Letter to the editor: The time has come for an amphitheater

For those of you who missed the Lee Brice concert on March 31, 2022 at Patriot Park; wow, what a sight! Not just a big concert, but a phenomenal gathering of young and old from Sumter and far beyond, for an energetic and delighted crowd. My wife and I attend many concerts, and this is one of the best. Thanks to Lee, his brother Lewis and all the organizers and sponsors who made this inspiring event possible. Kudos also to the officials who organized traffic, parking, event entry and concessions. Everything was top notch.

Now, in the words of the great Waylon Jennings, “Where do we take it from here?” Sure, we have a local bell ringer in Lee Brice, but gigs like this could be a permanent thing in Sumter.

Sumter is ideally placed to build a permanent outdoor entertainment facility, and Patriot Park is the perfect location. Raleigh, Charlotte and Simpsonville (Greenville) are the closest amphitheaters or clubhouses to us, and they are all over 2 hours away. We have enough people in the Columbia, Camden, Florence and Manning area to attract similar crowds to these facilities. I think we would even see heavy Charleston attendance for many shows.

Patriot Park already has good parking and room for development. An amphitheater and additional paved parking is a natural fit. I will defer to the professionals for design details, but would focus on a high quality covered stage with modern backstage facilities overlooking a sloping grassy area. The design should accommodate future covered seating if success requires it. I would also add a permanent PA, lights and camera structure and permanent restroom and concession structures around the perimeter. Wi-Fi infrastructure upgrades are also a modern necessity.

The Penny for Progress committee is preparing projects for us to vote on in November. They should add this to their list of projects. On this third iteration of Penny for Progress, let’s reward ourselves and think big with a project to put Sumter on the entertainment map for good.



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