WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – River Rock at the Amp finished its 10th season of bringing mainly tribute bands to downtown Warren on Saturday. Our team took a closer look into the story of this decade-old concert series and the man behind it.
Ten years ago, Ken Haidaris was just the owner of Warren’s Sunrise Inn Restaurant. At the time, the man running a concert series at the Warren Amphitheater needed financial help.
Haidaris became a partner. When the man died, Haidaris wanted to take the series over and approached Mayor Mike O’Brien.
“I think we can do this. He had the faith in us and gave us the opportunity and then we just had to run like crazy to get it going,” Haidaris said.
Now, River Rock at the Amp has a 12-week concert series. Performances include tributes to The Eagles, Journey and Bruno Mars.
On a nice night, 5,000 people will fill the amphitheater and more could be seated. Haidaris said the series has outgrown the venue.
“I wish I could tell you I had this grand design where it was going to be. We were going to do this and then we’re going to do that. We had no clue,” Haidaris said.
Over the winter, improvements will be made to the amphitheater. A hillside being washed away will get grass, creating additional seating.
Permanent restrooms will replace the portable restrooms, a new fence will replace the plastic orange one and a cafe will be built behind the stage.
Haidaris knows that River Rock at the Amp has been part of the resurgence of downtown Warren.
“It gets people downtown. When they’re downtown, they’re walking, they might be eating, they might go to some of the stores on Courthouse Square,” Haidaris said. “It’s a nice feeling to see the resurgence, I guess is a nice word. It’s like a phoenix.”