Styx And Stoners–Two Weeks From Opening Night, Details Front Amphitheater ‘Engineering Marvel’

On July 28th Bridgeport’s boutique amphitheater officially opens, featuring REO Speedwagon and Styx, at the edge of Downtown and South End.

REO Speedwagon recorded its first album at the late, Bridgeport-born, Paul Leka’s Connecticut Recording Studio on Main Street Downtown. Leka co-wrote the anthem classic “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”

The most popular track on REO’s first release was “157 Riverside Avenue” in Westport where the band stayed while recording in Leka’s studio. The song references from “Bridgeport to Westport” in the opening lyrics.

Promoters of The Amp share details of the destination’s accoutrements in this news release.

Housed on the site the former Ballpark at Harbor Yard, the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater brings a paradigm shift to the future of live music, entertainment, and community in Bridgeport, CT. The Amphitheater, powered by Live Nation, will be the premier entertainment destination for Southern CT, and the entire region. The venue is accessible from I-95, the Merritt Parkway, MetroNorth, Amtrak and dedicated concert ferries operated by the Port Jefferson Ferry.

REO Speedwagon and Styx will perform the Grand Opening Show as part of the We Are Back Tour 2021 on Wednesday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m.

Attention to detail is the hallmark of the 5,700+ seat boutique amphitheater. The Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater promises to entice all senses, from the state-of-the-art sound system, to beautiful finishes, to fabulous local foods; it is designed to wow. Luxurious details greet you as you enter the building, from custom steel gates and stone walls, an iconic tensile roof, marble bathrooms, food stands in stone, granite countertops, twinkle lights reminiscent of the evening sky, four huge video boards, cup holders at every seat, and much more.

This one-of-a-kind project is an engineering marvel. It incorporates some of the most sophisticated elements of design. The iconic roof features a center “Torch” supported by six additional “Flying Masts.” Each of the cables supporting the torch could support 75 Toyota Camrys! The entire roof is made up of over 1,000,000 pounds of structural steel (equivalent to 300 family cars) and 81,000 square feet of fabric (PTFE membrane), representing roughly 1 and 1/2 football fields of material. 31,000 nuts, bolts and washers were used in assembling the structure of the roof. Standing over 12 storeys high–125 feet in the air, the roof is the only such design structure in the United States.

The technology is truly state of the art. Complementing the 100-foot stage are two, 32 feet wide by 23 feet high 4k video boards and two, 20 feet wide by 14 feet high 4k video boards manufactured by Digital Projection. These boards provide today’s technology, almost appearing to be 3-D. The D & B sound system is literally the best of the best. D&B Audiotechnik is internationally regarded as the world’s leading company for sound reinforcement systems in installed and mobile applications, with a reputation for quality of construction, standard of service, system integration principles, and pioneering technological developments. The Amphitheater’s control room is powered by 15 miles of wire. The Italian manufactured Griven LED lights, illuminating the roof structure, are the brightest colored lights available. HHC Amphitheater is the first to use this lighting in an amphitheater. The Hartford HealthCare concert experience will be second to none.

The Amphitheater will feature fabulous local food. Dinner will be available three hours before all concerts at Two Roads at the Amp, a dedicated tasting room and restaurant. If you are a food connoisseur, The Amphitheater will not disappoint. We have sourced uniquely Connecticut purveyors including Little Pub, Pepe’s Pizza, Blue Point, Two Roads, Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Micalizzi’s Ices, Hummel Hot Dogs, Donut Crazy, Tasty Yolk, Caseus Cheese and more. The Amphitheater will be a cashless facility for our patron’s convenience and safety.

The Amphitheater will be the home of the Jim Koplik Club, a retrospective room filled with mementos, photos and archival footage and more from Jim Koplik’s illustrious career as the premier concert promoter in CT for over 50 years. From his early Cross Country Concert days with his partner Shelly Finkel to his current position as President of Live Nation CT, Koplik is thrilled to thank the public for all their support over the years with this nod to his history in live entertainment.

“The concert industry that I started in back in 1968, has come a long way from a few Marshall amps and a plug-in guitar. It has truly been a ride–a rock & roll ride–to be part of so many careers and entertain and bring countless memories to so many fans through music. Being a resident of Fairfield County for over 40 years, this particular project is near and dear to my heart. I know everyone will enjoy this new venue and cherish the memories it will provide for many years to come.”

