Attracting talent and tourists: Riverfront Amphitheater brings more customers downtown

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Downtown Wilmington is alive and thriving, as thousands of folks celebrated the stars and stripes at the Riverfront Amphitheater’s inaugural concert.

“This is the first holiday that we’ve really felt some sense of normalcy coming out of the pandemic,” said Front Street Brewery’s Ellie Craig. “The numbers we’ve seen downtown were absolutely amazing yesterday. The opening of Riverfront Park was so exciting for so many local businesses and craft breweries.”

Visitors flooded nearby restaurants, shops, and bars like Pour Taproom.

“Oh absolutely, I’m so excited to finally have it open,” the taproom’s owner, Brian Ballard.  “Getting some more people downtown… everyone’s talking about it. It’s just a great thing to have downtown.”

Though some portions of the park are still under construction, many business owners are already looking to the future, starting with the band Widespread Panic playing in less than two weeks.

“Especially with concerts going on at night, I think it gives people to come down early, go out to eat, relax do a little shopping, and then go see some live music,” Abigail Ashe, the co-owner of Lure explained excitedly. “You can’t really go wrong with it.”

Sunday, Craig walked more than ten miles between Front Street Brewery and the concert venue, just to meet its beer demand.

According to Craig, “The Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance actually took care of all the beer at the event yesterday. And it was really wonderful to have local bands, local breweries, local food trucks. It really was Wilmington. It was a sense of community.”

The Riverfront Amphitheater will host Widespread Panic and Grizmas the month of July, with more big name bands and comedians to come.

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