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Hurricane Ike and The Pavilion 2008/2009

During Hurricane Ike, the Pavilion suffered severe damage to its Teflon coated fiberglass and fabric roof as well as the support structure over the reserved seating area. A structural engineering firm hired to assess the damage determined that the venue should not be used for public gatherings until the roof system and its steel structure were repaired. As a result, Pavilion management had no alternative but to cancel the last 10 shows of its 2008 season. Other damage to the amphitheater included the stage wall and roof panels, event tent, lawn concession stand and erosion on the backside of 'the hill'. The renovation project involved designing the expanded structure for higher wind loads; replacing the existing tensile fabric and supporting cables; and strengthening existing steel elements and concrete foundations. After completing the 3-D model design plans, a mere 164 days were remained to complete the upgrades prior to the 2009 concert season. The twenty year old tensile fabric was replaced with a fabric reinforced with surface cables, and triangular fabric panels in the outer edges. The surface cables panelize the fabric at seams to limit damage from windborne debris in addtion to acting as 'rip stops'.

Renovated CWMP Woodlands Construction and expansion history of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
(numbers are approximate):
    1990 Season Construction complete and grand opening in April
  • 2,800 covered seats; no uncovered seating; 7,200 lawn capacity
  • Total capacity: 10,000

  • 1995 Season Expansion and addition of more concessions and restrooms
  • 2,800 covered seats; addition of 1,900 uncovered seats; increased lawn capacity to 8,800
  • Total capacity: 13,500

  • 2001 Season Expansion and addition of new dressing room compound and storage facility
  • 2,800 covered seats; 1,900 uncovered seats; increased lawn capacity to 11,800
  • Total capacity: 16,500

  • 2008-2009 Season Reserved Seating Expansion & Site Wide Upgrades
  • 16,040 total capacity
  • 6,387 covered seats with the addition of 3,908 new, covered seats
  • 9,653 lawn 'seats' (decrease of 2,147)
  • 2,400-square-foot stage
  • On-site parking garage with 960 spaces (pre-exisiting)
  • 3,000 free parking spaces (pre-exisiting)
  • WoodForest Bank VIP Club
  • 12,000-square-foot performer’s building
  • 10 dressing rooms

  • 2010 Season
  • Converted the Hospitality Tent into the "House of Blues" Tent

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion The Woodlands Texas Increases Covered Seating Capacity
January 11, 2009 Renovation at the Pavilion

Following Hurricane Ike the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion vowed to come back bigger and better after the devastating weather cut short the 2008 season. On Friday, November 21st, the premier entertainment venue for The Woodlands announced plans for a $9 million renovation at the facility that will increase the Cynthia Woods Seating capacity by 2,000 additional seats in the reserved section. The additional covered seating capacity will increase to more than 6000 thereby decreasing the lawn area. The ‘just in time’ upgrade for the 20th season is expected to start in December and be completed just before the start of the start of the new season. In addition to the ability of the amphitheater to attract large concert venues capable of being seen by more than 16,000 spectators (2001), the improved pavilion will become a unique venue. CWMP will be the only venue in the Houston region able to market itself as a place for intimate concerts with rising stars, not unlike the Nokia Live series held in Dallas, according to Jerry MacDonald, president and CEO of the pavilion. The additional seating is not expected to increase overall occupancy as it will actually reduce the size of the lawn seating area.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion The Woodlands Texas Adds Covered Seating
Construction at the Pavilion January 25, 2009

According to MacDonald, “...the damage from Ike was devastating; it presented us with the perfect opportunity to consider expanding our covered seating capacity to make our venue even more appealing to both artists and concertgoers.” “It’s a project we were planning to do in the next few years anyway. Hurricane Ike gave us a reason to do it sooner rather than later.” The pavilion reopened on May 01,2009; ‘just in time’ for the 20th season. The 2009 season was packed with 32 or more contemporary acts from Live Nation and other vendors.

woodlands pavilion

While the pavilion is negotiating for shows, none are yet ready to be announced, season seats and box seats are now available for The Pavilion’s 20th season. For more information, please contact JD Villasenor, director of premium seat sales, at 281-210-1121 or [email protected] “We are excited about unveiling a completely new Pavilion in conjunction with our 20th season,” said Candice Glenn, chairman of the pavilion’s board of directors, adding that it will also benefit nonprofit shows, like the annual Children’s Festival. “

hurricane ike rebuild

Besides continuing to be a world-class, state-of-the-art facility, the expanded covered seating area will greatly benefit all of our educational outreach programs, including Musical Scores, Fine Arts Education Day and Children’s Festival. We will be able to accommodate thousands more children at each of these events which is an important part of The Pavilion’s mission as a nonprofit organization.”

The Woodlands pavilion new tent cover

The pavilion suffered significant damage during Hurricane Ike, leading to the cancellation of its last 10 shows of the 2008 season. In addition to destroying the Teflon coated, fiberglass fabric roof and support structure, Ike also caused damage to the stage wall, roof panels, event tent, lawn concession stand as well as erosion along the backside of the hill. The new seating will be constructed about 50 feet into the lawn area, cutting the capacity on the grass from about 11,500 to 10,000 people. The renovation plans also include improvement to the sound system on the lawn. While the overall capacity of the pavilion will not increase, all 6,500 reserved seats will be covered under a new canopy, with will retain its sail-like structure. Guests at the amphitheater won’t have any weather issues in the rain and will have some shade from the white canopy.

woodlands pavilion expansion

CGI Vision of the upgraded tent

Reserved seating is always in demand, and generally costs anywhere from $20 to $30 or more compared to lawn seating. The additional reserved seating area should enable the pavilion to recoup costs quicker in addition to remaining a top five position in nationwide ticket sales among outdoor amphitheaters. The reserved seating always sells out first with ninety-five percent of the covered seating being sold out and 80 percent of the uncovered seating also being sold at most events.

The multi million dollar renovation package will be funded in part by the $2.5 million insurance proceeds from Hurricane Ike, as well as contributions from the pavilion, concert promoter Live Nation, and the ticketing agent (currently ticketmaster). In addition, George and Cynthia Mitchell, founders of The Woodlands, have donated $1 million toward the renovation, and the pavilion plans a capital campaign in the community to raise the remaining $1 million. “This is a prime opportunity for The Pavilion to make changes and improvements to the facility that will put it in the position of being more competitive for concerts in the Houston market,” said Bob Roux, president of Live Nation for Houston, Dallas and New Orleans. The upgraded covered venue is expected to give the pavilion a “competitive edge” in the Houston live music market place, allowing it to sell more large concerts as well as smaller ones, when lawn seating will not be available.

  • Added 2,000 new reserved seats
  • Improved sound system for the lawn seating area.
  • Increased Covered seating to 6,500 (up from 2800)
  • Lawn area seating capacity subsequently reduced by approximately 1,500
  • Installed a larger canopy with an improved design to reduce rips & windborn damage
  • New stage: Providing an alternative venue of 6,500 seats for more intimate performances

woodlands pavilion expansion 2008-2009

Primary Source: Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion website 2008

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