Spokane Journal of Business

New Northern Quest concert venue to open in early June

Lydig is building $750,000 facility; summer concerts include big name artists

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New Northern Quest concert venue to open in early June
-—Staff photo by Chey Scott
Work was just getting under way last week on Northern Quest's outdoor concert facility, which will have seating capacity for about 5,000 people.

The Kalispel Tribe of Indians is building a $750,000 outdoor concert facility at its Northern Quest Resort & Casino, in Airway Heights, and already plans to use the venue for at least seven concerts this summer.

Spokane-based Lydig Construction Inc. is the project's general contractor and started moving dirt in early April in preparation for the facility, to be located behind the casino and between Northern Quest's hotel and parking garage, says Michael Wiprud, director of project planning for the Kalispel Tribe Economic Authority.

Wiprud says the Spokane office of DCI Engineers handled the structural engineering of the covered stage as well as drainage structures for the facility.

He says the venue is expected to be completed in early June, before the summer concert series gets under way. So far, Northern Quest has seven concerts planned to take place this summer at the outdoor venue, featuring artists such as the Steve Miller Band, The Beach Boys, Toby Keith, and Santana, its website says.

Wiprud adds that the resort and casino plans to have a soft-opening event on June 11 at the new venue that will feature performances by local acts.

The concert facility will have a seating capacity of about 5,000, which includes stadium-style seating for 4,250 people and some standing-room-only admission space behind those seats, Wiprud says.

He says at this time it hasn't been decided if the general admission area behind the assigned seating area will be grass, or if the resort will use bleachers to accommodate additional guests.

The venue's stage will be 60 feet by 40 feet and 4 1/2 feet high, he says, adding that it also will have a roof and trusses to support a lighting system.

Wiprud says the tribe has been in the planning stages for the new facility since last December, but it started thinking about adding an outdoor entertainment venue about a year ago.

"Last summer we put up an impromptu stage and folding chairs and had a concert, and that went well so we thought about putting something permanent in that's bigger and can draw in some bigger acts," Wiprud says.

He adds that the Tribe also sought to construct the venue because "it adds another feather to our cap as far as entertainment things we can do."

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