- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Lincoln officials want to renovate the Pinewood Bowl amphitheater to make it more appealing to big name acts.

The city wants to expand the backstage area and parking and replace the aging roof and main ticket office at the facility built in 1947, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1sUTMgg ).

The current available parking allows about 5,500 people for general admission shows and up to 4,500 for reserved seating shows.

City Parks and Recreation Department Director Lynn Johnson said bands such as Boston and the Doobie Brothers have enjoyed performing in the three summers since big name acts returned to the venue after a 17-year break. But their production staffs have had a hard time getting tour buses and equipment down a single-lane gravel road to the backstage area. Once there, they must deal with limited space.

“They love the stage. They love the audience,” Johnson said. “The support facilities are like going to summer camp.”

Tom Lorenz, general manager of promoter SMG-Lincoln, said the lack of backstage facilities has limited the type of acts the venue can attract and has discouraged performers such as Mumford and Sons and James Taylor.

“Certainly backstage makes a difference on what shows we can get and continuing to get good shows,” he said. “They really would like a clean place to change clothes backstage.”

The company hosted six shows at the Pinewood Bowl in 2012, four in 2013 and seven in 2014. Revenue from the shows supplements the Pinnacle Bank Arena’s operating budget.

There’s no estimated cost yet for the project. The City Council would need to approve any use of city funds. The Clark Enersen Partners will help draft a master plan and the city hopes to have it ready for the mayor’s office and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to approve this winter.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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