Venues Withstand Hurricane Irma

Most performance venues in Florida appear to have survived the second of back-to-back hurricanes without major damage.

Although Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on tour schedules in early September – not to mention causing billions of dollars of destruction to the area – most venues are now open or preparing to host performances. The situation with Irma looks to be similar to Hurricane Harvey, in which homes and non-venue-related businesses bore the brunt of the catastrophic storm system.

Miami’s Marlins Park, the home of the MLB’s Miami Marlins, is one venue that is facing some repairs.

“The ball park didn’t experience any flooding or water damage,” Marlins President David Samson said in a statement. “However, the TPO (rubber and plastic) membrane on the West vertical face of the center panel of the roof will need to be replaced immediately following the conclusion of the 2017 season. This represents approximately 6 percent of the entire roof membrane. This membrane serves to weatherproof the roof structure.”

He added that based on an initial assessment, “The building performed extremely well considering the intensity of the hurricane.”

The team’s Sept. 15-17 series against the Milwaukee Brewers has been relocated to Miller Park. Samson released another statement Sept. 13 explaining that, “Marlins Park stood ready to host the games, but we all agreed that burdening public service resources was not the proper course of action. Following Hurricane Irma, the Miami Marlins realize that all of our employees, as well as our entire community, have other needs that must take priority at this time.” Marlins Park will reopen to host the New York Mets Sept. 18.

Other area sports teams are returning to their home venues after the facilities passed inspection, including EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is also ready to host its Sept. 16 game as scheduled after only sustaining damage to signage.

Irma Hits Germain Arena
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
– Irma Hits Germain Arena
The flooded parking lot of Germain Arena is pictured Sept. 11, two days after the venue opened as a shelter to Hurricane Irma evacuees.

The roof of Germain Arena in Estero, Fla., suffered a leak Sept. 10 while it was being used as a shelter, according to the Naples News. The venue sheltered approximately 5,300 a evacuees over the weekend, the publication reported. A representative for the venue was not available for comment at press time.

BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., also helped its community by housing 2,500 utility contractors for dispatch by Florida Power and Light in addition to 500 Broward County Sherriff’s officers.

“We didn’t suffer any serious damage. A few leaks in the roof, some signs knocked down, and lots of trees for cleanup, but nothing that would set us back at all,” BB&T Center President and CEO Matthew Caldwell told Pollstar. “We will be fine and ready to go for the next event.”

The USF Sun Dome, located on the campus of the University of South Florida, was also used as a shelter and a representative at the venue told Pollstar that the facility is fine after the Hurricane.

Hurricane Irma roughed up the exterior membrane of the Miami Heat’s practice facility at AmericanAirlines Arena but the structure of the venue is reportedly fine.

“The outer membrane of the @AAarena practice facility suffered Hurricane Irma related damage. We believe it is minor and nothing structural,” the NBA team tweeted Sept. 11.

Depeche Mode confirmed on social media that its Sept. 15 gig at AmericanAirlines Arena is still on.

Unfortunately, Depeche Mode was forced to call off its Sept. 13 show at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater. A statement on the band’s website explained, “With our partners at Live Nation, we have looked at all options available to avoid canceling the show, including moving the show to an alternate venue, but at this time we cannot guarantee a venue that will be ready and adequately staffed for a safe and successful show, so we have no choice but to cancel.”

When asked if the venue had suffered any damage, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre GM/Marketing Director David Harb told Pollstar via email it was “all good here.”

The Freefall Theatre in St. Petersburg, Fla., is facing some repairs after the hurricane left the venue “with a section of roof sheeting missing from above its offices,” according to the Tampa Bay TimesA voicemail left with the venue wasn’t returned at press time.    

A representative at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre confirmed that the venue is ready to reopen for Clint Black’s Sept. 16 concert.

Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., sustained “minor and cosmetic damage to non-essential parts of the speedway” because of the hurricane, according to a statement. The venue assured fans that the damage wasn’t expected to affect the Nov. 17-19 Ford Championship Weekend.  

Miami’s Daytona International Speedway released a statement saying that the moderate “damage to the facility was cosmetic and will not have an impact on the event calendar.”

Michael Harrison Berg, talent buyer and co-founder of the Suwannee Hulaween festival at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla., said the outdoor site was fortunate considering the circumstances.

“Everything is OK, thankfully,” he told Pollstar. “For the most part, the park where the festival is held was spared pretty handily. I guess a couple trees got knocked down and it’s soggy from rain, but there is no structural damage to any of the buildings or permanent stages like the built-in amphitheatre.

“We’re still six-seven weeks out from the festival so we’ve got plenty of time to get it cleaned up. They’re already dealing with it in the park currently. In their words they really dodged a bullet.”

Berg said the festival is planning a hurricane fundraiser of some kind but hasn’t worked out details yet.

Although Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley postponed his Sept. 13 gig at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, the venue is still set to host 2 Chainz on Sept. 15 and Bleachers Sept. 16.

Similarly, Tove Lo canceled her Sept. 13 gig at Fort Lauderdale’s Revolution Live and Plaza Live Sept. 14, but the venues are open for their next respective shows: Revolution Live will host Klas Sept. 16 and Plaza Live is good to go with Steven Wright Sept. 15.

Previously reported cancellations and postponements include concerts by Adam Ant, Bryan Adams, Paramore, and The Chris Robinson Brotherhood

The death count related to Hurricane Irma is reportedly at least 30 in the U.S., with 23 dead in Florida, four in South Carolina and three in Georgia, according to ABC News.

Hurricane Irma especially hit Key West hard, with FEMA officials estimating that the storm had damaged 90 percent of the homes in the area, with as estimated 25 percent destroyed altogether, according to ABC News.

As of Sept. 13, “power remained out to 83% of Monroe County, home to the island chain, on Wednesday,” according to USA Today.

“Currently, there is extremely limited communication and information in the lower Keys, but we believe there was no structural damage or flooding to our venue,” Key West Theater Marketing Director and Rams Head Representative Kelly Norman told Pollstar via email. “With that being said, until they allow residents back in or regain cell coverage, we will not be 100 percent sure. Please bear with us during this difficult time.”

Margaritaville Café of Key West is closed and “there is no scheduled date to reopen at this time,” according to a post on

AccuWeather estimates the damage from Hurricane Irma to be $100 billion, with economic costs including disruptions to businesses; increased unemployment rates for weeks and possibly months; damage to transportation and infrastructure; crop loss; increased gasoline, heating oil and jet fuel prices impacting all Americans; and damage to homes, cars, furniture, antiques and other valuables.

“We estimated that Hurricane Harvey is to be the costliest weather disaster in U.S. history at $190 billion or one full percentage point of the GDP,” AccuWeather Founder, President and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers said in a statement.