We’ve been watching the progress and anxiously awaiting the finished product for months, and the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater officially received it’s Certificate of Occupancy last Friday. Having lunch at Pier Park Wednesday, I overheard them sound testing and stopped by to check it out.
Once I got there, I found Pro Tech (the sound and lighting masterminds behind the PCB Seafood Fest and many of the other events you’ve spectated in our area) with speakers hung, lighting in the progress of being hung, all to test the new infrastructure and play with the setup. They were rocking out to AC/DC and Mario Gisbert (the new City Manager) and other local officials with the City of Panama City Beach were there to witness the tests.
The concept renderings of the building were pretty, but the finished building is really a spectacle to behold. The colors are vibrant and the style closely matches the motif Pier Park set precedent for years earlier and the architectural features are clean and beautiful. It was fun walking through it as it felt like that new shiny car that you’re test driving for the very first time.
They said the first scheduled event is in April for the Seabreeze Jazz Festival and they tentatively have the Panama City POPs scheduled for a performance there later in the spring.
Here is a breakdown of all the features of this new amphitheater.
From this view, you can see the paved driveway that will allow access for performer’s vehicles and loading trucks.
This is from the back of the stage looking out, to the north and slightly to the east. The covered stage area is very large, much larger than some of the pop-up stages that we’ve seen here in the past.
This is obviously from the front-west side. The white panel you see is a place for a projector to project video of performances. Behind that panel is the dressing rooms and admin office.
This is looking at the opposite side of the amphitheater. The white panel here is the same as the other side and there is a large loading area perfect for anything up to a semi-truck trailer to unload.
This view shows the back of the structure. You can see how polished everything is. That large green area in the middle are those huge hangar doors that open up completely and allow the Seabreeze come through.