Eichenberger @ the Charlottesville Pavillion

Eichenberger @ the Charlottesville Pavillion

June, 18, 2010, by Peter Eichenberger

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Editors Note:  Eichenberger wrote this just after this event prior to yesterday’s announcement that the city wouldn’t be taking a Bud Light name for the Pavilion.

Up holler in Virginia visiting my brother John, last night, he, his wife Amy and I journeyed to the Charlottesville Pavilion for an evening with local guitar wunderkind, Jamal Millner and Comrades.
Hence, I missed the opening night at the Raleigh Amphitheater/Connells’ show. This is to provide some comparisons with here versus the current “there” of Raleigh. With regard to our new amphitheater, I have been watching the venue’s progress through the filter of a decade or so of stagehand, theater and audiovisual/film/video production work.

I must admit to certain dismay when the term “finished” became associated with what looked to me to be no more than a sloped, treeless parking lot. I let that roll until this morning upon learning at the inaugural show Budweiser sweetened the pot in their goal of attaining naming rights by charging 4 bucks for a water. Along with irritation and disbelief, the parallel that unbidden sprang to mind was some mystic connection between Raleigh and the guy in Cedarville, Georgia who managed to shoot himself in the foot three times while cleaning three handguns … déjà vu over and over (apologies to Yogi Berra).

In comparison to the mixed reports filtering out of Raleigh, my night at the pavilion was a delight. Millner took the stage with a bass player, keyboard, drummer and a gal vocalist in possession of a voice a force of nature, playing to a mid-sized crowd that tarried, many out under the trees surrounding the venue—kids skipping rope, couples nuzzling in the cooling early evening air.  Five bucks bought a Bud draft or good range of draft microbrews dispensed from a Bud truck. You see, although Bud Light has the franchise for a concert series, the Pavilion is simply known as the Charlottesville Pavilion. But the primary details distinguishing the Raleigh venue is that it resembles something NCSU would set up for a one day rock concert. By comparison, the Virginia example has necessary, integrated features one would expect in a first rate, permanent venue:  an administration, green room, restroom facility, light-colored textured concrete floor and a permanent brick and concrete stage. But the most important detail that Raleigh’s outside venue lacks is a permanent cover, something perhaps akin to Charlottesville’s soaring, steel, tensile fabric canopy that gives everyone a covered seat.

Ok, it is a pricey item but one that separates a credible location for outdoor concerts from one that feels temporary and uninviting. I wrote this not to so much to point out the amphitheater’s obvious weaknesses but to try to elicit public interest in capital additions/improvements that will enable it (1) actually succeed and (2) live up to Raleigh’s status as a capital city. What we have is destined to become an also-ran when touring acts make their tour lists.

Read More

Ptrblt, Other posts by Peter Eichenberger.


Downtown Raleigh AmphitheaterPeter EichenbergerBud Light


  • Steelcity36
    06/18 02:51 PM

    Peter proved his own point. Charlottesville set up a permanent structure to be enjoyed for many years, while Raleigh set up a temporary structure to be used until they expand the convention center. If I remember correctly Raleigh also was going to purchase a canopy structure from Denver CO, but decided that the cost to purchase and setup the canopy was too much for a temporary venue.

    Rather than spend years criticizing the new amphitheater, which I think should have never been built, we should all begin working to create plans for a permanent small-medium sized band canopy elsewhere downtown. We should demand that it not be run by a Live Nation but rather a good local booking agent who can bring in national acts and highlight regional acts(Deep South need not apply). That is where Raleigh could match the vision of Charlottesville and make a downtown venue that is free or low cost and family friendly.

  • danimal
    06/19 02:25 PM

    not to nitpick, but it’s the ntelos wireless pavilion.  i was there the other night and the branding isn’t really in your face like bud light would be, but it’s still there.

  • Bill M
    06/21 07:23 PM

    Sunbrella Corporate Amphitheater.

  • imagineraleigh
    06/21 09:31 PM

    It seems the people of Raleigh have convinced themselves if they do not attend concerts at this venue then this space will not cash flow. That is not true.

    You can place big sail boats on the concrete floor and call it a boat show. Exhibit tents could be set up and an art show could happen. You could stick a new car or RV within the fenced area….. It is an outdoor trade show hall and concrete is cheap when do not need a roof.

    Who knows, a convention might hire a band and hold a private concert. We could start an outdoor movie series, sell the Banner advertising which would cover the stage when the facility is not in use…  Thousands of cars drive by every day. It is the best billboard space in Raleigh since everyone looks at it as they pass by.

    Put a band on the floor at lunch time during the spring and fall and start a lunch time music series… We have catering, bathrooms and we could swing the R line to bring the people.   

    It is so much more than just a festival site.

  • smitty
    06/21 11:18 PM

    A boat show?  RV’s?  Buddy, I think you may have the wrong website.

  • imagineraleigh
    06/22 01:34 AM

    Why? because I am not whining.

  • plate of beans
    06/22 04:08 PM

    yeah, you need to find reasons it sucks and isn’t perfect as opposed to any positive aspects one could attribute to it….thats how this place works, friend.  Pro-tip:  site an indie band only you and your friends know about and bitch about how no 5,000+ capacity venue will allow them to play.

  • one50y
    02/03 06:01 PM

    FYI, a buddy gave me these part numbers for covers for the Roadman Campers edition:   
    23 Flying Cloud       279zco01    
    27 FB Flying Cloud   687gsv46    
    30 Flying Cloud       994agf31    
    BTW - I bought a nice one for ~$200 from http://rv-parks.blogspot.com before this and it fits pretty well.   
    <a >RV Wheel Covers</a> 

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