Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater COMPLETED

We’ve been watching the progress and anxiously awaiting the finished product for months, and the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater officially received it’s Certificate of Occupancy last Friday. Having lunch at Pier Park Wednesday, I overheard them sound testing and stopped by to check it out.

Once I got there, I found Pro Tech (the sound and lighting masterminds behind the PCB Seafood Fest and many of the other events you’ve spectated in our area) with speakers hung, lighting in the progress of being hung, all to test the new infrastructure and play with the setup.  They were rocking out to AC/DC and Mario Gisbert (the new City Manager) and other local officials with the City of Panama City Beach were there to witness the tests.

The concept renderings of the building were pretty, but the finished building is really a spectacle to behold.  The colors are vibrant and the style closely matches the motif Pier Park set precedent for years earlier and the architectural features are clean and beautiful.  It was fun walking through it as it felt like that new shiny car that you’re test driving for the very first time.

They said the first scheduled event is in April for the Seabreeze Jazz Festival and they tentatively have the Panama City POPs scheduled for a performance there later in the spring.

Here is a breakdown of all the features of this new amphitheater.

Here are other posts related to the Pier Park Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater.



From this view, you can see the paved driveway that will allow access for performer’s vehicles and loading trucks.


IMG_7662_3_4_fusedwtmkThis is from the back of the stage looking out, to the north and slightly to the east.  The covered stage area is very large, much larger than some of the pop-up stages that we’ve seen here in the past.



This is obviously from the front-west side.  The white panel you see is a place for a projector to project video of performances.  Behind that panel is the dressing rooms and admin office.


This is looking at the opposite side of the amphitheater.  The white panel here is the same as the other side and there is a large loading area perfect for anything up to a semi-truck trailer to unload.



This view shows the back of the structure.  You can see how polished everything is.  That large green area in the middle are those huge hangar doors that open up completely and allow the Seabreeze come through.



Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater Structure is UP

In this third and final installment of construction updates in the Pier Park general area in Panama City Beach, the Aaron Bessant Park amphitheater has raised its hand and remarked that its structure is up and the roof is in place. Having been under construction for just a short period, you can actually see the final product as its come up from the ashes of the previous structure commonly referred to as “The Claw.”

For a recount of all the features this new amphitheater will have, click here.


In this shot you can see the entire front front of the new Aaron Bessant Park amphitheater.  If you’re down here, I highly recommend walking over to check it out in person.  It’s really quite large and very exciting!

This shot was taken from the back right (southwest) of the building.  Behind those already-colored walls will be the dressing rooms and admin office.  The large opening in the center under the peak of the roof structure will be where the hangar doors are that will be able to be opened.

This is a closer look at the large opening directly behind the stage.  For scale, you can see the man in the middle by the boards leaning on the scaffolding.  I’d assume he’s an average height.  The structure really is quite tall.

This shot is from the southeast side of the building.  The large opening in the middle of the shot on the easterly facing wall is where the tractor trailers could pull up and load/unload.

This gives you a better view of the loading/unloading area.

This is the new restroom facility behind the existing facility

This is a shot from the very back of the venue grounds.  Directly behind me and to the right is the bathroom facilities.  You can see from this shot that this will be a very sweet and grandly improved venue.  So exciting!!!

Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater Construction Update

Very few things excite me as much as new construction in Panama City Beach.  You know I love dreaming of the future and any sort of growth is a sign of prosperity and success.  The improvements happening at Aaron Bessant Park are really beginning to take shape.  So far the construction of the new amphitheater is giving it some shape and the new restroom facilities are coming out of the ground.  They’ve also began grading the field preparing for the soccer fields.

As you roll through the pictures of the construction update, you can reference the layout schematics to get some bearing on what is where.

Amphitheater schematics

On the west side of the amphitheater there will be the dressing room area.  This will provide an area for the performers to prepare and rest.  There are actually two separate dressing rooms, each with their own full bathroom and a green room. In addition, on that side of the amphitheater there is an administrative office for support staff and secured storage.

On the east side of the amphitheater is the loading and storage area.  There is an opening that is large enough and at the right height for a semi truck trailer to pull right up and off load equipment.  In addition, there is a large amount of storage area.

