The Sound will be the name of the new entertainment venue now under construction in Clearwater’s Coachman Park. And Chicago, Kenny Loggins, country hitmaker Billy Currington and the Goo Goo Dolls have been lined up to add star power after it opens in June.
Susan M. Crockett, Ruth Eckerd Hall president and CEO, made the announcement Wednesday morning at the construction site of the 4,000-seat covered amphitheater that will have lawn space for another 5,000 people. The amphitheater is the centerpiece of an $84-million project known as Imagine Clearwater that will also include a garden, a bluff walk, a gateway plaza and green space.
Though it is a public project, the city made a licensing agreement with Ruth Eckerd Hall to book and operate events, manage food and beverage service, carry most of the insurance and provide the staffing it takes to run The Sound.
“It is truly exciting to be able to share the name, which has been under wraps these past weeks,” Crockett said. “This will be an iconic venue offering a one-of-a-kind experience in Tampa Bay. The Sound will host great entertainment in front of Clearwater’s breathtaking sunset and is sure to be an artist favorite.”
Now that the venue has a name, big-name visitors are next on the list. Crockett also announced the addition of upcoming concerts including Chicago, Kenny Loggins and Billy Currington with Jessie James Decker, going on sale soon. Previously announced concerts include The Sad Summer Festival with Taking Back Sunday, The Maine, PVRIS, Mom Jeans, Stand Atlantic on July 7; Michael Franti and Spearhead on July 21; and the Goo Goo Dolls with special guest O.A.R. on July 24. Those shows are already on sale.
The Sound has a double meaning as a name, said Megan Brennan, vice president and chief marketing officer at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
“We wanted something special capturing not only the venue’s purpose and gorgeous coastal location,” Brennan said, “but the unforgettable sensory experiences it will provide for concertgoers.”
The amphitheater will be a niche in Tampa Bay, an outdoor, boutique performance venue that is expected to attract entertainment acts and host graduations and community events with the Intracoastal waterway as the backdrop. The structure will include a VIP event space for reservations of about 100 people as well as extensive facilities for the talent, like dressing rooms and catering areas.
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Last November, Clearwater voters approved a referendum to sell two bluff parcels surrounding the park to developers to build a $400-million apartment, hotel and retail project. The bluff projects, which are expected to break ground in 2024, were cast as the necessary catalyst to bring full-time residents and visitors around the revitalized Coachman Park.
The city recently hired a consultant to look into the lucrative opportunity to sell naming rights for the amphitheater. Ruth Eckerd Hall’s CEO said that would not interfere with the new name The Sound.
“Yes, the city has engaged a firm to solicit and negotiate naming rights for the venue,” Crockett said. “The name will stay with the venue and was intentionally designed to incorporate the sponsor’s name when that happens.”
Times staff writer Tracey McManus contributed to this report.