Alton Plans Shed

Officials in Alton, Ill., unveiled plans for a $5 million amphitheatre capable of accommodating 4,000 concertgoers during a February 27th meeting held by the Alton Lakefront Advisory Committee.

Construction could begin later this year and is expected to be completed by early 2008, officials said. The shed and surrounding 19-acre park will largely be a site for events such as band concerts and commencement ceremonies.

Consultants say the venue could also be used – if the community agrees – for major concerts. However, a city representative told Pollstar, “The final determination to allow the use of this facility for promoter-driven concerts has not been determined by the city as of yet.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Alton Amphitheatre could mean a return of outdoor concerts to the Metro East area by big-name performers since the end of the old Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

But city officials reportedly aren’t considering anything as ambitious as that event, which ran from 1960 to 1980. The shed would accommodate crowds only a fraction of the size of the MRF. Alton anticipates offering no more than four or five major concerts per year, the paper said.

The planned amphitheatre won’t have fixed seats, but fans will be able to bring their own chairs or blankets for terrace and lawn seating.

Consultants said they believe Alton’s downtown area can handle parking for the projected 1,739 parking spaces that would be needed for a concert crowd of 4,000 people, according to the Post-Dispatch.