CLEVELAND-- The stage is set for a pair of big weekend concerts at Progressive Field.
Despite thousands of fans and heavy equipment on the turf, the Indians said the team expects the impact to be minimal.
Setup for the Billy Joel concert Friday and Luke Bryan concert Saturday began early in the week with setup of a massive stage in left field. Some of the 8,000 field seats were put in place Thursday.
“If you're honest with yourself, you're always a little bit nervous, but I think we've taken the precautions we can take,” said Indians Vice President of Ballpark Operations Jim Folk, noting that these will mark the fourth and fifth major concerts at Progressive Field. “We're pretty optimistic about how this will all turn out. We've done it previously. Look, there's ballparks around the country doing concerts regularly.”
The field will be covered with an elevated white plastic product called Terraplas, with holes that allow the grass beneath to breathe.
“It has a couple of points where it sits, but most of what you see is actually elevated above the grass,” Folk said.
A special material was used under stage posts to reduce their impact, and infield remains off-limits to keep it fully intact for baseball.
“It's sacrosanct,” Folk said. “You just don't take chances with the infield.”
Between the Joel and Bryan concerts, crews will adjust the stage overnight. Most of the equipment will be removed from the field by Sunday, with time built in to make any fixes to the turf that are needed before the Indians return for their next home game Friday, July 21.
“By Monday you might not know we did anything here, other than a few scraps,” Folk said. “And by Friday, play ball!”