Seabreeze Jazz Festival Has a New Stage at Pier Park

January 28, 2013 by Jason Koertge

The Seabreeze Jazz Festival is coming up and their venue just got a new... well...everything. The Aaron Bessant Park at Pier Park in Panama City Beach for years was home to what many came to refer to as "the claw," but it's been torn down and replaced with an entertainment structure that is much better for larger events like the Jazz Festival. 

The brand-new Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater is a towering entertainment venue that includes a stage that's 60-feet across and 40-feet deep and feels just plain palatial compared to the pop-up structures they've used in events past. The new amphitheater has a loading dock sized for semi-truck trailers, two dressing rooms, an admin office and all the power hookups to run just about whatever audio and sound system you could dream of. 

The new amphitheater has been something Panama City Beach officials have been planning for years, and with the help of the Bay County Tourist Development Council, it was finally made a reality.  

The architectural design of the structure is the result of a years-long process that involved the community's feedback regarding needs, wants and concerns with sound pollution.  With the help of acoustical engineers and countless sound volume tests in surrounding neighborhoods, the city of Panama City Beach was able to come up with a design that would perform with acceptable decibel bleed-off levels and ample space for performers. 

The whole idea of a permanent, professional-grade entertainment venue structure came after countless cries from local promoters who were tired of spending $30k or more for a weekend's worth of staging for a venue. Promoters argued the money was better spent advertising the event and the area and a permanent stage area would be attractive to larger events and performances. The larger events and performances would be better, they argued, for the area's growth and sustainability. 

After years of planning and just five short months of construction, Panama City Beach has its new amphitheater. And the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, which happens there every year, has a whole new venue. The artists have dressing rooms to freshen up and prepare, there is onsite storage for equipment and enough hooks to hang as many lights and speakers as they want.  


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Jason Koertge is the founder of and has been blogging about Northwest Florida since 2006. He's also the owner of, a boutique luxury rental company on 30A.

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