Concertgoers for the Zac Brown Band celebrated one last night at the Fivepoint Amphitheatre before the temporary 12,000-seater shut its doors permanently on Oct. 21. Irvine City Council now plans to build a new 10,000-seater non-profit amphitheater owned by the city.
The Fivepoint Amphitheatre opened in 2017 as a part of a temporary three-year agreement between Great Park developer Fivepoint and Live Nation, a Los-Angeles based concert promoter.
In an interview with the New University, Councilmember and UCI Professor Kathleen Treseder stated that Fivepoint continued to extend its contract with Live Nation beyond the three-year limit. The venue was a temporary replacement for the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, which was in service for over 30 years before closing permanently in 2017, following the Irvine Company’s decision to not renew its lease, according to the Irvine Weekly.
“Fivepoint was intended to be a temporary amphitheater to hold performances in until a permanent one went up,” Treseder said. “It was signed for about three years and had been up for about six years.”
However, as Fivepoint Amphitheatre continued its operations, plans between Live Nation and the city of Irvine to build a permanent 14,000-seater fell through in July 2023. In a 3-2 vote, council members turned down the project despite previous approval by the City Council in September 2022.
In an Instagram post a few hours before Brown’s concert, Fivepoint Amphitheatre representatives attributed the sudden closure to recent housing development in the area.
“Due to FivePoint residential development, there will no longer be road access or parking for the venue, making fan and production logistics unfeasible,” the post said.
In support of the decision to terminate the city’s Live Nation partnership, Treseder expressed concern over the promoter’s provisions over revenue, naming rights and the potential monopoly associated with having a single corporation in operation and describing the contract for the permanent amphitheater as lopsided.
“We would be covering most of the expenses, but then we [as the city] wouldn’t be able to use the amphitheater for more than five events a year,” Treseder said. “They’re a nine-billion dollar corporation and I didn’t feel like the taxpayers of Irvine needed to subsidize them.”
The final and third proposed “Design, Construction, and Operation Agreement” (DCOA) for the permanent amphitheater outlined the city’s responsibility to contribute between $130 to $140 million and for Live Nation to contribute between $20 to $30 million.
The proposal further clarified Live Nation’s role in day-to-day operations in tandem with its naming rights, in which “all licenses, use agreements, bookings and any other agreements pertaining to the use, operation and maintenance of the Facility by Live Nation, except those pertaining to City Events, will be executed by Live Nation as manager of the Facility.” In relation to noise complaints, Live Nation stated its intent to comply with pre-existing noise ordinances, but declared its right to receive indemnities if such ordinances were to be modified.
During the Great Park Board special meeting on July 25, in which the cooperation between Live Nation and the city of Irvine was terminated, councilmembers and Live Nation lobbyist Patrick Strader of Star Ventures clashed over their interpretations of the contract, according to the Voice of OC. Councilmembers Larry Agran and Treseder proposed the build of an 8-10,000-seater run by a third party at this meeting, of which the council is currently taking build proposals from designers and operators.
“We want pretty much anybody to come in and be able to perform,” Treseder said. “We just want a diversity of performers.”
Live Nation has since stated its intention to look elsewhere in Orange County for further options for live music.
“If the City decides to build a new home for concerts one day, Live Nation will always stand ready to support,” representatives said in their Oct. 21 post. “In the meantime, we are exploring options to bring a new venue to the broader Orange County area.”
If you wish to make public comments at a city council or Great Park board meeting, visit https://www.cityofirvine.org/city-council/city-council-meetings.
Karen Wang is a City News Intern for the fall 2023 quarter. She can be reached at email@example.com.