Since its launch in August 2011, Sun Center Studios, the film and television production facility located in Chester Township, has welcomed Hollywood stars like Harrison Ford, Will Smith, Richard Gere and Dakota Fanning, while their films “Paranoia,” “After Earth,” and the forthcoming “Franny” were shot there. This summer, stars of a different sort will be the featured attraction at the Sun Center, as concert promoter BRE Presents debuts the “Starlight Summer Concert Series” at a newly constructed outdoor venue on the studio's property.
Currently ten shows are booked from mid-June to mid-August, beginning with the Tedeschi Trucks Band on June 11 and concluding with the Beach Boys on August 13. Other notable acts on the schedule include Buddy Guy on June 12, the Bacon Brothers on June 20, Straight No Chaser on July 16, the Mavericks on August 7, and the Indigo Girls on August 12.
The addition of a music venue on the 33-acre site is only the first step in what Sun Center Studios President Jeffrey Rotwitt envisions for the future of the property. His future plans include a hotel, a “back lot” tourist attraction celebrating American film and film culture, a retail center and a restaurant, all part of what eventually would be a world-class destination in Delaware County.
Based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, veteran concert promoter BRE Presents regularly books shows in regional venues like Glenside’s Keswick Theater, Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center, and Ocean City, NJ’s Music Pier.
“We're always open to new opportunities,” BRE Presents president Bill Rogers said in a recent telephone interview. “When this opportunity presented itself, it was one that made a lot of sense on all levels.”
One of the appealing aspects of the Sun Center venture was having the ability to design and build the venue from the ground up.
“We’re going to create an atmosphere that's very comfortable – very people friendly and very artist friendly as well,” Rogers says. “It will be an intimate, 1,500 to 1,600-seat outdoor venue under the stars.”
Located just minutes off I-95 on Concord Road in Chester Township, the Sun Center is easily accessible to patrons from Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, and offers ample parking on the grounds. Food, snacks, beer, wine, and cold refreshments will be available. BRE is also offering a “VIP Star Treatment Under the Stars” option for all shows at the Sun Center. For $30 in addition to the cost of a ticket, patrons receive a package that includes a picnic pack with a sandwich, chips, sweet treat and beverage, a BRE tote bag, free parking, and VIP check-in at the venue.
It's no secret that on any given summer weekend a considerable percentage of the area population travels to the shore, the Poconos, or some other weekend getaway. Accordingly, of the ten shows currently booked at the Sun Center, nearly all are scheduled for weeknights. Two (the Bacon Brothers on June 20 and Led Zeppelin tribute band Get the Led Out on August 8) take place on a Friday night, and only one (Gordon Lightfoot on July 19) on a Saturday night. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of Gordon Lightfoot, which starts at 8 p.m.
“I think we have a pretty good cross-section of artists for our first series,” Rogers says. “Some of the shows will be ‘an evening with’ and others will have opening acts.”
Among those in the latter category will be Joe Marson opening for the Tedeschi Trucks Band on June 11, Matt Andersen opening for Buddy Guy on June 12, Cindy Alexander opening for the Bacon Brothers on June 20, Carl Palmer opening for Procol Harum on July 17, and Angaleena Presley opening for the Indigo Girls on August 12.
There’s even a possibility that the “Starlight Summer Concert Series” could be expanded beyond the ten shows already scheduled.
“We haven't completely said that we are finished in terms of adding shows,” Rogers says. “If there's another show or two that makes sense in terms of schedules and what we're doing, we would add it.”
BRE Presents is committed beyond this summer to the Sun Center Studios venue. If fans respond positively to the inaugural season, Rogers says a larger slate of shows and even a music festival event would be considered in the future.
“There's the potential to do other events that are more involved,” he says. “At this point are focused on this series, and on doing our utmost to make it successful and as enjoyable and comfortable for everyone as we can.
”For up-to-date listings, directions, and to buy tickets for all Sun Center concerts, visit suncenterconcerts.com.