Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Green Concerts

By Maggie Wehri on June 11, 2014

The Riverbend Music Center has seen a 10% increase in lawn ticket sales since installing a recycled synthetic turf at the amphitheater in 2012.
The recycled turf at the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati. Photo via
Hoping to bring the hottest touring summer concerts to the city of Cincinnati, the Riverbend Music Center provides a beautiful amphitheater setting on the banks of the Ohio River for attendees to catch the hottest touring acts. With the Riverbend’s installation of recycled artificial grass in 2012, the amphitheater will continue its commitment to spectators for many more years to come.

The Riverbend Music Center opened July 4, 1984, with a cost of approximately $9 million and a seating capacity of 20,500. With an upcoming summer schedule of big-name performers like Jimmy Buffet, Keith Urban, Dave Matthews Band, OneRepublic and other globe-trotting artists, the Riverbend Music Center has become a Midwestern fixture on every top-flight summer tour itinerary.

To ensure this tradition continues while reducing the amphitheater’s carbon footprint, Riverbend appointed a new recycled synthetic turf across its grounds — the world’s first of its size. Installed over the course of 10 weeks with the late donor Patricia Corbett’s funds, Riverbend was able to pay for the state-the-art technology covering 2.75 acres for a cost of $750,000.

With this recycled turf, Riverbend will save more than $90,000 annually on fertilizers, pesticides, weed killers, gas-powered lawn mowers and water fees. Beyond the environmental and financial benefits, the new lawn will only amp up the fun for people who like to sit, stand or dance on this 120,000 square feet of nonflammable plastic turf.

The system installed is equipped with a top layer made up of densely packed 2-inch blades of nonflammable plastic grass, a height shorter than a typical lawn trim. The lawn’s makeup is similar to carpet, which is sewn together and anchored by evenly spaced spikes.

Unlike earlier models of artificial turf, this synthetic grass is completely made of recyclable materials. Because the turf can get a little too hot in the summer heat, Riverbend installed a mist system to keep the turf cool.

The amphitheater hopes to act as a model for other amphitheaters around the world to think more critically about installing system like its own. Since installation, there has been a 10% increase in ticket sales on the lawn, which is estimated to have a lifespan of about 10 years. Riverbend considers this to be not only a great business decision, but also a chance to make an sustainable decision that offers comfort for many concert fans to enjoy.
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