With the first concert this week, America's Cup organizers provided a sneak preview of a temporary 9,000-person waterfront venue in San Francisco that will hold more than a dozen concerts over the next several months.
The America's Cup Pavilion, located at Piers 27-29 along The Embarcadero, holds its first concert on Friday, when the act Imagine Dragons takes the stage.
Sting then plays there on Sunday, with the Steve Miller Band, Weezer, Train, the San Francisco Symphony, Counting Crows and The Wallflowers among the other groups scheduled between this week and October.
The concerts are meant to coincide with the start of the America's Cup sailing races, which start in July with the Louis Vuitton Cup and end in September with the America's Cup Finals. "The Super Bowl has a halftime show, the Olympics have the Cultural Olympiad, and the America's Cup will have its concert series," said Stephen Barclay, CEO of the America's Cup Event Authority.
Along with the concert series, the venue will also be used to show the races out in the Bay for free throughout the coming months. Aaron Siuda, vice president of Live Nation Northern California, which is partnering with the America's Cup on the concert series, said crews spent the past two months constructing the venue, including putting artificial grass and other final decorations up in the past few days.
"It's San Francisco's first-ever outdoor waterfront amphitheater," Siuda said. "It's a wonderful venue." He said event organizers have reached out to the surrounding neighborhoods to address their concerns over sound and traffic issues related to the concerts.
An acoustic curtain has been placed around the stage to reduce noise and a community hotline -- (415) 393-9680 -- has been set up to handle complaints from the community.
In addition, ticketholders will receive an email alerting them of nearby parking garages and ways to access the America's Cup Pavilion by public transit, Siuda said.
Following the concert series, the venue will then be dismantled and Piers 27-29 will become a cruise ship terminal, which has already been constructed as part of the agreement between race organizers and the city.
The neighborhood group Telegraph Hill Dwellers had considered appealing the approval of a permit issued by the city's Entertainment Commission for the America's Cup Pavilion but relented after negotiating with event organizers, group president Jon Golinger said. Golinger said he was satisfied by the plans drawn up for the event, which he said also include special San Francisco Municipal Railway lines between downtown and Piers 27-29.
"All fingers are crossed for a problem-free event," he said. "It looks good on paper, so we'll see if it translates to real life."
Meanwhile, America's Cup teams have begun to practice again following the death earlier this month of Andrew Simpson, a member of Sweden-based Artemis Racing, during a training run capsizing. Barclay said as of now, all four teams scheduled to compete in the regatta are still set to go, although Artemis Racing is still considering whether to go forward with the races. One of the team's boats was heavily damaged in the May 9 capsizing, while a memorial is scheduled for this Friday in the U.K. for the British native Simpson.
"They're the only ones that can decide that," he said. "We're going to give them all the time they need." He said, "It's still pretty raw ... but it's good to see boats sailing out on the Bay and it's good to look forward to the competition."
More information about the concert series and races can be found online at www.americascup.com.