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Sandy Journal

Sandy Amphitheater receives funds for facility improvements

Feb 06, 2023 12:18PM ● By Sarah Morton Taggart

As many as 3,000 people, including volunteers and staff, will use the facilities during a sold-out show at the Sandy Amphitheater. (Photo courtesy Elyse George)

Patrons of the arts are used to seeing long lines leading to the ladies room during intermission, but at the Sandy Amphitheater the opposite has been true. 

“There were twice as many women’s stalls when the amphitheater was first built,” said Elyse George, who manages marketing and development for the outdoor performance venue located at 440 E. 8680 South. “That was great for many, many years, but in 2019 the men’s lines started getting longer.”

George believes a few different factors may have contributed to the change, including longer shows—as long as five hours for headliner with two openers—and higher temperatures that lead patrons to consume more liquids. Whatever the cause, it was clear that improvements were needed. 

In December, the Tourism, Recreation, Culture & Convention Support Program (TRCC) granted nearly one million dollars to Sandy City. Specifically, the amphitheater received $460,000 to improve guest services, Parks and Recreation received $47,000 to update its master plan for community parks and trails, and the Alta Canyon Sports Center received $494,000 to create a conceptual design for a rebuilt community recreation center.

The TRCC grant program uses funds from tax collected to support cultural and economic growth. Projects must have a tourism, recreational, cultural or convention purpose that serves the residents within Salt Lake County. Eligible organizations can apply for funds for consulting, tourism or capital expenses. 

“With the expanded bathrooms and concessions, the goal is to reduce lines and reduce waiting, to make it more convenient, so you spend less time in line and more time enjoying the concert,” said Mearle Marsh, executive director of the Sandy Amphitheater.  

Improvements for the 2023 season will include reconfiguring the restroom area to add five additional urinals to the men’s room and installing two additional water refill stations.

“We had received feedback from people about the water refill station,” George said. “Going from one to three is going to be significant. We don’t want people to have to buy water, but we also don’t want them having to spend the whole concert waiting to refill water bottles. The line can sometimes be longer than the line for concessions.”

The venue will also soon complete construction on additional backstage facilities for the performers and crew members.

“Often the crews would shower after the stars left, which meant late nights for our staff,” George said. “More showers and restroom stalls will also help us host bigger tours.”

The amphitheater was shuttered in 2020 but reopened with 15 concerts in 2021. The venue aims to host 35 events in 2023, maintaining a revenue of at least 150% of production costs.

The 2024 season will see even more improvements for patrons, including an expanded east plaza and a new concessions area. 

“The mayor’s support in making this happen was fantastic,” Marsh said. “It was a big team effort and we’re really grateful for all the support we’ve received from the administration.”

Sandy Mayor Monica Zoltanski could often be found at the amphitheater in 2022—enjoying the music, chatting with volunteers during intermission, and even serving as the narrator for the American West Symphony’s performance of “Peter and the Wolf” in July.

“Access to quality entertainment, recreation and open space is a hallmark of excellence in Sandy City and what attracts our many visitors,” said Zoltanski in a press release. “Support and collaboration with Salt Lake County will assist Sandy City in enhancing these services and strengthen our local economy.”

“I’m really proud of my team and the great work that they do,” Marsh said. “Everybody’s working hard to make sure it’s the best experience it can be at the Sandy Amphitheater.”