Lamenting the lack of a good mid-sized to large outdoor amphitheater

I went to see Kenny Rogers and the Oak Ridge Boys at the state fair grandstand, and got to thinking about outdoor music venues in the Twin Cities. We don’t have a medium to large sized outdoor music venue in the metro area proper (Float Rite Park is the closest we get, but that’s in rural Wisconsin, and lacks features of amphitheaters in other areas, like a roof for the seating area). Many metro areas our size and larger have outdoor music amphitheaters seating 15,000 to 40,000 people.

There was lots of talk about the Black Dog area of Burnsville being used for this purpose, but that doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere. Other proposals by the Minnesota Orchestra to build an amphitheater in Brooklyn Center never went anywhere either – and that would have been similar in size to the Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater – which has a smaller capacity of about 14,000 and caters to more family friendly oriented acts.

I had never been to the state fair grandstand before last night. I’m surprised that more concerts are not held there during the non-state fair time. The renovations that were done there in the last few years turn it into an acceptable alternative to a music amphitheater, though it only seats 19,000. It seems like they could attract shows there during the rest of the summer when the fair is not going on.

It would still be nice to get a larger sized amphitheater for shows which can attract a bigger audience. Many outdoor summer tours skip Minneapolis or play indoors as a result.

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