Ontario High School

Saving the ‘Meadows’

Orange County is set to lose one of its greatest landmarks next fall.

The Irvine Meadows Amphitheater is going to be torn down in order to make room for new community apartments.

Formerly known as the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine Meadows was Orange County’s largest venue when it opened in 1981.

Thousands have enjoyed concerts from all types of artists. Musicians and performers such as Michael Jackson, The Grateful Dead, Kiss, Fall Out Boy, Santana, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Weezer and Drake have all taken the stage.

Yearly events are also held at the amphitheater like “KROQ Weenie Roast”: a collection of alternative artists and bands.

Head of the English department at Ontario High School, and regular concert go-er Mr. McConnell says that he saw his very first concert at the historic amphitheater.

“I saw Bon Jovi with Skid Row, it was so awesome,” he said.

People opposed to the amphitheater’s closing started to call attention to the issue by having regular concert goers sign a petition at the venue, with the goal of taking it to the city and preserving the amphitheater.

Their efforts, however, were to no avail.

“SaveLiveMusicIrvine” said, “Unfortunately, the lease is up on the land, so the mission is to find a new home for another venue here in Irvine.”

“I love that place, I’m sad it’s closing, it was a great concert venue, and I think it kinda sucks that they built houses around it, and when people complain about noise it’s the stadium that has to go. The stadium was there first,” said McConnell. “I think a lot of young people are missing out on a great place to go see shows.”

Despite the legacy of the venue, Mr. McConnell understands that the petition was unsuccessful.

“Housing concerns are probably valid, noise lowers property value, money talks, and music has to walk unfortunately,” he added.

The Irvine Meadows Amphitheater will be closed and new apartments will be built in place of it. The legacy that varying artists have left there will always be a part of the property’s history.