SPIRE Merriweather Group Overlook

10980 Grantchester Way, Columbia, MD 21044

Date and Time

Tuesday, June 26 2018 - 6 PM

Event Details

SPIRE members and guests enjoyed a tour of the newly-renovated historic concert venue Merriweather Post Pavilion. Mark Thompson ('84), Vice President of Business Development, Howard County Economic Development Authority and Ian Kennedy, Executive Director, Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, provided SPIRE members with a back-stage tour of areas typically reserved for performers only.

Each summer since 1967, Merriweather has played host to the biggest acts in performing arts, music, and entertainment, attracting hundreds of thousands of guests to enjoy performances under the stars. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the pavilion’s signature roof and wooded setting have made this fan- and performer-favorite an iconic example of the “shed” style amphitheater. It is consistently ranked as one of the best outdoor performance venues in the country.

However, the pavilion had not undergone any major renovations since its construction in 1967. The Downtown Columbia Master Plan of 2010 called for a multi-phase renovation and modernization to ensure the pavilion’s viability for the next five decades. The five-year, $55 million overhaul renovated everything from the stage to the seating bowl. According to Merriweather's vice president Jack Canfield, the improvements include “the best lawn system that money can buy, and all these new high-tech, green buildings and super-efficient ways of doing things. It’s a rare combination of a place that still has charm and beauty and history, but now will be very state-of-the-art.” Improvements include an expansive backstage area which now includes offices, a conference room and a multipurpose room with a balcony that overlooks an Artists’ Lounge, complete with an outdoor pool and deck area.

Afterwards, attendees enjoyed dinner at 18th & 21st a brand new restaurant within walking distance of the pavilion.