Ribbon officially cut on Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport; REO Speedwagon, Styx kick off first show

Entertainment

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut officially welcomed the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport into its collection of venues Wednesday in a ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony.

It’s like no other venue in the state: 5,700 seats and not a bad one in the house.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, along with Hartford HealthCare President Jeff Flaks and Live Nation CT President Jim Koplik, were there for the ceremony.

Flaks said, “The health and vitality of all the communities we serve is absolutely essential. The project created 500 jobs, it’s going to bring people into the city vitality to the region and HHC. We are really really proud to be part of it and to be moving Connecticut forward.”

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For years, the site was home to Minor League Baseball’s Bridgeport Bluefish. Now it will play host to some of the music industry’s top artists.

Bridgeport leaders believe the new venue will further the Park City’s reputation as “the entertainment destination in Southern Connecticut” and be an economic powerhouse.

Mayor Ganim said, “First of all, the awe of it and just the attention and making this the premier outdoor entertainment facility I think anywhere…We were joking about the state and beyond and that’s what it is.”

Construction on the venue was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but things are ready to go for the kickoff concert Wednesday with REO Speedwagon and Styx.

For the performers and the fans, it will be a unique experience.

Koplik added, “The backstage area is clearly the nicest backstage I’ve ever seen and I hope and expect when the fans come in today they will certainly like what we’ve done in front of the stage.”

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The project to turn the former Ballpark at Harbor Yard into an amphitheater broke ground in the summer of 2018.

As it was going through final touches and big top installation, the amphitheater hosted several college commencement ceremonies in the spring.

Wednesday’s concert is the first of many. Some upcoming performances include Harry Connick Jr. and Erykah Badu.

News 8 is a proud TV partner of the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater.

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