JEFFERSON CITY - The Ellis-Porter Riverside Park Amphitheater in Jefferson City is expecting to finish up construction before their first event on May 22.

The amphitheater's first concert, with country singers Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence, is already sold out.

Lynn Cannon, Venuworks Executive Director of Riverside Park Amphitheater, said people are itching to get back to concerts after the pandemic.

"People are showing that by the amount of sales, not just at our venue, but at venues all across the country. The excitement is building, and I think we're all ready for it," Cannon said.

The total cost of the amphitheater comes to $3.1 million, according to Todd Spalding, Director of Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. 

Spalding said the department renovated the amphitheater expecting that it could benefit the local economy.

"Not only does it meet the needs for our community, but it brings people in from all over, which means more dollars for our community, and more dollars for all of our departments," Spalding said.

Jefferson City Parks expects the Riverside Park Amphitheater to be completed by May 10th. The venue's first concert is scheduled for May 22nd.

Cannon said in addition to locals, she's noticed an interest in the venue's shows from people outside of the Jefferson City area.

"We can determine from the data from Ticketmaster. More than 25% of people who purchase tickets to the first show are from outside a 60 mile radius of Jefferson City," Cannon said.

In addition to national and local performers, Cannon hopes the community will be able to use the amphitheater for performances as well.

"I've already been in touch with one of the local high schools for their spring band concert that they will be hosting at the amphitheater. We could even host high school graduations here," Cannon said.

Spalding said the amphitheater plans to follow all Cole County health orders at the given time of each performance.

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