Catch up on all the details ahead of Riverfront Park’s first big show

Riverfront Park riverwalk at 10 Cowan St. (Port City Daily/Alexandria Sands Williams)

WILMINGTON –– Wilmington’s $38 million Riverfront Park will open to an audience of 7,200 Friday, the first of a three-night residency as Widespread Panic christens the stage. 

RELATED: ‘We created monsters’: Widespread Panic percussionist talks 35 years building fanbase, playing Riverfront Park this week

Technically, a host of local bands and performers took to the stage first, but this weekend’s show will be the first real test at how the venue will function at max capacity. 

Designed as a park that transforms into a concert venue (requiring thousands of mobile seats that are out of sight outside of events), the space is a big deal for Wilmington.

Right off the bat

First thing’s first: Live Nation won’t accept cash. The city’s management partner announced Wednesday the venue will have contactless payment at all points of sale.

Your phone is your ticket, so be sure to have the Live Nation app downloaded and ready to go before approaching the venue (screenshots and printouts won’t be accepted). 

The venue also has a clear bag policy, so pack light and be mindful of what you bring into the park (because it might just get confiscated for not following Live Nation policy). 

Click here to find out nine things to to know ahead of the park’s opening.

The park’s parking equation

Watching how parking and downtown traffic will play out is of major interest to concertgoers and residents alike, as the venue is about 800 parking spaces short for a 15-minute walk. 

The amphitheater was built with no added parking. Instead, it will rely on attendees to park in one of the city’s existing parking decks. 

Here’s an explanation on how the parking equation adds up: 

It’s still not 100% complete

Despite the fanfare and well-received Fourth of July grand opening, the park isn’t entirely complete. 

The southeast corner of the site, known as the west gardens, is still under construction. 

Wilmington’s contractor, Clancy & Theys, transformed the open Brownfields site into a landmark park that doubles as an amphitheater in 18 months. It went way over budget ($20 million, to be exact) and cut amenities. Still, it’s a monumental feature for the coastal city set to generate an untold economic development value. 

Catch up on how we got here: 

You probably can’t catch a free show from the Riverwalk

Thought you could anchor up for a show? That won’t be a possibility for at least a few years (or maybe ever). 

Catching a free show from the Riverwalk might also prove unlikely, but it depends on how stringent Live Nation and the police’s patrols of the area will be. 

Both plan to survey the Riverwalk and surrounding areas. The Riverwalk will remain open during shows and police will enforce impeding traffic ordinances just as they would any other street or sidewalk. 

Read up on what to expect from the Riverwalk: 

Third time’s a charm

The park officially became Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park on Wednesday. It’s the third name change for the city’s marquee amphitheater (during the planning process, it was called North Waterfront Park; in April, it was renamed Riverfront Park).

No details have been released on the financial nature of the sponsorship.

Take a sneak peak

Haven’t got a chance to check out the new space? The city invited the press for a sneak peak ahead of its grand opening. There are backstage areas, a VIP section, and of course an expansive lawn that will transform into an audience during shows. 

Check out a look inside: 

Stay tuned for show announcements

Check out the lineup announced so far and stay tuned for more.

Have tips or comments? Email

Subscribe now and then sign up for our newsletter, Wilmington Wire, to get the headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email