Irvine meadows gets sent out to pasture
Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, the city’s primary concert venue, officially closed after its final concert on Oct. 30. The final show featured Orange County’s own musicians, former No Doubt singer, Gwen Stefani and Irvine-based indie-rock outfit Young the Giant.
The land on which the amphitheatre parking lot was built will now be used to develop housing in Phase II of the Los Olivos residential development, which will add 1,970 apartment homes to the existing 1,750 built in Phase I.
“In 2006, we worked with the city and community on a land-use plan for this area that would ensure the city’s long-term economic health by providing housing adjacent to the Irvine Spectrum business community,” Irvine Company wrote in an email.
Arezew Siah, a Northwood senior and a frequent concert-goer, reacted like many others did upon hearing the news.
“I’m absolutely shocked that the city would tear down such a huge part of Irvine’s culture,” Siah said.
Since its opening in 1981, Irvine Meadows has hosted a wide variety of musicians, as well as several summer festivals and events which will take place at different venues in the coming years. The amphitheatre has held some of California’s most well-known music festivals, such as alternative radio station KROQ’s Weenie Roast, as well as the annual touring music festivals Lollapalooza and Uproar. Every summer, Irvine Meadows has been the home of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Orange County’s largest symphony orchestra. These music festivals and activities will now need to be held at different Orange County locations, which have yet to be determined. Additionally, Irvine Meadows hosted a rally for Bernie Sanders last May and has been known for hosting many other major events.
However, fans of music across Orange County can now anticipate the arrival of a new music venue. According to the OC Register, concert promoter Live Nation and developer Five Point are planning to open a 12,000 seat amphitheatre next to the Great Park in Irvine.
Rom Fox, a man who started a petition on change.org titled “Save Irvine Meadows,” was the first to publicly petition the destruction of the amphitheatre.
“It’s really a place that I hold deep in my heart,” Fox said. “So it’s really hard to see it go.”
Fox said he knew from the beginning of the petition that the amphitheatre would be torn down no matter what, but that he hoped for a replacement. The petition received nearly 15,000 signatures, which led Live Nation to run a campaign for fans of Irvine Meadows to share their most cherished memories of the venue on social media.
The new planned amphitheatre is expected to cause some issues with traffic in the surrounding Great Park neighborhoods. It will stand as a temporary venue until a more permanent outdoor theater can be built in the park, but, nonetheless, the legacy of Irvine Meadows will continue to live.