McLaren Park’s open air theater faculty, Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, celebrates its 50th birthday on October 16th. But it wasn’t always Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, it was only named in 2005, shortly before this year’s celebration of “Jerry Day” in August. And the theater has traditionally been heavily violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), even after a $ 1 million upgrade attempted to fix it in 2000.
Today we’re cutting the tape at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. The renovation includes ADA access, space for food trucks, and improved lawn seating. This $ 1.5 million improvement brings much-needed infrastructure to the space. pic.twitter.com/iAcY9xWIgk
– Ahsha Safai 安世輝 (@Ahsha_Safai) September 18, 2021
Fast forward to Saturday when these and other concerns were allayed after a $ 1.5 million renovation that was just completed. According to SF Rec and Park, “The scope of this work includes expanding the flat, paved space adjacent to the accessible parking lot to accommodate food trucks and other event services; Demarcating a route for temporary fencing off events; Replacement of furnishings on site; Accessibility improvements; and cosmetic upgrades as well as increased storage capacity in the Greenroom. “
The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, an open air concert in McLaren Park, reopened today after a $ 1.45 million facelift that made it more comfortable and accessible for both artists and audiences. pic.twitter.com/9aub657MGd
– San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (@RecParkSF) September 18, 2021
Mayor London Breed was present at the cutting of the tape on Saturday and she was careful not to wear her mask unless she spoke publicly, which has been the case with all of her recent controversy over the exposure. “I’m very excited to be there for the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater to reopen,” said Breed on Saturday. “This venue has played such an important role in the artistic culture and development of our city, with live performances not just in this neighborhood but all over San Francisco. It’s great to see the amphitheater filled with people enjoying themselves here in the heart of McLaren Park. “
We bask in the splendor of two beautiful personal appearances last weekend! Thank you Redwood City Events and Sequoia High School! The tour continues next weekend in San Francisco at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park! https://t.co/MiWpNYFPds pic.twitter.com/aLiZ2Zyxh8
– San Francisco Shakespeare Festival (@sfshakes) September 13, 2021
In fact, shortly after the ribbon was cut, the venue hosted a performance by Pericles, Prince of Tire! from the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. This performance will continue next weekend, September 24-26, with daily shows at 2pm.
As we discovered in January when the renovations began, it is less a redesign of the amphitheater than the surrounding infrastructure. Gravel paths have been paved for strollers and wheelchair users, the drinking fountains now have dog bowls, and there is more space for food trucks and portable washrooms.
The park is repeatedly described as “underutilized”, despite the fact that the SF Mime Troupe and Noise Pop host annual events there. The park’s bigger problem is that it’s remote and not easily accessible by public transport. Until that’s fixed, the place will struggle to ever hit its 3,200-person capacity unless it’s Jerry Day, which only happens once a year.