Carrie Rengers

First Wave of the new downtown concert venue is set to open with a show Sept. 1

Earlier this week, Gina Stansbury told her husband she wants tickets to see the Toadies when the '90s alternative band comes to Wichita on Sept. 1.

Ken Stansbury of 3R-Mechanical replied, "Well cool, I'll take you. Where they playing?"

He learned the show is at Wave, the new indoor-outdoor concert venue under construction near the northeast corner of Second and St. Francis.

"I said, 'Really? I just plumbed the whole thing.' "

Stansbury then mentioned to Wave construction Superintendent Kyle Pinkley that he had tickets to the Toadies. Pinkley, too, asked where the concert would be, only to learn it was at the place he's responsible for building.

"And he's like, 'Whoa,' " Stansbury says. "Kind of took his breath away. I said, 'Yeah, that's coming up fast.' "

He added, "Better get out there. Don't cancel my show."

Promoter Adam Hartke says there's no danger of that even though the site may look like it won't be ready to host a show in seven weeks.

"Right now we're dropping all the . . . shipping containers and getting all the infrastructure ready for the outdoor portion," he says.

Concrete has been poured for the outdoor stage on the north end of the development and for the indoor stage on the south end, though that won't be ready to open until about a month after the outdoor venue opens.

In addition to the outdoor stage being ready by Sept. 1, shipping containers will be in place to house a green room, outdoor bars and storage areas. There will be space for food trucks as well.

By late September, a box office, an indoor 20-tap beer garden and bathrooms will be ready along with the indoor stage.

"For these first shows, it's not going to be the full amenities," Hartke says.

"We had planned to do it this way," he says. The outside will "be ready, and there's shows going on so we thought we would just start having shows."

Outside has a 3,300-person capacity. Inside, there will be room for 500.

The Toadies are the only announced act so far. There are a handful of others that are confirmed, though not announced yet, or are in the works.

"People are excited about the Toadies," Hartke says.

"There's good energy around the venue," he says. "People are very excited about the project as a whole."

In April, Have You Heard? reported that Hartke, Key Construction President Dave Wells, Old Town developer Dave Burk, developer Jerry Jones and physician Pat Do along with a silent investor were starting Wave, which is named in part for sound and light waves since multicolored projections feature prominently in its design.

Hartke says Wave should offer Wichita a chance at some shows that it may otherwise not attract, such as larger outdoor concerts.

He and his friends have some of the other major concert venues in town, such as the Cotillion and Barleycorn's, so there's been a positive reaction about the addition of another venue.

"Wichita's a pretty close-knit community in that world," Hartke says. "Everybody's . . . pretty excited about it and likes the opportunity."

He doesn't see any issue with everything being ready by Sept. 1.

"So far it's been pretty smooth," Hartke says, adding with a laugh, "Kyle would probably say different. No, I'm kidding. . . . He's a good guy. He's on it."

Stansbury says his wife has informed him she'll hold him personally responsible if Wave is not ready to open and the Toadies can't take the stage.

He says the show will go on as scheduled.

"It's going to be a good one, man."

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.
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