Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Renovations Underway

Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Renovations Underway

St. Johns County officials began the ceremonial load out of the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall to kick off a multi-million renovation project earlier this month with appropriate fanfare for the iconic facility.

Preparing Ponte Vedra Concert Hall for its New Era is no small task, according to a county media release. The enhancements include the addition of a second-floor balcony, outdoor terraces on both floors, and stadium-style seating on the first floor to allow for more flexible seating and standing configurations. Further improvements feature state-of-the-art audio and lighting systems. A complete load out is required to make way for contractor DiMare Construction to set the stage for a transformative cultural experience.

“This is going to be a quality of life enhancement for our community,” said County Commissioner Krista Joseph, in the release. “We’re going to get more acts, bigger names and all different types of music.”

Since its opening night on February 13, 2011, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall has welcomed 484 unique acts, more than 1,000 performances, and more than 400,000 visitors. Music enthusiasts from nearly every state have traveled to see their favorites artists in one of the most acoustically stunning, intimate venues in the Southeast. Over its 13-year history, the venue’s economic contribution to St. Johns County exceeds $53 million, according to the release.

“This is part of the consumer experience economy that brings people in from around the country, and sometimes around the world,” said County Commissioner Christian Whitehurst, in the release. “These guests enjoy our hotels, restaurants, activities, history, and they contribute to our local business economy. This expansion is good for our culture, good for St. Johns County residents, good for business and good for our economy.”

In addition to the performances themselves, events at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall have a positive impact on the county economy, according to County Commission Chair Sarah Arnold.

“Twenty-six percent of people who attend shows here stay overnight and 87% of those stay more than one night in St. Johns County where they shop here, eat here, and play here,” Arnold said in the release. “The economic impact this concert hall has had and will continue to have cannot be overstated.

Ponte Vedra Concert Hall has welcomed Grammy award-winning icons of music as well as burgeoning stars including David Crosby, Lucinda Williams, Art Garfunkel, Pete Davidson, Marty Stuart, Indigo Girls, Lindsey Buckingham, Local Natives, Jenny Lewis, Los Lobos, Dr. John, Wynona Judd, Richard Marx, Blues Traveler, The Wailers, Mavis Staples, KT Tunstall, Portugal. The Man, Dimitri Martin, The Weight, Yonder Mountain String Band, and more. It has also served as a space to highlight local and regional artists, local theatre, and choral groups like APEX Theatre Studio, the UNF Choir and Florida Chamber Music Project, the release states.

Originally a Baptist church built in the 1980s, St. Johns County purchased the property in 2006. The building underwent a transformation to become a concert hall in 2009 and has since received several upgrades. These enhancements, supported by The Friends of Ponte Vedra Concert Hall and St. Johns County, culminated in the approval of a $5.4 million funding boost by the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners in 2022. While the building remains a St. Johns County property, it is operated by SJC Cultural Events, Inc. through a public-private partnership established in September 2023, according to the release..

“Public-private partnership is really about connection and trust,” said St. Johns County Administrator Joy Andrews, in the release. “For us to be together today, this is a demonstration of the public-private partnership that provides connection to creativity, innovation, and cultural exchange. Now with SJCCE we have that connection to resources, to inclusion and connection to the entire community.”

According to Jerry Wilson, president of Friends of Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, the renovation project has been a long time coming.

“This project has been envisioned for 13 years and we are delighted to see the dream for our beloved Concert Hall become a reality,” he said in the release. “I deeply appreciate the dedication of our all-volunteer Board of Directors, Advisory Council, PVCH volunteers, and members of the Friends of Ponte Vedra Concert Hall who have seen the true power of live music. I’d also like to acknowledge the support of our five County Commissioners, County Administration, and SJCCE management as we collectively embark on this journey to elevate the cultural experience in St. Johns County.”