The back of house, referred to as the “Barn,” is designed to be a refuge for the artists and crew. The star suite, furnished with an outdoor patio, fireplace, massage room, bedroom, kitchen and personal chef, is truly spectacular. There are also six additional dressing rooms with private baths, a laundry facility, a video arcade, green room, and a 4,000 square foot dining room. The loading area has an eight tractor- trailer loading dock ensuring easy show setup, while leaving room to house eight tour buses.

“This project is a great sustainable example of an adaptive reuse project where an old baseball stadium is repurposed into a contemporary performance facility, without tearing down the existing structures and the massive energy and environmental costs associated with it. It uses the old and enhances it with the new. The key in developing the design was to minimize sightline obstructions but at the same time create an intimate space for 5,700 seats. Everyone wants to be close to the talent and at the same time wants the feel of a shared community through live music performances. We think this facility is able to do both,” said lead architect Nic Goldsmith of FTL Design Engineering Studio.

“The Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater is proving to be everything we hoped for and more–a state-of-the-art venue, an oasis for local foods and just overall wonderful entertainment experience to attract visitors to Bridgeport. We appreciate all that Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater and Live Nation have done to make this a reality for our city and look forward to the opening act!” stated Bridgeport Mayor Ganim

“The development of the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater is a labor of love. We have poured our heart and soul into every detail. The Covid delay enabled us to refine every aspect of the Amphitheater. We cannot wait to open our doors, allowing fans and entertainers to bring the venue to life,” said Howard Saffan, Principal, Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater.



  1. Am I the only one who thinks the roof and all its luster is actually really unpleasant to look at. The concrete walls are all drab gray in color reminiscent of a bunker. When it’s lit up , it looks nice from afar. During they day up close, it is a god awful looking place.

    The beauty of my comment is that it only takes some buckets of paint and maybe an artist eye to really bring that façade to life. The irony is our good friends there may come back to the city for like $2.5M more to help paint it cause you know the went over budget fixing OUR building.

    I’m sure all the technology and luxurious interiors will be fantastic for music, but man the simplest things get overlooked, smh.

  2. C’mon Kelvin,the place looks beautiful, it’s state of the art, maybe go in and look around before you start criticizing it, geeezz.
    From this article though, I didn’t realize the building had so many food choices,I figured it was just going to be the standard hamburger,hot dog, chicken nuggets type fare.With all the choices mentioned,it doesn’t sound like anyone will need to venture into the downtown places beforehand,not good for those struggling businesses at all.
    We in Bridgeport don’t get much in the way of new development like this place,let’s hope it’s a success, and pray for god’s sake Joe keeps his hands out of it.

    1. Harvey, that’s what Steve Wynn said when he came to Bridgeport during the big push to have a casino in Bridgeport. At his presentation at the Jai-Alai a question was asked to Wynn about if he got the rights how would he get the 15,000 to 20,000 a day casino players to come downtown and spend money in those downtown businesses and Wynn said,look I got them here now it’s up to you to get them to your business and that it wasn’t his job.

    2. Harvey, many concert junkies enjoy the tablecloth/sit down dining. That’s where R&R, Joseph’s Steakhouse, Trattoria A Vucchella, Metric etc. come in. The Downtown marketing arm, Downtown Special Services District, must connect a synergy on behalf of the accessible restaurants.

      1. I guess some might,I’d imagine it would depend on what type of crowd the performer personally?, once I park my car,I’m staying, look at the choices!
        Little Pub, Pepe’s Pizza, Blue Point, Two Roads, Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Micalizzi’s Ices, Hummel Hot Dogs, Donut Crazy, Tasty Yolk, Caseus Cheese and more

    3. Harvey, Ive been inside of it and outside of it. I’m a downtown resident. I ride my back by it at least once a week. I know what F**k I’m talking about. I’m an invester in this city, I’m a downtown business owner and a job creator. So I’m also vested in the future of what happens here.

      A state a Fact, DRAB Concrete Grey building is not appealing to the streetscape.

      1. Kelvin, you are perfect for this question. The new brewery is open. There are some nice restaurants ,apartments. The new Arena opening. Beside parking ,what do you feel is needed to put downtown at the next level? Need to get people from the whole state visiting downtown BPT.

        1. Coach, it may be a perfect question, but it’s a stupid one. However to answer ti, A reason.

          When was the last time you drove to Hartford or any other downtown city in the state?

          The question is who and how well downtown business capitalizes on the people coming to the Port at the events held at the Arena and Amphitheater or even the Stressfactory.

