VAIL — The fruits of nine months of labor and dedication will be on display Monday when the Vail Valley Foundation and Vail Town Council members cut the ribbon to officially reopen the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater following a winter’s worth of Phase I construction.
The public will have their first opportunity to experience the venue’s renovations the following evening, Tuesday, as the annual Bud Light Hot Summer Nights free concert series kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with the Freddy Jones Band.
“The Ford Amphitheater is truly one of Vail’s summertime gems for showcasing all forms of performing arts, especially Budweiser Hot Summer Nights, Bravo! Vail and the Dance Festival,” said Vail Mayor Andy Daly. “The town is absolutely delighted to be involved with the Vail Valley Foundation in this project, which represents an outstanding public and private partnership that we will reap the benefits of for many years to come.”
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 Town Council recognizes that the Ford Amphitheater is one of the driving summer economic engines of Vail,” said Vail Valley Foundation Chairman Harry Frampton. “The architects of the Ford Amphitheater never intended for it to ever be finished. They envisioned a facility that would continue to evolve, based on the needs of our guests and community.”
The amphitheater project included the construction of restrooms on the east side of the venue, along with the terracing of the general admission lawn seating that surrounds the back of the pavilion seating area.
Additionally, cosmetic changes to the amphitheater include a new stucco color, additional stone facade and new counter tops for the concession areas. Also, new lighting has been added to the back of the lawn seating area.
Finally, the eastern approach to the venue has been dramatically redone, featuring a much shallower grade, pavers and overlooks of Gore Creek.
“We sincerely hope that everyone will take the time to appreciate the new look and feel of the Ford Amphitheater,” Frampton said. “It truly does feel like a brand new facility and I know that this will be reflected in the overall experience.”
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. To learn more about the amphitheater or the foundation, visit www.vvf.org.