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Boutique amphitheater will open in Maryland Heights with Kesha and Big Freedia

Boutique amphitheater will open in Maryland Heights with Kesha and Big Freedia

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The summer concert season will bring a new outdoor venue for music fans to enjoy. St. Louis Music Park in Maryland Heights launches May 25 with pop singer Kesha and bounce music artist Big Freedia.

The $9 million boutique amphitheater sits between Hollywood Casino and Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. The venue is part of the 277,000-square-foot, $85 million Centene Community Ice Center complex, which opened in September as the Stanley Cup-winning Blues’ practice facility. Among other features, the complex includes four ice rinks. Currently, the space where the amphitheater will set up is where the outdoor rink is located.

Officials on Tuesday morning announced plans for the opening of St. Louis Music Park.

“It will be on par with any outdoor venue,” says Jim Krischke, city administrator for Maryland Heights. “Artists are going to love playing here. It’s just a beautiful experience. These artists all talk to each other, and they’re going to say this is a cool place to play. They’re going to remember the experience and want to come back.

“We want to make this a first-class venue for the city and for the entire region.”

Artist rendering

Artist Rendering of Center Community Ice Center with the mostly covered amphitheater in the center.

Other acts coming to St. Louis Music Park include the Struts with the Glorious Sons and more on June 5; Barenaked Ladies, Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket on July 1; David Gray’s “White Ladder” anniversary tour on July 21; and Michael Stanley and the Resonators with the Atlanta Rhythm Section and the Babys on Sept. 12.

“We won’t get the super-big names, but we can put on a big show with no limitations,” Krischke says.

Upcoming concerts will be announced weekly. Dave Gerardi, Live Nation’s president of U.S. concerts for St. Louis and Missouri, promises a variety of genres.

“Based on the industry and the business, the number of shows could increase,” he says. “We’re just going to continue to roll them out.”

The proximity of St. Louis Music Park and Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre will make that area “a real destination for outdoor summer concerts,” Gerardi says, “with the larger amphitheater’s 40 or so concerts expected this summer and the new amphitheater’s 15 to 20 shows by the time the season ends in September.”

Live Nation will exclusively book the new amphitheater’s concerts and handle marketing and ticketing; it will use the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre box office. Both venues are owned by the city of Maryland Heights and managed by Spectra Venue Management, which also manages Chaifetz Arena.

St. Louis Music Park has a capacity of 4,400. For comparison, the Fox Theatre seats 4,500, Chesterfield Amphitheater seats 3,200, and Family Arena in St. Charles seats 10,000. Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre’s capacity is 20,000.

St. Louis Music Park joins other midsize amphitheaters in other Midwest and central region cities: Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, the Lawn in Indianapolis, PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati and Jacobs Pavilion in Cleveland.

The music park and ice rink complex will be a catalyst for more development in Maryland Heights, Krischke says, “completing the city council’s vision of Maryland Heights as a real entertainment destination. We can now bring in such a wide variety of entertainment options and make it a special area.”

Officials hope that strengthening the offerings in Maryland Heights will give the city an edge over St. Charles, which has Ameristar Casino and the Streets of St. Charles, a “live, work, dine and shop” destination.

“They do have some good destinations,” Krischke says of St. Charles. “We want to take Maryland Heights to the next level. They don’t have the music and entertainment we have — a large amphitheater and a boutique amphitheater. We have the foundation to build from, and if we’re good at what we do, we’ll bring in other uses that will complement that. It benefits everyone. We can complement and co-exist with each other. It’s great for the area.”

The amphitheater will feature a manmade lake and boardwalk. Lance Rosenberg, general manager of Centene Community Ice Center, says construction is about 70% complete. Much of what remains, he says — seating, restrooms, turf fields — are one-day projects.

On dates without concerts, the versatile amphitheater space can be used for other events; its seating isn’t permanent. Taste of Maryland Heights, Oktoberfest, Trunk or Treat, food truck events, farmers markets, summer camps and other children’s events are among those that will move to the new amphitheater. The space is also available for rent.

“It’s a fun and flexible space, and it lends itself to a bunch of different uses,” Gerardi says.

Images from construction at Centene Community Ice Center

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