Business, Mayor Saffo share enthusiasm for highly anticipated entertainment venue

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 11:41 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Less than 24 hours after Live Nation announced its first several shows at Riverfront Park Amphitheater — Wilmington City Council gives the all clear for alcohol to be sold at the performance venue.

Council passed a resolution that will allow alcohol sales and service in the Great Lawn and Lower Seating Area, The Stage and all areas of the Stage House. Alcohol service will be prohibited in all other areas of Riverfront Park, such as the Urban Gardens and the Children’s Play Area.

Live Nation operates the boutique amphitheater, which is located downtown along the Cape Fear River.

The Live Entertainment company announced its first three shows: which includes Widespread Panic, Glass Animals and comedian Jim Gaffigan.

A statement from Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo was included in Live Nation’s press release.

“Wilmington’s Riverfront Park offers an amazing opportunity for residents and visitors alike to experience the biggest names in entertainment at a venue unlike any other,” said Mayor Saffo in the statement. “This park has been years in the making and there’s no better time to welcome its first act than as we celebrate emerging from the pandemic.”

Marina Grill, a restaurant located next to what will be Riverfront Park, is looking forward to sales of its own thanks to the new entertainment venue.

“Before the concert you come have a meal or after the concert depending on what time they are going to be,” said Darrin Hokanson, a host at the restaurant. “It’ll definitely increase the foot traffic for sure.”

The restaurant already brings in live music of its own and can confirm it’s a money maker.

“When we do live concerts outside on our boatyard on Saturdays it’s a huge hit; we’re able to set up an extra bar out there,” said Mary Bolles, a server at Marina Grill. “It draws in a huge crowd so between that and the amphitheater I think the energy levels are going to be through the roof.”

“We’re going to do what we can to prepare for those large crowds on top of the crowds that we have received initially,” said Don Grossman, Marina Grill server manager. “We have live music that we have here in the boatyard so we’re used to these large crowds it’s just a matter of building our staff up and preparing for two, thee, four times as much hopefully.

Riverfront Park is scheduled to be completed in June and Widespread Panic is scheduled for the weekend of July 16. Glass Animals is scheduled for Sept. 5.

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