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Jam Productions’ New Amphitheater Evokes Memories Of Poplar Creek

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — According to the Daily Herald work will begin as soon as next week on a new 8,900-seat outdoor concert arena described by its developers Monday as a modern-day reincarnation of the famed Poplar Creek Music Theater.

The new Prairie Creek Amphitheater — which will rise alongside the Northwest Tollway in Hoffman Estates, less than a mile from the site of the old arena — will host as many as 40 concerts every summer, featuring performers like the Doobie Brothers, Counting Crows and Alicia Keys.

A grand opening concert is planned for Memorial Day weekend 2007.

“We’re very excited … to build something that follows the legacy of Poplar Creek — one of the best amphitheaters ever built in this country,” said Jerry Mickelson, co-founder of Chicago-based Jam Productions Inc., which will own and operate the new facility.

Mickelson’s presentation to an enthusiastic Hoffman Estates village board Monday was the first public discussion of the plans since they were unveiled by the Daily Herald in late July.

At the time, Jam was considering including some 2,000 lawn seats, but those plans were scrapped late this summer.

Final drawings instead show a 70-foot steel canopy rising to cover all 8,900 seats, protecting concert goers from summer storms.

“This is something we think you’ll be very proud of once it’s developed in this community,” Mickelson told trustees.

Prairie Creek will be built just to the east of a proposed indoor water park resort and immediately to the west of the new 11,000-seat Sears Centre, an indoor concert and sports arena that will open later this month.

Prairie Creek and the Sears center will “complement each other” rather than compete, Mickelson said, since the Sears Center will host the bulk of its concerts during the fall, winter and spring.

The two facilities will even share a common parking lot.

Prairie Creek will see competition, though, in the form of the two-year-old Charter One Pavilion on Chicago’s lakefront, an outdoor arena with a comparable 7,500 seats.

Citing the popularity of Poplar Creek, which closed its doors for good in 1994, village officials said Monday that the new facility seems destined for success.

“Looking at these renderings,” said Trustee Rodney Rusakiewicz, “it brings back some very vivid memories of Poplar Creek.”