BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) – A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning at the new Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport.
Those who had a hand in revamping the facility gathered Wednesday morning, saying this will draw visitors from the entire region to the city of Bridgeport.
“We are thrilled that the opening of the state-of-the-art Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater coincides with our 200th anniversary,” said Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim.
On Wednesday night, REO Speedwagon and Styx will hit the stage for the first concert to be held at the amphitheater, which has 5,700 seats.
The show kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
The amphitheater, which used to be called the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, has been a long time coming for Bridgeport.
For years, it sat as an abandoned factory covered in graffiti.
Then, it turned into a baseball park for the Bridgeport Bluefish until about four years ago when the team left.
The masterminds behind the project wanted to bring a concert venue to Bridgeport for music fans.
"That’s why it’s so special. You don’t have to travel too far to go see a concert if you live in Westchester or Fairfield [counties]," said Jim Koplik, of Live Nation.
Earlier this year, Hartford HealthCare and Live Nation announced it planned to give the Harbor Yard a new name.
Mayor Ganim is already envisioning big plans for the venue.
“To make this, which will be as of today, the premier entertainment facility. We try to limit it to the region, the state, the country, the world, anywhere in the galaxy,” Ganim said.
Hartford HealthCare CEO Jeff Flaks said he doesn’t see the venue as a sponsorship, but a partnership.
“We are completed committed to the economic health and vitality of this region. It’s projects like this that’s going to create more jobs,” Flaks said.
Just in May, the amphitheater hosted a mass hiring event for several positions inside the venue.
Job creation also includes construction.
Bridgeport also wants to see nearby theaters undergo renovation to help make it be a destination for entertainment with easy access from I-95 and trains.
When it comes to COVID-19, the amphitheater is following CDC and state guidelines. While it is an outdoor venue, there are big fans to help circulate the air.