A cornerstone of the Orange County music scene is getting ready for its final curtain call. The Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre is just weeks from being demolished to make way for a new housing development.
Orange County native Gwen Stefani has been entrusted with the duty of closing out the venue, reports the Orange County Register. Stefani will bring her This is What the Truth Feels Like Tour to the Irvine Meadows for shows on October 29-30.
Stefani tells the Orange County Register she’s "devastated" about the Meadows closing, as she has a long history with the venue as both performer and spectator. The amphitheater was often a stop for her band No Doubt over the years, as well her solo tours.
After the Gwen Stefani shows, the amphitheater’s 35 year music legacy will be paved over.
The demolition of Irvine Meadows may come as a shock to concertgoers, but plans have been in the works for the future of the site since the amphitheater’s inception. In 1981, the real estate company Irvine Company leased 50 acres of land to concert promoters. That lease is now ending, and Irvine Co. doesn’t plan to renew.
Instead, Irvine Company plans to build phase two of its Los Olivos housing development on the venue’s parking lot, and a 60,000 square-foot "community facility" where the amphitheater now stands. In all, 1,950 apartments will be built on the site, joining the 1,750 already built in Los Olivos phase one.
Incidentally, the building of phase one was responsible for the demise of Wild Rivers Waterpark. It’s like the Irvine Company hates fun.
Irvine Company defends its decision in an email to the Daily Pilot. The company says the amphitheater land, "was always meant to transition to a more-permanent use." Replacing the venue with housing would enhance Irvine’s "long-term economic health by providing housing adjacent to the Irvine Spectrum business community."
Irvine Meadows is not in the grave just yet. Starting tonight with a Blink 182 show, there are still seven opportunities to see a concert in the famed amphitheater. Whether it’s Ice Cube, Sublime, or Jimmy Buffett, there's still time to make one last Irvine Meadows memory before it’s too late.
- Orange County's biggest pop star will close Irvine Meadows [Orange County Register]
- Curtain to close on Irvine Meadows Amphitheater [Daily Pilot]
- Wild Rivers closes after 25 years [Orange County Register]