Residents enjoy movies and concerts at two-year-old facility
“It’s great to see families with kids walking downtown with blankets and chairs to attend events,” Independence City Council member Marilyn Morton said. 

Situated in Riverview Park on Main Street, the Independence Riverview Park Amphitheater opened in July 2005, and is already a success.

This year the stage will be given its official new name, the “River Celebration Stage,” and the planned addition of a fountain will conclude phase two of the project. They also are looking at adding lighting to the park.

Independence resident Gary Grabow says the project has been well-received; the finished Amphitheater looks great and they’ve chosen good programs for it. 

For the summer of 2007, 15 events are planned: seven movies and eight concerts. The concerts will feature local bands Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts, Molly Bloom, and Amadan. A full listing should be available by April 1. The movie season begins with the Western Days celebration on Fourth of July weekend and ends with the Hop & Heritage Festival in late September. Movies have included classics like “The Wizard of Oz,” “Casablanca,” and “Singing in the Rain,” and family-friendly fare such as “Harry Potter” and “Back to the Future.” Concessions and light meals are provided by local organizations that assist youth, such as the Central High School band. Movies begin at about 9 p.m., just after the sun goes down.

Amphitheatre coordinator Rick Gydesen says that the business community has also stepped up with their cooperation. Ron Smith, owner of the new 2EZ restaurant across the street from the park, has donated new sound equipment. The Green Villa Barn has been offered as a rainy-day location. He also hopes that the amphitheatre can do some cross-promotion with the new Prestige Independence Cinema, which is set to open in March.

The Amphitheater is also proving to be a venue for a wide variety of other events. A Gospel Jubilee and a Humane Society event have had big turnouts. It was recently a bicycle tour stop, and people have even expressed interest in holding weddings there.