Live Nation suggests adding more shows at Riverfront Park

Live Nation suggests adding more shows at Riverfront Park
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 3:31 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Last year the City of Wilmington officially opened the long-awaited Riverfront Park, home to the Live Oak Bank Pavilion, in the middle of a pandemic. Despite opening midway through concert season and dealing with COVID-19 challenges, the inaugural season was a success.

According to the City of Wilmington, “Since opening there have been 26 events:

  • 19 Live Nation events (final concert of the season canceled by artist)
  • Two Civic Events: July 4th and Azalea Festival concerts
  • Three community events (Beer Bourbon and Barbeque, Lighthouse Beer and Wine Festival and Christmas movie/visits with Santa)
  • Staging area for two races.”

Those events bring in a lot of money to the city, not just in the form of ticket sales, but in the form of tourism.

“41% of them, of the ticket holders, were from Wilmington, the rest were from outside markets. We sold 26 tickets in Alaska this past year,” General Manager for Live Nation Ryan Belcher said.

City Councilman Luke Waddell said he was excited about the increased number of people from outside of the area visiting.

“Having those extra folks coming into town stay in our hotels, stay in our Air BNBs, going out to eat, to drink and have fun, the tax revenue there is tremendous and then also the revenue to our small businesses is huge; it’s exciting, its good stuff,” he said.

In terms of the number of people coming into the Port City, it’s a lot.

“Over 126,355 people have attended concerts, civic events or rented the park. This does not include our regular park users. Direct revenue received is over $314,000 (fixed rent, rentals, tickets sales),” according to the City of Wilmington.

More events

The initial success of the venue has Live Nation looking for even more this coming season. Belcher told City Council they would be asking to increase the number of Live Nation shows that they can host each year.

According to the contract between the city and Live Nation, they are permitted to host 20 shows annually, but the City Manager can allow additional shows. City Council members seemed relatively on board with the idea, but there were some discussions as to ensuring the concerts don’t cause too much disruption for people living there.

One suggestion was to space out the additional events so there are not concerts back-to-back over several nights, which could cause some problems for people living near the amphitheater.

Both Councilmen Waddell and Clifford Barnette said they support allowing Live Nation to host more shows this coming season, and although it is still early in the year, several big names have already committed to playing Wilmington.

Looking forward

There are several areas that city staff is looking at in order to improve upcoming years including:

  • “Keep downtown clean: additional public restroom cleaning, emptying street trash cans and litter patrol along the streets, additional bins needed: potential budgetary impact
  • Nuisance behavior along Front Street by Flats on Front after concerts (illegal drug use and public urination): area added to WDI Ambassadors’ PM shift
  • Traffic control: Front/Cowan and Front/2nd St…frequent complaints of vehicles stopping to drop/pickup riders (Rideshare drivers not adhering to established drop off zone) Targeted enforcement by Live Nation in this area?
  • Reduction of WPD officers at events. WPD and Live Nation agree the number can be reduced. At busier concerts add additional private security
  • ADA parking: Very good passenger drop-off ADA plan in place. Negotiating with immediately surrounding private developer for ADA driver parking”

Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.