Abandoned music amphitheater photos: Polaris Amphitheater, post-mortem

Polaris/Germain Amphitheater played host to a whole bunch of big names before closing in 2007. Nobody has bought the land, so the shell is still there. Cary Whitt took some shots over the weekend:

Full set

  • Craig willis

    Wonder what it would cost to purchase the amp and land? You know someone has to be wondering the same thing. That’s a shame for that to go the direction it has.best crew on the planet was created at that building hands down.

    • Jen Panovski

      It’s like a kick in the gut seeing what became of it – so many memories and good times. Loved working with the crew the first several years it was open.

  • Michal monett

    So many of us started there ! I miss the the old place like it was home ! That place generated some of the best touring people we ever work with and I see them all, year after year ! Bad ass crew !!! Such a waste the income that could be generating from from the property, while it waits for the grim reaper !!! I got some great stories and memories ! Love everyone there ! Thanks Michael John ! Fritz !

  • There is not a day that goes by in the summer that I don’t miss working, partying, listening, and even playing there! Some of my closest friendships and career path mentoring was done there. While I still have the friends, and memories…I miss the venue!

  • Jay

    Wow!! That’s sad. I miss that place. It really needs to be reopened

  • C DUB YA

    I was thinking about what it would take to get it back to working order. In a couple words… too much. The land is kinda valuable I guess, so much so that you would need something that generated revenue year round, not just in the summer. The bigger issue now is the current state of things, apart from the main structure, everything would have to be more or less redone. Crazy.

  • Shay Pursel

    I was there the first three seasons of Polaris Amphitheater on the admin staff as an Operations Assistant, and then as Corporate Sales Assistant. It was a long way from home in the little village where I grew up. Made the best friends of my young adult life, and was the coolest OSU college student because my friends all had tickets to their favorite shows at Polaris. I declared residency and voted for the first time . . . in favor of changing the area zoning from residential to commercial. I wanted that amphitheater to stay for even more good times in the future. The land was built up, and Polaris Amphitheater was lost. It is a shame to see the pictures of what was my Cedar Point in Columbus, Ohio now turned into abandoned graffiti. Patrick Leahy, the General Manager, was a great leader. Alyson Sullivan, the Director of Corporate Sales, was so dear. Randy Schuette, the Director of Operations, was a straight A genius. I miss the excitement, the feeling of being a celebrity, and the time spent with friends. Those days seem long gone. Polaris Amphitheater was a great location, but the people made Polaris great, from staff to concert attendees. It was a wonderful adventure. Thank You, Columbus!

  • Ty

    How much trouble can one get in for “trespassing” here. I bet you I saw over 100 shows at this place. At the time, I hated it. Too generic for my tastes. But now, it’s like the old days. Bands come to Ohio and play Cincy and Cleveland and only come to C-Bus on the 2nd leg of their tour if we’re lucky. Our fine city is missing a lot of shows thanks to Live Nation for closing it.

    • Kim

      Thank the surrounding neighborhoods for closing it. That it was it really met it’s end. I have many good memories there as well. Makes me sick to see it is this condition. Hope the neighbors that complained endlessly are happy to have this atrocity sitting in their back yard instead.

      • Kim

        “That is why” (sorry – my words stumbled over themselves.)

        • Lora

          Amen sista!!

  • C DUB YA

    @Ty – I’m not sure about what trouble you could get into, apart from getting jumped from a homeless person, or zombie or homeless zombie? You might end up cutting your feet on the countless shards of glass, Die Hard style… but only if you were shoe-less.

    I thought Polaris missed a lot of shows in it’s prime honestly. I know they missed a bunch of Radiohead tours that hit either Cleveland, Indy, or Cincy (Cleveland 3x).

    Seemed like there was way too many dinosaur acts like: R.E.O. Speedwagon, Journey (without Steve Perry), Poison, and numerous country-radio tours constantly booked there, but what do I know?

    • Ty

      Pretty easy to sneak into??

      • C DUB YA

        Fairly. The main worry is they do have patrols there from time to time, and there isn’t a place to put your car.

  • Dre

    Good ol Polaris Amp. Started working there in 7th grade. Good times, best first job EVER!

  • Christine Lorello Brandt

    I am crying as I write this note. Those photos affected me deeply. Thank you for taking them. I worked in promotions/mktg at Polaris from 1996-2000 at which time I took a transfer position with the company that owned the amphitheater and moved to NY. I continued to work for the company all over the country until I left just a couple years ago for another career. Like Shay, I also feel like I grew up there. It was my first “big girl” job. I actually used my college degree! Patrick Leahy was the best boss I ever had. (as well as Tracy Burns Tucker….) They believed in me. They were mentors. Nothing was a secret during that time. Well, except when Demi Moore and Bruce Willis came to see the Spicegirls with their kids. LOL. We learned by being involved. Staff meetings were educational as well as productive. I was married on that stage. I met my husband because of that job. He worked at a radio station. To see what people have done to the walls and the backstage breaks my heart. I obviously don’t see it that way in my mind. Now I am really crying. wow. That place holds amazing memories. The team that Patrick Leahy assembled there has never been repeated in any other business for which I have worked. It was special. I defended that amphitheater to the core when people would complain about the noise. We were there first. with the cows. We would gather in the box office to watch tickets go onsale first thing Saturday morning at 10am! We would watch Jimmy Buffett, Ozzfest and DMB tickets fly off the system. It was so energizing. When we decided to hold Shocktoberfest, we all pitched in to build and decorate. I actually walked on fire in the VIP club! I was there for the Ozzfest riot of ’97~ I saw Iggy Pop stage dive into a barricade when no one caught him. Good stuff. We were so proud of that facility.

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  • Jeannie Margavich

    We had many good times there and attended many good concerts. It’s a shame that this was all done in the name of “GREED”.

