June 2012: Outdoor Music Venues


Welcome to summer and our June newsletter. This month we’ll be discussing an appropriate topic for the season – outdoor music venues. Two that Metropolitan Acoustics helped design stand out – The Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks (Bethlehem, PA) and Sea Isle City Excursion Park Band Shell (Sea Isle City, NJ). Read on to learn more about these fabulous venues.

Levitt Pavilion is a stunning structure with a sculpturally angular shape graced by the spectacular backdrop of Bethlehem Steel’s iconic blast furnaces (the steel plant closed in 1995). Lawn seating provides a gathering space for 2500 people to enjoy free music and performing arts under the stars. WRT, the architects for the project, engaged Metropolitan Acoustics to design the acoustics of the Pavilion as well as the lighting and rigging.

The acoustics had to be designed to accommodate not only amplified bands, but also orchestras. The rear wall of the pavilion was slated to be a hard surface for visual purposes, so we angled the wall backwards so that stage monitors did not reflect off of it directly back to the performers. The reflections from the rear wall are directed to the underside of the Pavilion roof, which is a highly absorptive acoustic deck. This was done to avoid a double reflection. The end result is a stage that performs exceptionally well for both amplified and non-amplified groups.

Sea Isle City Excursion Park is located next to the boardwalk and 50 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. Metropolitan Acoustics worked with Blane Steinman Architects to design the acoustics, performance sound system, and video display system for the Band Shell. This venue hosts live bands, DJ’s, video presentations and weekly movie nights for over 150 people in permanent seating, plus a lawn area for several hundred more attendees.

The Band Shell’s proximity to the ocean presented the Metropolitan Acoustics’ team with certain obstacles. Being located near the water means weather, wind, ocean noise, salt water and humidity have a huge impact on the design. Any materials and systems chosen must be able to hold up to the New Jersey Shore weather.

The acoustics of the Band Shell were designed with angled walls and floating ceiling clouds made out of Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester (FRP), which will not degrade in the environment. The rear wall of the Shell is absorptive to minimize reflections from the stage monitors back to the performers. The material we used is perforated FRP backed with 2″ thick canvas-wrapped, exterior-grade acoustic panels. For the sound system, we selected digitally steerable line array loudspeakers by Renkus-Heinz. Two weather-resistant columns with stainless steel grilles and fiberglass coating are permanently mounted on either side of the stage, with doors that keep the loudspeakers protected when not in use. Two subwoofers are mounted directly beneath two LCD Displays, with acoustically-transparent grilles that effectively conceal the subwoofers from view as well as protect them from the shore environment. A rear projector and drop-down screen are also part of the system for presentation and film night.

Both of these wonderful venues achieved highly successful first seasons. Attend an event this summer and enjoy entertainment under the stars!

All photos by Metropolitan Acoustics.

Similar Projects: 

  • World Café Live Theaters – Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE
  • Prince Theater – Philadelphia, PA
  • Philadelphia Live Arts & Fringe Festival Theater – Philadelphia, PA
  • Mask and Wig Club – Philadelphia, PA
  • Ambler Theater – Ambler, PA
  • MGM City Center, Cirque du Soleil Theater – Las Vegas, NV
  • Mandell Theater, Drexel University – Philadelphia, PA
  • Sedgwick Theater – Philadelphia, PA
  • Scottish Rite Temple Theater – Collingswood, NJ
  • Caplan Center for the Performing Arts, University of the Arts – Philadelphia, PA
  • Waverly Heights Theater – Gladwyne, PA
  • Baptist Temple Theater, Temple University – Philadelphia, PA
  • Annenberg Center – Philadelphia, PA
  • Players Club of Swarthmore – Swarthmore, PA
  • Arden Theater – Philadelphia, PA
July 2012: Green A/V
May 2012: Classroom Technology