O.C. will get interim amphitheater to replace shuttered Irvine Meadows

Music fans in Orange County won’t have to miss a beat when it comes to live music in the great outdoors.

The Irvine City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a plan to build a temporary 12,000-seat amphitheater to pick up where Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre left off in the fall upon ending its 35-year run of major pop, rock and classical concerts.

Promoter Live Nation is partnering with FivePoint Communities Management Inc. to erect the interim facility in time to open for concerts this summer, project officials said Tuesday.

“The Irvine City Council is continuing a tradition that has brought hundreds of thousands of people together for more than three decades in our city,” Irvine Mayor Donald P. Wagner said after the vote, which elicited cheers from a crowd that had gathered for the meeting.

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“In doing so, we recognize the enormous economic engine that live music fuels in Irvine and beyond, and the cultural importance of live music as part of Orange County’s identity,” Wagner said. “FivePoint and Live Nation’s proposal enables us to collectively develop recreational, cultural and educational opportunities for the enjoyment of Orange County residents and visitors.”

The interim amphitheater will be built on the former site of the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro adjacent the Orange County Great Park.

“We believe what makes communities great is diversity and inclusivity,” Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint, said. “I don’t believe there is a better place to find that than a live music venue and that’s why this decision is important. We’re excited because when you add music to sports, education, jobs and housing you enhance the experience for everyone and that’s how a community is built.”

Live Nation and FivePoint officials said the interim amphitheater will be based on America’s Cup Pavilion in San Francisco, which opened in 2013. Live Nation has committed to building 12,000 seats, 4,000 parking spots as well as concession and hospitality offerings in time for the summer concert season.

Live Nation and Aliso Viejo-based FivePoint hope to construct a permanent facility to continue serving the audience that had been patronizing Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre since it opened in 1981 as Orange County’s first major outdoor concert facility. The long-term lease on the property ended last year and the facility has been razed to make way for residential and commercial development.

“I only hope that soon we will be celebrating the approval of the permanent amphitheater at the Great Park to ensure live music in Irvine continues for many generations to come,” FivePoint’s Haddad said.

randy.lewis@latimes.com

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