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Bonner Springs amphitheater gets a new name and a new look

Tim McGraw’s Shotgun Rider Tour stopped in July at what was then the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. The new name for the concert venue is Providence Medical Center Amphitheater.
Tim McGraw’s Shotgun Rider Tour stopped in July at what was then the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. The new name for the concert venue is Providence Medical Center Amphitheater. along@kcstar.com

The amphitheater in Bonner Springs will have more than just a new name when its music season opens in May. It will also sport nearly $2 million in renovations.

The venue, now called the Providence Medical Center Amphitheater, will host its first concert of the year on May 17. British singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding headlines.

Fans will notice most of the improvements immediately.

“We’ve applied a new color scheme, revitalized all the buildings, renovated and upgraded the (VIP) club, the box seats and the bathrooms, and cleaned, primed and repainted the permanent seats,” said Chris Fritz, president of New West Presentations, which operates the amphitheater formerly known as Cricket Wireless Amphitheater.

The project, which has been in the works for about 18 months, began Oct. 1, Fritz said. Because this winter has been unseasonably kind, the renovations are running slightly ahead of schedule.

“We expected it to be an eight-month project, so we were nervous about having any bad weather,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate. If we’d gotten anything like they just had in New York, we’d have been in trouble.”

Most of the improvements are cosmetic: a new color scheme and rehabbing of merchandise, food and beverage stands. The floor of the pit, the area directly in front of the stage, has what Fritz called a tennis court surface. The walkways have new concrete. New asphalt is also due to be laid.

The stage has been overhauled. It has a new floor and backstage has a new coat of paint, upgraded wiring and capacity for more rigging. The video towers that flank the stage are all stone now. More than 3,100 seats and more than 220 box seats were refurbished and about 1,200 new seats were installed.

The VIP Club’s two bars have been renovated, and it will feature a large video screen that can broadcast the live feed from the stage. There will also be several big-screen TVs that can broadcast Kansas City Royals games.

“So if you want to hang out in the club, you can watch the concert and keep an eye on the Royals game at the same time,” Fritz said.

The amphitheater, which opened in 1984, will retain its capacity of 18,000, which includes the lawn area. It was formerly known as Sandstone Amphitheater, then Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

The venue has confirmed several shows for this year. Among them: Florence and the Machine with Grimes, the Dave Matthews Band, Modest Mouse with Brand New and the Vans Warped Tour.

It also announced five country shows that are part of the Country Mega Ticket: Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Brantley Gilbert with Justin Moore, Rascal Flatts, and Luke Bryan with Little Big Town. The Country Mega Ticket goes on sale Feb. 13. For more information, go to providenceamp.com.

Fritz said he expects to present 20 to 24 shows this summer, up from 11 in 2015.

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

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