The vision for Coachman Park started at the turn of the century, with one of the founders of the Clearwater area, Edward Horace Coachman, who along with his brother S.S. owned most of the land in downtown Clearwater. In 1943, Edward sold a large parcel of land to the City of Clearwater with the stipulation that part of it would be used for a public waterfront park and library for residents to enjoy. The City of Clearwater brought this dream to fruition and in November 1957, a band shell was built in the park, which began the city’s musical legacy.
Since the band shell’s inception, Coachman Park has become home to both Clearwater Jazz Holiday and Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, leaving major footprints that bring people worldwide to Clearwater. Due in large parts to these incredibly successful events, it has become hard to ignore that Clearwater is now a nationally recognized hub for both jazz and blues music scenes, which in turn has created iconic events starring a wide variety of musical artists that continues to contribute to the city and Florida’s musical legacy.
This ripple effect inspired the City of Clearwater’s Imagine Clearwater campaign in 2016. The plan included a permanent and larger concert venue, updated public art spaces and improved green space, as well as a gateway plaza and bluff connecting the park to downtown. The local community voiced all of these components of the new vision.
Moving forward with their venue plans, in May 2022, the Clearwater City Council selected Ruth Eckerd Hall to manage and operate the concert venue, continuing Ruth Eckerd Hall’s legacy of providing high-quality entertainment to the Tampa Bay area.
The name for the new venue, “The Sound,” was officially announced on March 8, 2023.
The weeklong Grand Opening Celebration of Coachman Park will take place June 28 through July 4 and includes a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Wednesday, June 28 at 5 pm. A variety of concerts will take place on The Sound stage during that week and will continue throughout the inaugural year.