DILLON — More upgrades are coming to the Dillon Amphitheater as the town continues to reinvest in one of its biggest attractions.
Dillon Town Council members unanimously approved a resolution at their meeting earlier this month awarding a contract to Orozco Concrete to complete a permanent concrete plaza at the top of the amphitheater. The move is expected to create a better environment for concessions and storage at the site and to improve the experience for concertgoers.
“It will really be nice for our vendors,” Dillon marketing and communications director Kerstin Anderson said. “It’s tough to be at an outdoor venue like that and be setting up in the elements. So it provides a structured space for them. And from a concert visitors’ standpoint, it provides more viewing areas and opens up space and opportunities for other amenities. This will give us more space and flexibility as we’re programming different events.”
The improvement comes on the back of a number of other investments the town has made at the venue recently. The amphitheater reopened in June 2018 after getting a near $10 million renovation, including a new stage, concessions building, restrooms, green rooms, an ADA accessible ramp and more.
Earlier this year, the town leased and eventually purchased a new sound system for the venue — equipped with almost four-dozen new speakers in addition to a sound-sculpting analysis meant to eliminate holes in the sound and create better acoustics. Anderson said despite the considerable price tags, the new investments have paid off in consistently high attendance numbers, increasing concessions sales and better notoriety for the venue.
“Several years ago, council looked at revitalizing the core area,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to get traction in that area. There’s not an easy solution. So council looked and said, ‘What amenities can we invest in as a positive example that will elevate the spirit of the community?’ … They looked at the amphitheater and said the time is now. A lot of that had to do with how much the site was being utilized. We were having concerts with upwards of 3,000 people, and we hardly had any bathrooms or storage and restricted ADA access.
“We decided it was time to invest. We’re seeing a return on that. We’re seeing 3,000 people here on Friday and Saturday nights, and we’re getting recognized on a national level as a beautiful outside venue. … It also helps support consumer-facing businesses in the core area.”
But the town is far from finished. Last Tuesday, the town signed on Orozco Concrete to an $82,000 contract to complete the plaza. Orozco will be responsible for grading and replacing the current road base ground with permanent concrete. With shows lined up until mid-September, work likely will start after that and be completed by late September or early October.
Anderson noted that the town also is in the early stages of conversations to upgrade the seating bowl at the amphitheater. A new seating bowl was initially part of the town’s Amphitheater Master Plan but was axed due to funding concerns. During the 2017-18 renovation, gaps were left in the seating area at the top and bottom of the bowl so once it gets an upgrade, the seating can be realigned to fit in better with the rest of the venue and provide better lines of sight for visitors.
Anderson said the seating project is yet to be phased or funded and likely wouldn’t be started for at least three years.
The end of the concert season in Dillon is approaching, though there are still a number of shows left, including Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, The B-52’s and Carolyn Wonderland. The amphitheater’s last show of the year will be Sept. 13 featuring Kizumba. That show will serve as a fundraiser for Dillon Valley Elementary.
“We just want to thank people for coming and discovering their happy place at the amphitheater this summer,” Anderson said.