The amphitheater and adjacent river where some locals watch concerts from.

“Stealing” the Show?

Should people be punished for listening to concerts outside of the Hayden Homes Amphitheater?

A popular Central Oregon activity in the summer is heading to the Hayden Homes Amphitheater to see a concert. The popularity of the concerts has increased, due to more big-name artists performing at the venue in recent years, drawing in tourists. 

The amphitheater is located in the Old Mill District in Bend, which sprung from the conversion of a 1923 logging mill into a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.

“There’s a lot of out-of-town attendees.They create their vacations around the concerts,” Alan Blickly, a front gate admissions worker for Hayden Homes, noted. “[The shows bring] a lot of tourism here, [and] add to [culture] overall.” Hayden Homes Amphitheater brings in millions of dollars for Bend’s economy each year, with a wide variety of music. 

“[We are] definitely busier on a concert night as opposed to a regular night,” said Assistant General Manager at Pastini’s, Robbie Moore. These concerts are a part of the summer tourism industry that partly fuels Bend’s economy. “It brings in revenue, it brings in tourists and people, so I would say [the concerts are] a plus.” However, not everyone who listens to the shows pays to do so. 

Hayden Homes is a favorite because it’s a short walking distance away from restaurants and shops, and adjacent to the Deschutes River. This also makes it convenient for groups to gather in the Old Mill. People float the river, listening to concerts outside of the venue  by anchoring themselves down near the amphitheater. 

Restrictions have been implemented to deter non-ticket holders from eavesdropping, such as charging customers more for outdoor seating at restauraunts. 

“Security closes off part of the walkway to the restaurants – patrons – and that’s controlled, because it’s private property owned by the Old Mill,” Blickly explained. “And the river is a public waterway. There are no restrictions on the waterway, so there’s quite a few people that stay in the river and listen to the concerts.” 

Some believe it is grossly unfair to listen to concerts without paying. Others say that the areas being used are public spaces, and therefore, it is completely reasonable to utilize them during the shows. 

“You can’t really monitor that,” said Joanne Duffey, a resident of Sunriver. “It seems like the concert tickets are kind of expensive. Excessively so.”

“I think it’s fair [to listen outside the venue]. People that are paying for going in there, it’s like a different experience,” Ella Cochran, a junior at Caldera, remarked. “Nobody owns this space…[and] the space around [the amphitheater]. Anyone should be able to go and listen.” Cochran believes that the concerts are beneficial for Bend culture because music brings people together, and that no one should be restricted from that experience. 

The debate will likely continue into the future and rules will continually be changed. However, it is to be expected that the public will still be able to access the river and areas not adjacent to the amphitheater.