Music fans in Irvine and Orange County are voicing their disappointment regarding the closure of Irvine’s FivePoint Amphitheater after Live Nation abruptly announced the venue’s closure on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Live Nation, the promoter of Irvine’s temporary amphitheater, made the announcement via social media, stating that the venue’s sudden closure was due to FivePoint’s “residential development” in the area.
Longtime concert goers took to social media to voice their sadness and frustration regarding the closure of the city’s only outdoor concert venue, which opened in 2017 following the closure of the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater.
Instagram user Jessica Fawcett, whose handle is @jfawcettski, commented on FivePoint’s post adding that she will miss the venue and considered FivePoint Amphitheater to be one of Orange County’s best places for entertainment.
“This is absolutely ridiculous. There is zero entertainment in Orange county outside of strip malls and chain restaurants and now they’re taking the one legit venue for live music cause they want to build 1,000 more over-priced homes or office buildings,” she wrote. “We have loved this venue and everything it brought to the area. It will be sorely missed. @irvine should be ashamed.”
Other users on social media were quick to blame the closure of the outdoor music venue on the Great Park Board of Director’s 3-2 decision to terminate the design, construction and operation agreement (DCOA) with Live Nation in July.
Instagram user Julie Tapp, who uses the handle @Jtappster, wrote a lengthy comment referencing the Board of Director decision.
“The Irvine city council’s decision on July 25 to tank a years-long planning process with Live Nation for a large permanent amphitheater was a great example of the will of the people being overruled by those in power who were elected to represent them,” Tapp wrote. “As I recall from the two meetings I attended about the issue, the majority of Irvine residents wanted the large amphitheater, based on survey data that was collected as part of that process.”
Even FivePoint executives became part of the public reaction.
Steve Churm, who lists Executive Vice President, Public Affairs at FivePoint Holdings on his Facebook, shared a detailed post that encouraged the public to urge the city council to “act now.”
“Unless Irvine officials and land developer FivePoint Holdings act immediately to extend agreements to keep FivePoint Amphitheater open through the 2024 season,” Churm wrote. “For us, it’s a cultural loss, the shuttering of an era that spanned multiple generations. A safe, welcoming place to sing, dance and connect, is about to vanish. Email the Irvine City Council at email@example.com to turn up the volume and urge them to act now to save this special destination.”
However, in text messages to Irvine Weekly, Irvine City Manager Oliver Chi said that keeping the lights on at FivePoint Amphitheater was out of the city’s control. Adding the Great Park Board’s July decision to terminate negotiations with LiveNation is an unrelated matter.
Chi explained that the decision to close the 12,000 seat outdoor amphitheater came as the result of the expiration of a private contract between FivePoint Development and Live Nation – a contract that the city of Irvine was not involved with.
“Live Nation’s agreement with Five Point to facilitate the temporary Five Point Amphitheater expired, and given construction related priorities that FivePoint has to execute, the parties couldn’t facilitate access into the temporary FivePoint Amphitheater to allow for an extension of the temporary venue,” Chi wrote via text message.
Irvine City Council member Tammy Kim said she had received dozens of messages following the sudden closure of the concert venue, but added that she was not aware of any action the council could take.
“The city has absolutely nothing to do with this private deal – they’re not renewing the lease because they need to do stuff with the land, so there’s nothing necessarily for the council to address,” Kim explained by phone to Irvine Weekly.
Kim explained that in terms of infrastructure, the parking lot and roads leading into FivePoint Amphitheater have been eliminated due to the ongoing construction of the Great Park. Kim added that while the city of Irvine agreed to support parking for the venue, the land is controlled by FivePoint.
Kim said the council was made aware of the ongoing issues pertaining to the elimination of roads and the venue’s parking, but did not know the terms of the lease.
“We knew that there were some issues because there were no roads able to get in and out and we said, ‘hey, we’ll help provide parking for you, but you need to do something with the roads,’” Kim explained. “And it looked like they just weren’t ready to do that. But we weren’t privy to the actual lease termination. Because it’s not our deal.”
FivePoint has not yet responded to Irvine Weekly’s request for comment.
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