Construction update photos

Taken from the east side (facing west), this shot looks at the side of the structure.  To the right in this image would be the audience.

This is a closer shot of the east side of the structure.  The larger opening in the middle will be the garage bay door where performers will be able to pull their trailer up to for loading and unloading.  Immediately behind that wall will be storage.

This is taken from the front of the structure with the audience placement behind me.  This shows the right or west side of the building and the stage area.

This is again, the west side of the structure.

New Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater Construction Begins

We’ve been quiet around these parts and figured we owed you an update on the improvements that are happening at Aaron Bessant Park.  I had a quick chat with Mario Gisbert, the newly appointed City Manager, yesterday and he presented me with all the enhancements coming up.  And let me tell you, it looks fantastic.

The ground breaking ceremony was a few weeks back and they’ve already made some good progress, despite all the rain.  The projected “contractual” completion date is on December 13th with final completion to be 1 month after that.

Amphitheater acoustics design

The improvements of the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater is something that has been quite a hot topic. Workshops and public meetings have been a instrumental in hearing the public’s opinion and residents have come out in droves in support and opposition to the improvements.  Some of those against the new amphitheater have had concerns with crowding and sound and those for it think it will be a huge draw for the area for performers and tourists to spectate.

Read all our articles on the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater here.

One of the clear concerns of the public was acoustical insulation in order to keep the sound where it is wanted and away from where it is not. The entire design is centered around this concern.

Every surface on the interior of the structure will be lined with acoustical insulation material that is protected by a wavy, perforated metal material that will help with sound absorption and a protector to the insulation material.  Furthermore, the speakers will be oriented in a way for maximum sound isolation, so that they won’t project outside the event boundaries.  But this isn’t to say you won’t see some sound fragments lingering in areas outside the event, but the sound levels will be within the acceptable and approved ordinance levels.

Design and layout of the amphitheater

The architectural design has evolved quite a bit since our last discussion.  Originally it looked like a literal transplant of the Pier Park style and feel, towers and all.  But with public opinion weighted in and acoustical analysis considered, the design has taken on more individualistic characteristics.  However, it still feels consistent with the area and beachy design direction.

Some of the things I find cool is the thoughtfulness of the layout with respect to the performers.  The object of the new amphitheater is two fold: 1) a better user experience for the spectator, 2) a solid infrastructure for the performer to come in and have minimal setup.

For the performer, all they need to do is pull their tractor trailer up to the built-in loading dock (behind the screen to the east) and unload.  They can hand their lights and speakers from the already installed support system, hook right into the power and they’re good to go.  There are secured and lockable areas on either side of the stage to store equipment overnight (think weekend festivals) and the entire back side of the stage opens up with huge airplane hangar doors to add an additional loading area or to air the facility out.

The stage is 60’x40′ with an 8′ thrust out front increasing the stage area considerably.  The overhang of the roof structure is about 12 feet.

New soccer fields, parking

Concurrent with the development of the new amphitheater is the development of 3 new soccer fields in the current sand field behind the park.  In addition to soccer fields, this area will double as parking for larger events.  The field will be leveled with a layer of clay added to the top, then compacted soil and traffic resistant grass, just like Frank Brown Park’s festival area is now.

Pictures and building design plans

In this shot you can see what the new Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater will look like from the front.  On either side of the stage, the white areas will serve as screens for performers to be projected for the audience. Just above those panels will be supports to hang jumbotrons or some other video screen if the provided screens aren’t what they’re looking for.

To the right, in the structure behind that screen panel, will be the dressing room area.  This will provide an area for the performers to prepare and rest.  There are actually two separate dressing rooms, each with their own full bathroom and a green room. In addition, on that side of the amphitheater there is an administrative office for support staff and secured storage.

To the left, in the structure behind that screen panel, is the loading and storage area.  There is an opening that is large enough and at the right height for a semi truck trailer to pull right up and off load equipment.  In addition, there is a large amount of storage area.

If you’re standing in front of the stage, looking towards the structure, the wall on the back side of the stage are actually airplane hangar doors that completely open.  On this back side of the structure, the height is perfect for backing up a panel or pickup truck for loading and unloading.