VAIL — Phase 2 of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater remodel will be on display Tuesday, when the Vail Valley Foundation opens the gates for the kickoff performance of the annual Bud Light Hot Summer Nights free concert series following a winter’s worth of work on the venue’s main entry.
“We are extremely excited to be able to share these wonderful new enhancements at the Ford Amphitheater with our community and our guests,” said Harry Frampton, chairman of the Vail Valley Foundation board of directors. “The amphitheater is truly one of Vail’s summertime gems for showcasing all forms of performing arts and the new elements will only enhance everyone’s experience at the facility.”
Phase 1 of the renovation, completed in 2013, focused on improvements within the venue, including new terraced lawn seating, new exterior materials, signage and furnishings and a new restroom building at the east entrance. Phase 2 furthers the world-class experience, bringing improvements to the amphitheater’s main entrance, adjacent to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.
Designed to provide a new entrance and additional shelter from inclement weather, the new structure, dubbed “The Lobby,” will serve as a social gathering point prior to entering the amphitheater. Ticket and bag checking will be facilitated at this point in order to allow for smooth entry to the venue.
The Lobby will be covered by a specially designed canopy structure. Unique amenities contained within the structure include a mini-stage that can accommodate pre-show performances, a new concession station and restrooms that will serve Ford Park on a daily basis during the summer season. The Lobby will open 90 minutes prior to each performance, with the Amphitheater gates opening one hour prior to each show.
The Lobby will also house the Ford Family Tribute, a series of symbolic sculptures and interpretive elements that celebrate the legacy and influence of President and Mrs. Ford and their family.
Tuesday’s free concert features Rusted Root.
The Ford Amphitheater component of the overall Ford Park project is partially funded by a $2.1 million portion of the former Town of Vail Conference Center Funds, the distribution of which Vail voters overwhelming approved in a special election in November of 2011. The Vail Valley Foundation has committed to raise the remainder of the $10 million needed to complete the project.