Plymouth’s outdoor amphitheater will host one its biggest names yet — classic rock band Cheap Trick — on Thursday as the city tries to join the Twin Cities metro area’s leading music venues.
The Hilde Performance Center traditionally has been used for free music and community events, but after a $1.7 million renovation project in 2014, the city hoped to develop it into a music destination. That same year, Plymouth partnered with concert promotions business Sue McLean & Associates, the organizer of the Basilica Block Party music festival and the Music in the Zoo concert series.
“We really hoped to increase our exposure,” said Dave Callister, Plymouth’s city manager. “This place really is a hidden gem.”
The partnership, now in its third year, launched the concert series “Live at the Hilde,” bringing in such names as Big Head Todd and the Monsters and G. Love and Special Sauce. ZZ Ward and Eric Hutchinson are scheduled for July 30.
For Thursday’s Cheap Trick concert, Parks and Recreation Director Diane Evans said she expects between 3,000 and 6,000. General admission tickets are still available online, but McLean said the 350 VIP seats sold out quickly.
Performing since the 1970s, Cheap Trick has received 40 gold and platinum recording awards, according to the band’s website.
“We understand that it’s really the artist who draws ticket buyers,” said Patricia McLean, CEO of Sue McLean & Associates. “We are trying to tap into different audiences and draw fans from a larger area.” That’s the goal — draw people who might never have thought to visit Plymouth. “Once they’ve been there, the message is strong that this is a good venue for music,” she said.
Evans wants to extend that message. The space, behind City Hall, can accommodate about 15,000 people, she said, offering a boost for local businesses.
The city does not receive any of the income from the ticket sales, Callister said, and the Hilde will continue to host free events such as the annual Music in Plymouth.
“We have been seeing attendance numbers [for the concerts] ramping up,” Evans said. “But as with any event, it takes time to grow a reputation.”
The city has been patient, McLean said, as it takes about three to five years to develop a notable concert series. “Music in Plymouth has done very well, but this is a much different model,” McLean said. “It’s a community service still, but in the end, we are looking at [the Hilde] as a great entertainment venue.”