Greenfield Amphitheater Could Get New Seating, More Space

By Emma Dill, posted Jun 12, 2024
A rendering shows proposed upgrades at Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake. (Image courtesy of Thorpe Landscapes)
The city of Wilmington has plans to add more seating and a new outdoor area to Hugh Morton Amphitheater at Greenfield Lake Park.

The proposed changes to the existing 1,200-seat, outdoor amphitheater would add more space for concertgoers and concession vendors. Because the amphitheater is a designated local landmark, the design changes need approval from Wilmington’s Historic Preservation Commission, which will consider the proposals at its meeting on Thursday.

The venue, located at 1941 Amphitheater Drive, is owned by the city of Wilmington but is leased and managed by Live Nation, a national events promoter and venue operator. The company also manages the city-owned Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park.

Proposed changes to the amphitheater include installing more than 2,600 square feet of synthetic lawn inside a new fenced area, adding just over 500 square feet of gravel and building a 1,050-square-foot concrete pad. Renderings show the area could be used to house a bar, firepits and a recreation area for concertgoers.

Plans also show the addition of new seats along the western edge of the amphitheater’s existing seating. Renderings show a new deck area for concert viewing. The new seating area is expected to take up an area approximately 16 feet-by-25 feet in size. (A rendering of the seating is shown below.)

The changes would remove an existing chain-link fence and shrubs, replacing them with a board fence and new shrubbery. Other alterations include the removal of a fountain near the amphitheater’s ticket office and the relocation of the N.C. Azalea Festival queen plaques.

The amphitheater last saw a major investment in 2008 when it underwent $1.2 million in improvements, which included the construction of a new band shell and new seating along with stage lighting, restrooms, dressing rooms and a concession area.

These latest changes are among the recommendations for the amphitheater outlined in the Greenfield Park Master Plan, which was adopted in March by the Wilmington City Council.

The master plan recommends “bringing the venue up to today’s standards” with various amenities, which could include “a beer garden, outdoor dining areas with market lights, food truck area, and flexible seating options.” Other possible investments included expanding the amphitheater’s restrooms and improving the ticketing and concessions building.

In 2011, the venue was designated a local landmark by Wilmington leaders. An open-air theater was first built on the western side of Greenfield Lake in 1962.
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