RIR Keeps Amphitheater, Spruces Up Barn 

Next: What to do with the Classic Amphitheatre? Though it’s the city’s largest outdoor concert venue — with covered seating for 6,000 and room for an additional 4,000 on the lawn — Classic Amphitheatre has mostly flopped, unable to compete with nearby arenas like Wolf Trap, Nissan Pavilion and the Virginia Beach Amphitheatre that hold crowds of 20,000 and more. Its last heyday was in the early 1990s, before the boom of bigger venues.

Word has been that the amphitheater will come down to make room for another seating expansion at the raceway. But Gilmore says a new plan calls for keeping the venue the way it is — almost. You won’t see or hear much in the way of concert schedules in the next year or so. RIR hopes area promoters and radio stations will continue to host events like Y101’s Chili Cook-off on the site. “The last few years it’s been left to the dogs for the most part,” Gilmore says. “There was not enough interest in concerts.” RIR expects this to change.

Gilmore and RIR predict hopefully that concertgoers — and musicians — will tire of big venues and demand smaller ones, for example. That’s the thinking anyway. By 2005, RIR hopes to reestablish Classic Amphitheatre as a first-rate midsize venue with a hot summer lineup.

But would Moby or Missy do Richmond? “We can get some of the larger acts,” Gilmore assures, adding: “It’s an intimate venue. For certain acts it’s awesome.”

- Brandon Walters

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