IT’S A VAI HEAT: An 8,000-capacity amphitheater is under development at the $1 billion VAI Resort in Greater Phoenix, expected to open in 2024. (Courtesy venue)


A $1 billion resort near State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, is throwing its hat into the live music ring by building a state-of-the-art amphitheater in the middle of the complex. 

Expected to open in 2024, the desert oasis VAI Resort intends to attract top acts to the 8,000-capacity outdoor venue, said Howard Weiss, the resort’s vice president of entertainment.

The multilevel concert venue, a $40 million project, will be equipped with a 360-degree stage to host global touring acts, comedians and DJs, designed with hotel room balconies facing the amphitheater. Servers will cater to those patrons with upgraded ticket packages. The amphitheater will feature 3,000 fixed seats. 

“The hotel tower will transform into a premium concert viewing from room balconies alongside a multilevel amphitheater with VIP skyboxes, stadium-style seating and VIP booths for more than 8,000 showgoers,” Weiss said. “One of the unique features of what we’re building here is the outdoor amphitheater is interconnected with the music hotel tower, which has 350 rooms. Not only do you have a hotel room, but you get access to the show from your balcony.””

VAI Resort officials say a booking partner for the amphitheater, shown in this rendering, is to be announced soon. (Courtesy venue)

Weiss said he isn’t worried about competition in the area, which includes neighbors State Farm Stadium and Desert Diamond Arena.  

“I’ve spent half of my career in Vegas, where everywhere you turn is another concert venue,” Weiss said. “We’ll be able to attract artists from around the nation on tour. We can do residencies. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were just at State Farm Stadium, drawing 45,000 on Mother’s Day. We believe Arizona is craving new entertainment experiences and artists are always looking for new venues to play.” 

The venue is designed to “plug and play,” cutting down on the equipment artists provide, Weiss said. Backstage amenities include an elevator and underground tunnels connecting the Rockstar Suite directly to the performance green room, ensuring privacy and convenience for artists.  TAIT is supplying its Navigator automation platform, with other suppliers including L’Acoustics for audio. 

“The artists can come in with limited gear and support and turn on a show here relatively quickly,” he said. 

The resort itself features a five-acre pool and temperature-controlled white sand beaches. Konos Island, the country’s largest man-made party island, encompasses 52,000 square feet, complete with a restaurant, private cabanas, a DJ booth and a 16-person aerial bar with panoramic views from 150 feet in the sky. The hotel has 12 upscale restaurants; 10 bars and lounges; a high-end shopping corridor and the Mattel Adventure Park. 

“We wanted to create a venue that captured the essence of VAI: a place where music is the foundation of the guest experience,” Weiss said. “It represents the pinnacle of that vision, boasting unparalleled acoustics, stunning views and cutting-edge technology that will create a fully integrated concert experience in a way that’s never been before.”

VAI Global Development is owner and developer of the resort, led by by president and CEO Grant Fisher, an under-30-year-old hospitality entrepreneur and Arizona native. It is the company’s first resort.