Keeper of the Plans

Massive amphitheater built in Andover to draw music fans to the city

Suddenly Andover has become the spot to host an outdoor concert in the Wichita area.

As far as amphitheaters go, a new one in this Wichita suburb is likely the city's best.

The City of Andover recently completed construction of a roughly $1.6 million amphitheater in Andover Central Park, designed to accommodate the large crowds that attend its traditional summertime concerts in the park.

But it's more than just that.

Andover city leaders are hoping the venue, officially named the Capitol Federal Amphitheater, will become a hot spot for concerts, a whole host of performing arts and even weddings.

"Our intent is to host a myriad of other events," said Andover Mayor Ben Lawrence. "We're hopeful to attract a symphony out here."

The amphitheater has a built-in sound system, enough loading space for multiple tour buses and will have two LED video boards on either side.

The Capitol Federal Amphitheater, which will seat 10,000 people in lawn chairs, is the realization of a longtime city plan, Lawrence said.

"It's always been in the city park's master plan, going back to when they first bought this park," he said. "Then, it was a real small, scaled-down version that sat 600 people, a little bandshell. We kind of took that idea and enlarged it severely."

For the past few years, the city of Andover has hosted a free summertime concert in the park as a way to test the viability of an amphitheater. It's hosted artists like Rick Springfield, Diamond Rio, Little River Band and — last year — Clint Black.

For those concerts, a mobile stage was brought in.

The largest concert in the park attracted over 15,000 people, according to Lawrence.

Last January, the city approved the amphitheater project, after securing a 10-year naming-rights sponsorship from the Topeka-based Capitol Federal Savings Bank. The bank also sponsors a popular concert series at Kansas City's outdoor Starlight Theatre.

It was built entirely with revenue from cell-tower fees, alcohol tax, fireworks tent permits and hotel tax dollars, according to a city staffer.

Along with the new amphitheater, the city is also expanding its concert lineup.

There will be four official concerts at the amphitheater this year — one every month from May to August.

A change: Two of those concerts will require a paid ticket, while two will remain free. Tickets will range from $10 to $100 for VIP seating, which includes a catered dinner and access to a cash bar.

The public will always have access to the amphitheater in the park, though it can be rented out for private events.

Here's the lineup for the 2018 concert series so far (an August concert has not yet been announced):

  • May 26, Clay Walker with John Anderson
  • June 16, The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
  • July 21, Terri Clark with Little Texas

An official ribbon-cutting at the amphitheater is set for 5 p.m. April 26, featuring performances by both the Andover and Andover Central bands as well as the Butler Community College Headliners show choir.

The park is at 1607 E. Central in Andover.

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