After the abrupt closure of FivePoint Amphitheatre left Irvine in a lurch for a live music venue, the city is contemplating interim live music options.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, Irvine leaders will review preliminary plans for a temporary live music venue that could seat 6,000 to 8,000 people at the Great Park Sports Complex.

Should the city move forward with those plans, the temporary venue will be set up for the 2024 summer season and will remain throughout the end of the 2026 season or until Irvine completes construction of a permanent amphitheater, which is currently slated to open in time for the 2027 summer concert season.

To help offset some of the costs associated with implementing a temporary venue, FivePoint will direct a $600,000 sponsorship toward its establishment.

“It’s just a matter of making sure that the community is happy in terms of being able to continue with live music,” said Councilmember Tammy Kim. “We collectively agreed that this is a good thing for the community.”

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The FivePoint Amphitheatre, which opened in 2017 as a temporary bridge between the demolished Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre and a permanent venue to be built at the Great Park, closed on Saturday, Oct. 21 after a final concert by the Zac Brown Band. Due to ongoing FivePoint residential development in that area, there wouldn’t have been any way to continue producing shows in the current space.

With the assistance of San Diego-based event production company Gravity Productions and input from the Pacific Symphony, staff has identified North Lawn, a seven-acre multipurpose recreation area at the Sports Complex, as a viable site for a temporary amphitheater. The location provides “sufficient space and capacity for a live music venue” as well as the “flexibility of configuring the space in a variety of ways,” per the staff report.

A facility at North Lawn would have the range to accommodate tables and chairs for a symphonic performance and house bleachers or festival-style seating for more commercially-oriented acts, according to the staff report.

To mitigate residential noise impacts, one of residents’ chief concerns, staff has proposed utilizing an in-house sound system and sound shielding materials, which would lessen the sound bouncing off from behind the stage and toward homes. The initial site layout, according to staff, positions the stage to the east, which directs the sound away from the residential neighborhoods closest to the venue. The city is also looking to limit operating hours with a hard cap noise shutoff time at 10 p.m.

Should Irvine move forward with the implementation of a temporary venue, a third-party firm will be tapped to operate the venue.

The bleachers and the stage will most likely be identical to or very similar to the setup at the closed FivePoint Amphitheatre; the city was able to track down the vendor that rented out the equipment, Kim said.

“It’s everything that was at FivePoint Amphitheatre,” Kim said. “We’re just bringing it over.”

Initial deposit costs for the stage and bleachers would be offset by FivePoint’s $600,000 sponsorship, according to staff estimates.

“We just don’t want live music to die,” said Kim. “I think that’s the general sentiment of the community, the residents, the Great Park residents.”

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“Most of the people that I’ve spoken with that go to the concerts absolutely want live music,” said David Lingerfelt, a seven-year resident of the Great Park Neighborhoods.

As long as the independent operator is able to bring artists he’s accustomed to seeing at the Great Park to the proposed temporary venue, which is noticeably smaller than the 12,000-capacity space that was FivePoint Amphitheater, Lingerfelt said he’s “super supportive” of the city’s plans.

“The only way it’s good is if we continue to get those great acts,” he said. “Why would we put up with the additional traffic and the burden on the community if there’s just going to acts that none of us care to go see?”

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, city staff will also provide updates regarding the new permanent amphitheater at the Great Park, for which the city expects a final design ready for review in early 2025 with a goal of starting construction in 2026.

The Great Park board will meet at 2 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the temporary venue, and the matter will be brought up again at the regularly scheduled council meeting set for 4 p.m.