By Thomas Grover
BYU concertgoers will once again have the opportunity to watch big-name artists perform at a large outdoor venue.
The USANA Amphitheater, set to open in West Valley City in July 2003, is a needed addition to the Salt Lake valley, David McKay, vice president of United Concerts, said.
“For years, we produced concerts in Park City [at the Canyons],” he said. But when that venue stopped hosting large-scale concerts, United Concerts began plans on a new amphitheater elsewhere.
One reason United Concerts officials chose the West Valley site was its proximity to the Wasatch Mountains and the city skyline, McKay said.
“I think the site we have chosen will truly highlight the features” of the valley, McKay said. “People truly like to be outdoors in the summer.”
The size of the new venue, combined with the increased seating capacity – the amphitheater will seat 20,000 people, compared to the 12,000 the Canyons seated – will allow more well-known bands the opportunity to play at an outdoor venue in Utah, he said.
Not only do certain bands favor outdoor settings, but concertgoers also favor the outdoor atmosphere, McKay said.
Sitting on 93 acres, the amphitheater has 7,000 reserved seats and 13,000 lawn seats. The venue will also have 40 box seats. The permanent stage structure is 120 feet wide, 80 feet deep, and 60 feet high from the base of the stage.
The venue has already landed some of the top bands who are touring the United States. The first event scheduled is July 3 and 4, when the Beach Boys will perform as part of the Red Hot 4th of July Celebration. Other confirmed shows include John Mayer and Counting Crows (July 8), Phish (July 15), Dave Matthews Band (July 22), 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg (July 23), Lollapalooza (Aug. 21), Tom Jones (Aug. 27), Radiohead (Aug. 28), Chicago (Sept. 1) and ZZ Top (Sept. 17). Tickets are available at Smith”s Tix outlets.
Seven trucks can unload at the same time from the venue”s loading docks, McKay said. Parking will be available. Patrons will be allowed to bring blankets into the venue, but no food, beverage or chairs.
“We will have a full assortment of food and beverage,” McKay said.
United Concerts owns the amphitheater as part of a partnership with New York-based Quincunx. USANA Health Sciences, Inc., a nutritional supplement company based in West Valley City, purchased the naming rights to the venue.