  • C DUB YA

    Some amazing shows played there. That much is certain.

  • Looks like a good place to get an HIV… (Columbus Junk) That place is wrecked tear it down… (Demolition Weekly) The industries Goliath beaten by David…(Pied Piper Digest) That venue became a house of cards…(Petland)

  • C DUB YA

    The cost to level that would be astronomical.

  • Jeffrey

    I thought that place closed down because someone bought it. But I guess I was wrong. Too bad it would cost too much to level it to build something else, or even reopen it. If not for idiot graffiti wannabe’s it’d still look fairly nice.

  • C DUB YA

    it’s fairly trashed beyond just the graffiti.

    • Chad Geese

      C Dub can we trespass here legally? I would love to check this place out and see it with my own eyes. I was just curious if there were any no trespassing signs or any other reasons to get in trouble for checking it out. I also noticed that with all the research I have done on the place nobody seems to provide who owns it. I was curious if you knew that information.

  • Karen

    I loved going to concerts there, it’s so sad that it closed. I believe you can get into it without getting into trouble. I think you can drive in where Gemini parkway dead ends into it. There’s a barricade that says “road closed” but there’s a gap that you can probably drive through.

  • Karen

    I also wanted to add that I’ve been googling information which lead me here and from what I can tell Live Nation still owns it but it is for sale but there are no buyers for it right now. It is valued at 11 million.

  • Rebecca Rodgers

    I have no words. I remember going there for several concerts I am about to cry looking at this what a waste.

  • Max power

    The last few concerts I went to there sucked. Security rushed your away from your car before you could get out and the whole experience was very inhospitable. Good times there early on, but it was never a great venue. PromoWest is a much better venue. Funny to see so many folks getting all teary over a place everyone hated att the time. Buckeye Lake Music Center was 10 times more fun and memorable than Polaris, and the beers weren’t $7 because you could take in your own. This place killed BLMC and stupid yuppies killed Polaris.

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  • Tammy

    why don’t bands like Phish, the Dead, Pearl Jam and other co-op and buy up these places and sell directly to their fans :) Time to Occupy Online Ticket Scamming and free artists and fans!

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  • Joel Oliphint
  • they should of never closed it down alot of people had fun their and partyed alot their.their was lots of goods bands their.it was my favorite place.alot of room to roam sen alot of cute guys their. i like it hteir. they should fix it up reopen it. not sell it. that were ozzzfest was.best times.people went their for fun had good times. their.fix it up open it again. thtas what i think dont tear it down. fix it up .

  • craig ferrell

    i am so crushed to see what happened to our beloved amp. i am a photographer here in col, i have been going to this amp. since it opened in 94” @ seen the last set of shows in 07” i have shot 70 percent of the shows there, & have them on film. to go back & look at all the great music we all had & all the good times & all the friends we made there was like heaven to me!!! im sure alot of u feel the same as i do!! & to see what has happened to our beloved amp. makes me sick to my stomach!! yes i am a 45 yr. old man who has tears running down my face to see what is left of it, it makes me want to puke!!!! we were there be4 all u assholes anyway!!! to let greed for money take it all away from all of us who loved it so much, makes me sick. i really want to say something else but i wont!!! i would love to see some body bye it & open it up again, if it is possible?? but dont no all the league stuff, like some of u who worked there!!! but that is a dream that i would love to see come true!!! i would like to chat with some of u that worked there & ran the place, that left mesgs. on this sight!! i am really down seeing theses pictures!! it is eating me up inside!! so if any body who has pics. of the amp. now i would love to have some copys made, & i am willing to let u look at some of my thosands of picts. from shows there from 94 to 07” u can email me at coachcraig66@aim.com or my name craig ferrell on facebook!! look forward to talking with some of u !!! thank u!!! god bless everyone!!!!

  • Fred

    I wonder what Starwood/Amsouth looks like these days? Was taken over in mid 2000s to construct residential units. Then the crash, so never happened. Still there as far as I know, except it is not zoned properly anymore.

  • Buckeye Born Andrea

    Just an update – it’s since been razed.

  • Pamela

    How sad… I had the best job of my youth when Ozzfest ’98 came here…

    • smalls

      I have Pix from the Ozzfest when he didnt show and they destroyed the place! unreal night!

      • bstaten34

        I still have a piece of the fence that was tore down at Ozzfest

      • B Rad Jackson

        Can I see. That was so Fucking awesome

    • Larry Elliott

      I remember passing out at the ’98 ozzfest there at Polaris….

  • Jeannie England

    So sad so many great memories there…

  • Kelly Antinori

    I thought they were building an
    IKEA on this land?

    • Colleen McKernan Streetman

      They are the article is from 2011

  • Sandeep Sehbi

    Thats a shame

  • Melony L Burway


    • Keith Smigle

      Like an Ikea?

  • Mark E Lowe

    took my daughter to see Hootie and the Blowfish for her 14th birthday . great venue .

  • Dan

    Sad. I went to my first concert there… Hank Jr. Saw Blitz Bash with Static X, Kid Rock, and Disturbed… And James Taylor… We were the youngest people there by twenty years… Counting Crows and Live… Too many memories to list. I loved this place… And so did Bonesy!!

  • Larry Elliott

    first show I saw there was YES. we were sitting on the hill and the pavilion was empty as hell so people were going through the crowd giving out uncancelled tickets for the pavilion for the show. we got our hands on several of these and as a result got into several other shows on them. this was before they started scanning tickets and the people at the gate weren’t paying any attention to them. they’d just tear off the end and say enjoy the show. got tossed out of van halen and the fuzz dropped me off outside the gates. I had another one of these tickets in my pocket so I just went right back up and got back in. those were some fun times!