A new opportunity for Boston recently opened its doors in front of Fenway Park. On Monday, Aug. 22, Mayor Michelle Wu joined a group of officers and officials to open the new MGM Music Hall at Fenway Park. The new space is a triangularly shaped building on the corner of Ipswich St. and Lansdowne St., over what used to be a parking lot.
If a touring artist were to have Boston as their next stop, they would have two options: a venue of about 2,500 seats or a stadium of around 20,000 seats. Independent artists such as Alessia Cara, Jacob Collier and Massachusetts own, Clairo, can usually be found in the former, at places like The Orpheum Theatre or House of Blues.
This type of venue enables a simple set design, space for a small touring band and close interaction with fans, yet they tend to make tickets for popular artists to fly by.
However, these artists are likely to choose stadiums. Places such as TD Garden or Fenway Park, both with upwards of 20,000 seats, have housed global tours from Shawn Mendes to Lady Gaga and Bad Bunny. These concerts tend to have multiple or movable stages and thrive in the use of LED light bracelets that link to the show’s music.
On the other hand, the expanded seating might make it harder to fully sell since some seats tend to have a far view of the artist.
The new MGM Music Hall brings a middle point between these two options. This enables the crowd-feel and makes space for a larger band, while keeping the audience within a close view of the artist. The new venue will be able to house a little over 5,000 guests between the floor and two all-around balcony levels.
The stage is 80 feet by 40 feet with the furthest seat being 110 feet from the performance. There is an amphitheater with similar dimensions known as The Leader Bank Pavilion, which is near campus in Boston Harbor. However, it is an outdoor space, so shows can only be held in appropriate weather. The MGM Music Hall is an indoor arena that enables shows year-round.
Beyond this, the new music hall is LEED Gold certified, meaning that it has earned between 60 and 79 points in ensuring that the building “saves money, improves efficiency, lowers carbon emissions and creates a healthier place for people” (1). This focus on sustainability can be seen in the implementation of 331 solar panels placed on the roof.
This new venue introduces the opportunity to bring shows by popular artists such as ROSALIA, Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow to their fans in Boston and its surrounding areas.
Similarly, it gives local artists an expanded space to perform. For instance, Alec Benjamin, who performed in October 2021 at House of Blues, has now upgraded to the new Fenway stage. He is returning to the city on Sept. 24, along with special guests Claire Rosinkranz and Madeline the Person.
Most importantly, this new venue creates a new space for local artists to strive for and will also bring events to the community. During the opening ceremony, Mayor Michelle Wu said that this project will, “unlock what is possible for generations of Bostonians to find their passions, get connected to careers, and have fun and feel connected to our city” (2).
During the first week of classes the talented and charismatic Bruno Mars, who released his last project under the band Silk Sonic beside Anderson .Paak, will be performing on the evenings of Sept. 7, 9 and 11. In the weeks that follow, ROSALIA will take the stage Sept. 15, Lil Nas X on Sept. 18 and Jack Harlow on Oct. 9 and 10.
If you want to see a detailed and updated list of upcoming concerts, visit their website.