BANGOR, Maine — Modern rock band Hinder and rock legends Motley Crue take the stage Thursday at the new multimillion-dollar Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion that is designed to give both artists and concertgoers a better experience, while also redirecting the noise.
“It’s an absolutely different experience,” Alex Gray, promoter for Bangor’s Waterfront Concerts, said Friday while giving a tour of the facility that has been in the works since the last waterfront concert in the fall.
“The venue has been spun 110-degrees towards the east,” he explained. “The venue now points towards the downtown district. Instead of being a city park with a stage, they now have an amphitheater.”
There is a 4 percent grade in the front seating area and an 8 percent grade in the general admission or lawn area, Gray said.
“It’s close to 20 feet [higher in the back],” he said. “There are some lawn seats that, in my opinion, are some of the best seats in the house.”
The seating area is longer and more narrow than the previous site, and eliminates wasted space, Gray said. Most concertgoers will not see the area behind the stage for artists that features six dressing rooms and eventually will have a gathering area and fire pit, he said.
It took 16 tractor-trailers to deliver the 126-foot stage, which can hold more than 200,000 pounds and has the ability to be modified and handle huge video screens that artists such as Phish like to use, Gray said. The stage is ready, he said, but they are still waiting for a couple wind and weather shields for the back.
A lot of people have asked why they didn’t add permanent seating, he said.
“We don’t want permanent seating,” Gray said. “We have to be a bit of a chameleon.”
Seating is wanted at shows like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Gray said, but other artists, such as Phish, like all general admission so people can dance.
“With Miranda Lambert, it’s GA with a big thrust off the front to [interact] with fans,” he said.
With the new facility, “We can give them just about everything they want,” Gray said, referring to the artists.
The painting of the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge may tie up out-of-town drivers on Summer Street who don’t realize the Chamberlain Bridge is closed to traffic heading to Brewer and for — for the next couple weeks — those driving north under the bridge, Dana Wardwell, Bangor’s public works director, said Friday.
“They have two or three more weeks of work [painting] under the Chamberlain Bridge,” he said.
When the work is finished, Summer Street will reopen. Until then, traffic is being rerouted to May and Broad streets to connect with downtown and Washington Street and the Penobscot Bridge to Brewer.
“The Chamberlain Bridge will be closed to traffic going to Brewer basically all summer,” Wardwell said. Drivers heading to Bangor will be able to use the bridge.
Rerouted traffic is the least of Gray’s worries, he said.
The first thing people entering the concert area will notice is that there is one main gate located on Railroad Street, near the railroad crossing.
Additional VIP parking has been added, and Railroad Street, up to the corner of Summer Street, should remain open, Gray said.
Those with tickets will filter through the concession area, which ends near a new structure — the first of three permanent beer huts that feature wine and 12 taps that offer six different brands of beer.
“It all flows directly to the stage,” Gray said.
Another thing people will notice is that the sidewalk, from the front of the stage to Railroad Street, will be blocked and fenced, at the request of Bangor Police Department.
“Bangor PD didn’t want people on the sidewalks,” Gray said. “They were afraid someone would step back into traffic.”
For larger shows where more than 10,000 people are expected, a second gate that is located across the street from Dunkin’ Donuts will be opened.
The renovations cost “millions,” Gray said, and the city pitched in about $700,000. The permanent structures now also mean that the city will get tax dollars for the investment.
Permanent bathrooms and a back entrance are next on the list of things to do to improve the facility, the waterfront concert promoter said.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he said.
There are currently 17 acts or shows already in this year’s lineup, and “There are two acts to be announced,” Gray teased on Friday.
The list of waterfront concerts for 2013 include:
May 16, 7:30 p.m., Motley Crue and Hinder
June 20, 7:30 p.m., Sting, Back to Bass
June 22, noon, Bangor’s Beer Festival — Tap Into Summer
July 3, 7:30 p.m., Phish
July 12, 4:30 p.m. New England Fights Presents: “Nations Collide: Canadian Invasion.”
July 21, 6:30 p.m. Last Summer On Earth: Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five and Guster
July 23, 5:30 p.m. America’s Most Wanted Festival 2013 starring Lil’ Wayne, with T.I., Tyga
July 24, 7 p.m. Summer Break Tour: Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice, with Jackson Guthy, Olivia Somerlyn
Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m., Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy
Sept. 2, 7 p.m. Toby Keith with Kip Moore
Sept. 14, 6 p.m. Soulquest 2013: Featuring Casting Crowns, with Kutless