          I will say this though, if a crime/incidences like what happened the last mount of what closed Tiago’s bar continues t be a part of the Downtown experience, doesn’t expect the next level. JS

        2. I appreciate your questions. I will lead with Downtown does not lack parking and has roughly 1500+ parking spots unused daily in parking lots. (WE LACK SIGNAGE/WAYFINDING). We need to eliminate meter parking all together on Main Street, force cars to lots and introduce a walking culture. Meter parking everywhere else to have 4 hr limits and have designated 1 hr parking areas. Downtown is pedestrian friendly. The BPT downtown culture is not to Park and Walk. That needs to change. Main Street now widens up for a more complete streets approach. Bringing back mass transit to Main Street will help as well.

          The quality of mix of stores has grown. Over 16 new businesses downtown have opened since Jan 2021. The Brewery is nice, but let’s be real it’s small, it’s not a savior, it’s a piece of diverse and eclectic things to do.

          You want to bring Bridgeport back. Bridgeport residents have to make an effort to come downtown once a week. If we do that, visitors will always come and stay. When we travel we always want to know where the locals hang out. Well , OUR locals need to come hang out downtown. Bridgeport needs a cultural mind shift. Forget politics and any other rhetoric.

          I’m downtown daily. I live downtown and support everyone I can. There are amazing shops and eateries here and sadly Bridgeport residents that have not come here in over 10 years are still saying there is nothing to do. That kind of energy doesn’t simulate an economy.

          So the short answer. We don’t need any more bars/restaurants. (There’s about 35 now) Support who we have, come down and explore.

          1. Let me say I agreed with you on the amphitheater being drab. The ballpark facade was much more ascetically pleasing to the eye. But it didn’t make the editorial cut 🙂

            As for your answer to Coach. T. Don’t expect people to pay for parking if they can find it on Main St. for free. They will be eaten up. That’s the fundamental problem that’s overlooked, people’s behavior.

            For the most part bars and eateries serve a function for people who work or live downtown. Any business to thrive people will need a reason to patronize ti

            How to facilitate businesses and patrons who will go downtown. Besides wanting it to be aesthetically pleasant and clean. If anything maybe the first free hour parking downtown, for people coming and poping in downtown for a quick visit/service.

            Like in the mall, have a display directory, with a colorful cartoonish map of business/location of places and things to do /visit downtown. Place them at the key locations (Arena, Amphitheater/the Factory, where people who are coming into the Port for an event to views. Or for people who go downtown and just don’t know what’s what.

            I don’t want to get too into Howard Saffron/politics or his development skill, but those lots have been there for 20 years serving the ballpark. However, it is vison. I don’t think a mix-use complex complete with a hotel and structured parking garage is much of a fit at this time. I mean don’t downtown have several Mix use apartments/retail buildings under construction? As for the hotel and parking garage, there is one about a block away nor do I think the Holiday Inn even comes close to reaching capacity.
            Anyway, trees/landscaping are simple/ affordable that have value and goes a long way. If you ever drive up Main St. look at Stop & Shop the front is lined with trees, although it would be nice to have some more in the parking lot itself like in Westport, then look at the next lot Price Rite. They have a few smaller trees, but a very big difference. Or Town fair tire lot that has nothing. Even Big JS d

      2. To be fair, Kelvin you don’t need to be an investor, downtown business owner, or job creator to see/know the facade is not that ascetically pleasing, compared to the ballpark,or the roof of the amphitheater is a better coal plant/smokestack.

        What’s more damaging to the Port is litter/debris/blight

        Trees, people, trees.

        P.S If you see a cup. pick it up. 🙂

        1. I agree with you comment, I’m down with trees. The most important piece of the puzzle is 2 massive vacant lots across the street since the initial 1997 investments of ballpark and Amphitheatre.

          Those properties need to go out to RFP with a vision for a Mix Use complex complete with a hotel and structured parking garage. Right now they are trying to tie the land up in a bogus deal that would in essence leave Howard Saffron as the developer of record. I feel he should bid like everyone else. There many more highly skilled and funded developers currently interested.

      3. Kelvin,I don’t think people care what color the building is,if a performer they want to see is there that night, they are going.Remember the New Haven coliseum?, it was an awful looking place,but sold out for most concerts no matter what.

  3. Hey Lennie,
    This looks fabulous but did they spend too much on the amenities that they didn’t have money left for niceties like SEAT NUMBERS????

  4. To Kelvin Ayala’s point, perhaps it needs some urban art such as a mural with George Floyd, the patron saint of the woke population. That will put people in the seats.

    1. Or we could have a giant mural of Donald Trump with one of his heroes, Hitler or with some his supporters who beat cops with American flags in their attempt to overthrow the the election.


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