Tonight, Indianapolis’ newest touring venue, the TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park, will host its first public concert of the 2022 season—and its first public performance since completion!
While the venue is an entirely new construction, concerts have been taking place at the same site in downtown Indianapolis for well over ten years. Operator Live Nation had been hosting events with temporary stages and structures in the park each summer and wanted something more permanent, with comfortable accommodations for artists and audiences, while still retaining the atmosphere of the concerts from previous years.
With a total project budget of $30 million, the design team created a 7,000-seat outdoor venue with a canopy extending from the stage house to the back row of the fixed seats. The venue includes a flexible area in front of the stage for 500 seated or standing patrons, a fixed seating area that accommodates 2,500 patrons and VIPs, and a lawn behind the fixed seating, where up to 4,000 concertgoers can enjoy the show in a more relaxed setting. Two large IMAG screens provide the audience with close up views of the performers on stage.
From the beginning of the project, we worked closely with Axis Architecture + Interiors, landscape architects Rundell Ernstberger Associates, acousticians Kirkegaard Associates, electrical and mechanical engineers Circle Design Group, and structural engineers Fink Roberts & Petrie to explore several options and arrangements for the site layout—how the stage could be oriented, where the restrooms and artist amenities should be located, access options for load-in and load-out, as well as other site adjacencies. This first phase was completed in 2019.
Our collaboration with the design team continued into a second phase to create the stage house, seating, and support spaces. Together, we designed a stage size that could comfortably accommodate the kind of acts Live Nation wanted to attract to the venue, production systems to support touring lighting, audio, video, automation, and rigging equipment, VIP boxes, and a flexible seating arrangement. A third and final phase saw the addition of the large, iconic canopy which makes the venue a highly visible Indianapolis landmark.
Project Manager for Theatre Projects, Robert Young, describes the project as having “just the right essential ingredients for a venue this size and scope.” Where there were only temporary accommodations before, now there are permanent, comfortable accommodations for patrons, performers, and production staff. The location itself is also unbeatable. Surrounded by parkland, with the river behind the stage, and an outdoors setting that lets you watch your favorite bands as the sun sets around you, the ambience at the riverside makes any event one that’s sure to be remembered.