent with a rainproof roof starts this summer. Parks will also probably want to take a look at the electric system so that a 15-minute sound failure like the one during Al Green's Riverfest show doesn't happen again. Plans were to piecemeal the work between the shows, but it was never the intention to leave the amphitheater dark for eight weeks of summer. "We need the revenue," Day said. "It's a significant funding source for the River Market." Stone has said that AEG could bring in several concerts in August and September. Performers such as Don Henley and Evanescence with Seether were mentioned. Once the rental policy is better known, Day predicts better days ahead for the amphitheater, particularly after the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in November and the nearby Heifer International project. "What we're doing, this is still relatively new and we haven't worked out the bugs," he said. "It should be used 200 nights a year. … We want to fill those seats as much as possible, not for money's sake but because the people of Little Rock deserve it."


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jim Harris

Most Shared

Latest in Jim Harris

  • What a great, fast eight years

    Eight years. I’ve really been “at the job” of newspapers for much longer, it just focused on entertainment during these past eight years. Starting next week, it will focus on sports. Again. Where I started eons ago.
    • May 4, 2007
  • Mickelson goes by the numbers

    It's all in the short game, Phil Mickelson says s at Alotian.
    • Apr 26, 2007
  • Back to what I really love

    Where was I, the sports lover, the guy who couldn’t wait for Dickey-Stephens to open, a few of you may ask? I was checking out one of my other loves: a local, original music show at Juanita’s that the University of Central Arkansas Honors College had pull
    • Apr 23, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Ken Bonfield comes to The Joint

    Also, Guts Club plays Vino's.
  • Good Weather

    Lakewood pop-up gallery makes a home for art in limbo.
  • Lessons learned

    Picture Bret Bielema pole-vaulting for a minute. Then, once the laughter subsides, hear me out with this absurd analogy.
  • White Water hosts a big Mississippi Blues Show

    Also, Red Octopus at the Public Theater, Alcee Chriss III at First Presbyterian Church, Harvestfest in Hillcrest, the Arkansas Times Hog Roast, Wildflower Revue at South on Main and Made By Few in Bentonville.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Lessons learned

    • I think you meant to write, 'Consider for a minute Bret Bielema pole vaulting.' As…

    • on October 20, 2016
  • Re: Good Weather

    • Great article, true words!! Good Weather is an amazing place.

    • on October 20, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation