A New Outdoor Concert Venue Arrives in Downtown Detroit This Spring

Riverside Station Detroit is located along the Detroit riverfront just a few steps west of the former site of Joe Louis Arena. The outdoor pop-up venue will be socially distanced and feature contactless ordering.

A new outdoor concert venue is landing in downtown Detroit starting this spring. The socially-distanced design of the space is a reflection of how live entertainment has been reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Riverside Station Detroit will turn an empty parking lot along the downtown riverfront into an outdoor venue, complete with a stage and pod-style viewing area that allows up to six people to watch the show from their designated area. 

Each viewing area will be separated from the rest of the crowd by about eight feet per pod. The design is similar to how a drive-in theater might operate, but without the cars.

To further reduce direct contact with staff and other patrons during concerts, audience members will be able to order drinks, food and even merchandise like albums and t-shirts from a web-based app and have their orders delivered to their designated area.

The lot is located at 701 W. Jefferson Ave., which is east of the Riverfront Towers apartment complex and west of the former site of Joe Louis Arena. A Detroit People Mover stop for the old hockey arena is located just steps away from the lot.

The pop-up outdoor venue is being produced and programmed by The Crofoot Presents, a Pontiac-based music venue and concert promoter with a wide reach around the state.

“It’s a safe way to allow people to get together and see music,” says Dan McGowan, the managing partner of The Crofoot Presents. “It will feel much like a music festival with a large stage and a checkerboard of pods in front of it. We’re very excited to have the potential to do a whole season of these kinds of events.”

The first concert to be announced at Riverside Station Detroit is scheduled for Friday, May 7 featuring national alternative indie rock band Mt. Joy. Local act Michigander is scheduled to open the show.

McGowan says the outdoor venue can accommodate around 400 pods, which are surrounded by low fencing on three sides with an opening on one side for an entrance.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased only in sets of four or six tickets per order.

Click the audio player to hear the full conversation with concert promoter Dan McGowan about the new outdoor music venue Riverside Station Detroit:

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper

    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.