RiversEdge reopening: What the Hamilton amphitheater will be like beginning July 4

RiversEdge will be the venue Thursday for the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
RiversEdge will be the venue Thursday for the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Staff at RiversEdge amphitheater are continuing to plan for the July 4 debut concert of 2020 with new seating and cleaning standards.

“We’re ready. We feel like we have a good plan in place,” said Adam Helms, director of resident services, City of Hamilton.

The 2020 RiversEdge concert series will begin on July 4 with Brass Owl, Linus Tate and Jordan Wood with Nick Giese.

Helms said one of the biggest changes this year is there will be a charge for admission to RiversEdge due to the social distancing mandates and limited seating capacity.

Concertgoers will have to purchase a ticket/square, which can accommodate two to nine people. Purchasers must buy the entire square, and they are responsible for the cost of the square and inviting additional guests. Most of the squares are eight feet by eight feet and can seat nine people.

” There are a handful of other squares that have six people. There are some tables on the deck, behind the stage, or on the side of the stage that can accommodate two people. There also one or two spots that have obstructed views,” said Helms.

For the July 4 show, for example each spot in a square will cost $4. Ticket prices will vary per show.

“We believe (the ticket prices) are an incredibly good value to see the musicians. If you go to any local music venue, whether it’s a club, or someplace similar, you are going to pay at least $10 to $15, or more, and if you go to a bar on the weekends, there’s always going to be a $5 or $10 cover charge. We are trying to keep this as affordable as possible,” Helms said.

The venue will be operating at about one-third of its capacity, or about 1,002 attendees, less than the usual 3,000 or so. The squares are spaced about eight feet apart.

Only a handful of venues across the region have announced plans for this summer. Some artists have hosted virtual concerts or announced drive-in theater shows.

“We really haven’t seen a lot of venues trying to push forward with their operations … It’s going to take a lot of effort to pull this off. We have to set up the fence, which is no different from what we’ve done during (events like) Whimmydiddle or Big River Get Down. We’re going to have to do that every week just to make it happen, so it’s going to be a large undertaking, but we have a dedicated group of people who want to see live music happen in Hamilton this summer, ” Helms said.

Food trucks and beverage stations will be available. Masks should be worn when moving around the venue. There will be hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the venue. The restrooms will be frequently sanitized, about every two hours. The microphones the bands will be using will be cleaned, and bands are being encouraged to bring their own microphones. Other common touch points will also be frequently cleaned.

“That’s one of the big advantages of RiversEdge. Unlike other venues, there really aren’t a lot of touch points inside the amphitheater. Once you get there, you don’t have to touch anything, and you can sit down in the grass in your spot,” Helms said.

Nearby beverage stations will be accessible. RiversEdge is also currently exploring other options, such as live streaming the concerts or purchasing a large video screen.

“If there’s a group or a family out there on a picnic blanket, don’t set up shop right next to them. Give them six feet, or give them 10 feet, and from what I’ve seen over the past few weekends, the people that have been utilizing the park have been doing a good job of keeping their distance from each other,” Helms said.