Everyone loves a comeback story. 2021 has given us one for the ages. If this past weekend felt extra special this year, there's a good reason: it was. Over the recent Fourth of July Weekend the McGrath Amphitheatre and Paramount Theatre, both venues are owned by the City of Cedar Rapids, hosted about 10,000 people during five events over a three-day period. The two venues are managed by VenuWorks of Cedar Rapids.

Big shows, huge crowds

It doesn't hurt that some big shows were on the docket. One even broke a record. The first show of the weekend was Fitz and the Tantrum on Friday, July 2nd at the McGrath Amphitheatre. They pulled in a crowd of over 1,000, which is actually a sell-out given this show was still sold during a time when it had to have socials distancing.

Fitz and the Tantrum - photo by Katie Ripke

On Saturday the McGrath Amphitheatre hosted REO Speedwagon. The show was a true sell-out, with over 3700 fans, a record for the venue, attending the concert. That same night, rockers Sevendust played a smaller show at the Paramount Theatre for a crowd of nearly 550. Like Fitz and the Tantrums, the Sevendust event was sold-out in a socially distanced seating chart.

REO Speedwagon - photo by Jeff Hackbarth

On Sunday the McGrath Amphitheatre played host to the Veritas church which brought a crowd of over 3,100. That evening, visitors came for the Freedom Festival and their huge 4th of July fireworks display. Over 1,000 people were in attendance.

Veritas Church Service by Sunny Holub

The events brought in a lot of money to the area

An estimated $600,000 in consumer spending over the weekend according to VenuWorks. Of that, $575,000 came from the three touring concerts. This is especially great news when you consider the impact vistors had on other local businesses like restaurants, bars and shops. Katie Ripke, the Director of Marketing & Communications for CR Events Live said,

The Fourth of July weekend was exciting few a variety of reasons. Marking our first official sold-out show at the McGrath Amphitheatre is a huge milestone.

She was pointed out the weather helped,

We were lucky the weather was also absolutely gorgeous the whole weekend. Everything fell into place just how we needed it to draw such large crowds and the impact goes beyond the events/concerts.

And regarding the impact on other businesses in the area, Ripke says,

These crowds don’t just visit our venues – they are staying in our local hotels, eating at our local restaurants and spending money with our local retailers.

Fitz and the Tantrum - photo by Katie Ripke


When it comes to events, this is far from the end. This summer tons more events will hit the area. For a complete listing, check out our events page.

Check Out the Best-Selling Album From the Year You Graduated High School

Do you remember the top album from the year you graduated high school? Stacker analyzed Billboard data to determine just that, looking at the best-selling album from every year going all the way back to 1956. Sales data is included only from 1992 onward when Nielsen's SoundScan began gathering computerized figures.

Going in chronological order from 1956 to 2020, we present the best-selling album from the year you graduated high school.

50 Famous Brands That No Longer Exist

Great Jones County Fair Country Concerts 2015-2019