NC amphitheaters take center stage
Top photo courtesy of Genesis Photography Group
By Vanessa Infanzon
Outdoor events are a hallmark of summer across the state with amphitheaters attracting people who want to hear regional and national musicians, attend festivals, and watch family-friendly movies. We picked five diverse examples that offer lawn seating and a variety of programs to thrill concertgoers seeking an open-air experience.
CAPACITY: 2,000 | OPENED: 2005
Locals and visitors to Andy Griffith’s hometown, also known as Mayberry, are drawn to the large venue that has a summer series featuring more than 50 shows including country, beach, ’80s and bluegrass music. Mount Airy-based Thirsty Souls Community Brewing offers beer and wine, and the Dairy Center sells sandwiches, soft drinks and snacks. Tickets cost $15 per show, while a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass is $120.
The council raised $450,000 to build the nonprofit amphitheater, which is owned by the city of Mount Airy. The design includes an air-conditioned dressing room with showers and mirrors, which has proven popular with entertainers.
JACKSONVILLE COMMONS AMPHITHEATER
CAPACITY: 400 | OPENED: 2018 (soft opening)
The Onslow County seat is home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and its new Jacksonville Commons Amphitheater. Guests at the city-owned property enjoy a terraced venue with a view of a pond and fountain. The first official season includes Tuesday nights in June and July with the Onslow Winds community band, a first and third Friday-night movie series, and cultural art presentations throughout the season.
JOSEPH M. BRYAN JR. THEATER
IN THE MUSEUM PARK
CAPACITY: 3,000 | OPENED: 1997
Named after the late Greensboro insurance executive who bequeathed one of the state’s biggest foundations, the theater is adjacent to the state-owned N.C. Museum of Art. This summer’s concert lineup includes acclaimed artists such as Bruce Hornsby, Lyle Lovett and Chaka Khan. The venue is used about seven months out of the year and is funded by state government and the museum’s private foundation. Ticket prices range from $25-$65, while the museum offers free admission. Record attendance occurred in 2018 when 23,500 tickets were sold.
SYMPHONY PARK AT SOUTHPARK
CAPACITY: 6,000 | OPENED: 2002
Symphony Park at SouthPark is owned by Simon Property Group, owner of the adjacent mall. It’s best known for its summer “Summer Pops” series that attracts thousands of Charlotteans to hear the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. This year’s concert lineup includes music from the Star Wars movie series and favorite Broadway musicals such as Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Wicked. Tickets range from $12 to $20 (children are free). The amphitheater is also used for festivals and fundraising events such as Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s Take Steps walk, Spina Bifida Association’s Walk-N-Roll and Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival.
THE VILLAGE GREEN COMMONS
CAPACITY: N.A. | OPENED: 1992