Live Nation Entertainment has announced it will make upgrades to the Jones Beach Theater complex, the popular Long Island, New York, concert venue abutting the Atlantic Ocean that has hosted a diverse and crowd-pleasing crop of musical talent over the decades including James Taylor, Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffett, and One Direction. Among the planned improvements are a reimagined entrance into the park, new seating within the theater, and a number of coastal resilience strategies designed to protect the facility against the consequences of climate change.
The seasonal entertainment and music complex opened in 1952 as the Jones Beach Marine Theater and today is formally known as Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. Designed by urban planner and public official Robert Moses, who also provided the design for the surrounding 2,400-acre Jones Beach State Park, the venue comprises a circular stadium with the stage platform constructed in the water and its amphitheater-like seating arrangement facing it from the shoreline. As for its name, the theater has a long history of name sponsorships, which began in 2002 when Tommy Hilfiger purchased the naming rights and the venue was christened as Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theater. That deal ended in 2006 when Nikon secured naming rights. Nikon’s contract expired in 2017 and Northwell Health, a local healthcare network system, purchased the naming rights titling it what it is today.
“New Yorkers have visited the historic Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater for years to see their favorite artists perform, and this investment will fund critical improvements to this iconic venue,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “Thanks to this partnership between New York State and Live Nation Entertainment, we will create an even better experience for concert-goers and ensure that this theater remains a premier concert venue for years to come.”
The planned renovation work to the theater, its concourses, and plazas focus on the customer experience and is estimated to take five years. This isn’t the first time the water adjacent theater has undergone a renovation. In the 1990s, its seating capacity was increased on two occasions, from its original 8,200 seats up to 11,000 and then again to its current 14,500. A $20 million renovation in 2012 followed major damage to the theater from Superstorm Sandy, which flooded the structure, primarily its lower seating tiers. Just this past summer, a 31.6-foot-wide video screen was erected to provide attendees with a more immersive experience, bus service to the venue from around Nassau County was improved, and waste management around the site was reevaluated, eliminating the use of plastic straws, providing water refill, and starting a compost and zero waste programs.
Designing a more resilient and and sustainable venue continues to be a priority in this latest round of renovations. Among these upgrades is the construction of seawalls to safeguard the theater from high tide and rising sea levels, as well as new energy-efficient LED lighting and solar-powered street lighting.
Other updates to the Jones Beach Theater will include a series of new entrance gates under a canopy roof structure and the construction of a spacious new plaza where food vendors can set up shop and where concertgoers can relax on benches and other seating options. Similarly, upgrades will be made to the existing concourse and plazas to add more dining options. All of the bathrooms will be modernized and the number of bathroom facilities on site will be increased by 20 percent.
“Our plans for the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater will add even more modern conveniences that fans enjoy while staying true to the character of this historic venue,” explained Tom See, chief operating officer of Live Nation’s Venue Nation. “We look forward to sharing the first phase of improvements with our fans next summer and will continue to create an impact for years to come.”
Live Nation will fund the planned renovations; exactly how much the work will cost was not disclosed by the entertainment company or the state. Live Nation Entertainment has a 20-year contract with New York State Parks, which manages the 6.5-mile-long Jones Beach, including its namesake park and facilities. The project is estimated to take five years and will be phased with the first round of work estimated to complete prior to next summer.