Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Les Schwab Amphitheater rebuilding, for Summer

Finally some good news on the future of Oregon concerts. Bend's Les Schwab Amphitheater is undergoing changes in anticipation of the Summer concert season.

We are told:

Bend’s iconic Les Schwab Amphitheater is undergoing renovations to enhance accessibility for all guests, attract more talent and performers, and continue to provide economic benefits for the Central Oregon region. Phase I of construction begins today, Monday, December 14, and is expected to conclude in June 2021 in advance of the concert season. 

“We are thrilled to be able to offer the structural capacity necessary to host all of the amazing artists interested in making Bend a stop on their tour,” says Marney Smith, Les Schwab Amphitheater’s General Manager. “In the past, we’ve lost interested artists due to stage capacity. Solving that challenge allows us the opportunity to provide an even broader and more varied lineup. Coupled with the planned accessibility updates, this furthers our goal to provide the best experience possible for both our guests and visiting artists.”

Phase I of construction includes “right-sizing” the amphitheater stage to attract a wider variety of touring artists, comedians and other performers. The new stage will feature a minimalist design with pine accents to pay homage to Bend’s vibrant sawmill history, and is designed to minimize architectural impact as much as possible. The stage will grow moderately larger in size with a significant increase in structural capacity, resulting in a stage height of 62 feet and an additional 1,840 square feet in total stage footprint. Certain elements from the current stage will be upcycled and re-used in later phases, including steel beams and the custom artwork that currently adorns the back of the stage. Accessibility enhancements begin in Phase I and will include a full Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant pathway from the ADA gate that spans the entire venue, and screens on stage. 

This privately funded project allows Les Schwab Amphitheater to continue connecting Central Oregonians to live music, improve accessibility and continue bolstering the local economy with live entertainment. Bend’s R&H Construction will serve as the general contractor, and local companies Latham Excavation and Elite Electric will provide additional services. Phase II of construction is expected to begin in Fall 2021, with subsequent phases in following years. Improvements slated for future phases include re-grading the venue, box seating, the addition of semi-permanent restrooms, new permanent food and beverage options, walk-through metal detectors and more. Accessibility improvements will continue throughout the multi-phased project, providing passive travel and equivalent seating for all abilities by project completion. 

Les Schwab Amphitheater has provided Central Oregon with nationally touring shows set against the backdrop of the brilliant Cascade Mountains and Deschutes River for the last 19 years. According to a 2015 Visit Bend Intercept survey, the amphitheater brings in approximately $1.2 million per concert to Bend’s local economy. Amphitheater gates have been locked as of Friday, December 11 and public access will resume upon completion of construction.  

To learn more and to follow progress, visit bendconcerts.com/newconstruction.

 About the Les Schwab Amphitheater

The Les Schwab Amphitheater is Central Oregon’s premier music venue, providing a beautiful outdoor riverfront space for concerts, festivals, sporting events and more. Opened in the historic Old Mill District in 2002, the Amphitheater was named in honor of a remarkable Central Oregonian, Leslie Schwab. The venue accommodates approximately 8,000 patrons for some of the biggest names in entertainment, and the Bend Brewfest in August. www.bendconcerts.com

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