SAN ANGELO, TX — City of San Angelo Civic Events Director Sid Walker will tell the City Council Tuesday morning that renovating the Bill Aylor Sr. Memorial RiverStage will benefit the community.
The outdoor arena hasn't been enhanced much since 1987 when it was built. The venue has been the location of the infamous Blaine's Picnics in the 2000s until the city council outlawed BYOB events at city-owned facilities. The picnics proved that large concerts could be profitable in San Angelo but it consumed nearly a decade of fits and starts until the venue was popping again. That was when Cody Johnson performed at the RiverStage in 2016 and sold it out. Since then, the venue has been a favorite of the Texas Country Music genre. Wild West Fest is held every summer at the River Stage.
Walker believes that the renovations will increase the number of events held each year at the River Stage. A common complaint is that the stage remains vacant for most weekends of the year. The Covid shutdowns didn't help, but Walker has identified several "must-haves" from years of experience working with concert promoters.
His ideas: The promoter needs a production office. The larger bands and music artists want a larger green room. City staff needs more storage for tables, chairs, and additional stage assets.
The plan calls for a second entrance to the RiverStage to be constructed from the walkway on the west side of the Municipal Pool. The entrance will face Avenue A. The plans will double the size of the existing ticket booth at the existing entrance. Additional permanent restrooms and concessions buildings are also planned.
The concrete slab area immediately in front of the stage could get a canopy. The shade will combat the summer heat and on rainy days smaller events can continue to be held with such a canopy.
Said Walker, "This will also benefit the customers that do come to the River Stage for events to give them better access to concessions and restrooms for events."
The challenge for Walker is that while he has a plan, the City has yet to reveal a funding source. Tomorrow's presentation is a start. Walker's plan divides the renovations into two years. In the graphic below, green depicts year one changes and yellow is for year two improvements.