‘What an evolution’: Gorge Amphitheatre documentary releases nationwide, week before concerts start up

GEORGE, Wash. – The Gorge Amphitheatre is a place millions of people visit, just two hours outside of Spokane.

The amphitheatre is set to reopen on July 29, marking the first concert there in more than a year. In conjunction with the return of concerts is a new documentary that highlights the famous venue.

There are special moments in people’s lives they will never forget. For music lovers, there is a concert the will always remember. For most, the location never really matters, but it did and still does for those who have been to the Gorge.

All of that will be encapsulated “Enormous: The Gorge Story,” directed by Nic Davis and produced by Tim Jack.

“It is an epicenter that people come to from all over the world,” said Nic Davis.

“It’s not a place just for young or just for old or whatnot, but that it’ll always be place that holds special memories for people at all different ages and along their pathway,” added Carrie Arredondo, who does marketing at Cave B Estate Winery.

Arredondo’s family opened the Gorge in the 1980s. Her parents first named it “Champs de Brionne,” which translates to “Bryans Fields.” It started as a winery and when the time came to harvest the grapes, her parents wanted to celebrate with a grand opening.

Her mom Carol wrote a thousand invitations and they celebrated with wine and a live concert.

“They realized quite quickly that the acoustics were phenomenal and absolutely amazing,” Arrendondo said.

From then on, the Gorge grew quickly.

“Wow, what an evolution,” said Jeff Trisler, with LiveNation, which runs the Gorge now. “It was literally a plywood stage, maybe could accommodate two, three thousand people at most.”

Now, more than 20,000 people can sit on the grass and listen to their favorite bands with a direct view of the beautiful Columbia River.

Right next door to the Gorge is Arredondo’s Cave B Estate Winery, a place that now is becoming more popular being alongside the amphitheatre. Arrendondo says they’ve started to do open mic nights on their own Stage B. She says people are starting to book up with them months in advance, too.

“I think that’s what my family has always been about. Always bringing the arts and wine and people and creating beauty together,” she said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: New Gorge Amphitheatre documentary to be screened in Spokane

When Davis and Jack first went to scope out the Gorge for the film, they were unsure of what to expect. After flying into Seattle and driving more than two hours out to George, Davis was nervous when all he saw was farmland.

“You’re driving through fields and fields and fields. Then, you finally pull up and you get out of the car and you walk over this crest, and then it all makes sense,” Davis said.

From then on, Davis and Jack kept returning to film concerts and the people who attended them. “Enormous: The Gorge Story” was filmed over the course of six years.

The documentary was supposed to release last year, but the pandemic made them delay the release date.

“This is a community event, this is something that’s meant to be on a big screen after all it’s called ‘Enormous.’ We wanted to hold out for that and I’m glad we did,” Jack said.

The Gorge will reopen next Friday, starting off the three-day Watershed festival. Jack said it is perfect timing for the movie to finally be released ahead of the Gorge opening up once again.

The movie will only be in theaters for one day nationwide. In some places, it’ll play for two days. Tickets are available here.