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Travel Costa Mesa Blog

Pacific Amphitheatre Open House, Upgrades and Improvements

Posted on June 20, 2013 | 1:58pm | Travel Costa Mesa

The Pacific Amphitheatre at the OC Fair and Event Center has hosted some of the biggest musical acts and performing talents over the years.  For many, summer concerts in the Pac Amp are the highlight of the month-long OC Fair.

The 8,500 seat venue, which has hosted the likes of Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, The Black Eyed Peas, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bill Cosby, to name a few, is about to undergo a major reconstruction.

Pacific AmphitheatreThe first phase is currently in progress and is expected to be complete at the end of the month.  It is mainly a modification of the dirt berm that supports the venue’s seating and occasional used as lawn seats.  The redesign of the berm will allow for three additional acres of usable land on the OC Fair and Event Center grounds.

The second phase will begin after the end of the 2013 OC Fair. The project is expected to be complete by next year in 2014 and will include significant upgrades and improve guests’ experiences at the Pac Amp.

Pacific Amphitheatre

The redesigned berm will feature a lobby in the center, which will create a direct path to and from the Pac Amp.  The reconstruction will include a plaza outside the lobby with an outdoor stage, box office, ticketing center and a general use/open space.  The walkways inside of the Pac Amp will be widened, allowing for increased pedestrian traffic.

Pacific AmphitheatreThe current site for the Memorial Gardens, a onetime Army barracks, is going to be taken down to create more event space.  Historical elements of the building will be saved and repurposed for future projects in the city.

The OC Fair and Event Center staff invited the community for an open house presentation and tour of the Pacific Amphitheatre.  While phase one is nearing completion, interested community members were encouraged to attend the open house to learn more about the second phase.

Pacific AmphitheatreBefore the open house, and as part of the regular “Food Truck Fare” Wednesday nights, guests enjoyed the sumptuous fare from the gourmet food trucks.  After the food, Doug La Belle, OC Fair and Event Center Board Chair gave an introduction followed by a presentation by Gary Hardesty, OC Fair and Event Center Chief Technology and Production Officer.

Hardesty provided insights on the developments and addressed concerns over the change in acoustics due to the new berm.  He said that if anything, the acoustics would improve because the new shape of the berm was designed specifically with acoustics in mind.

Pacific Amphitheatre

After sharing a few thoughts, Hardesty invited everyone to take a tour of the Pac Amp.  OC Fair and Event Center staff members split the audience into small groups and took them to different parts of the amphitheatre that most people don’t get to go.  The groups were encouraged to go back stage, check out the new berm and get an up-close look at the artist’s renderings that were on stage.

Pacific AmphitheatreThe presentation and tour made us excited about the future of the Pacific Amphitheatre.  Hardesty couldn’t contain his enthusiasm as he gushed as he spoke about the new-look Pac Amp.  He said that once the new grand plaza and lobby are complete, it will be one of the top facilities of its kind on the west coast.  We’re excited for the summer concerts coming up in a few weeks, and eagerly anticipating the completed project.