To create something enormous takes vision, dedication and lots of teamwork. So is the story of the Gorge Amphitheatre and the reason why it could never be told in just a few words or by one person. Thus writer and director Nic Davis could have never made ENORMOUS: The Gorge Story without the collaboration of producer Tim Williams along with cinematographer Jeff Hammerton and the several story-tellers interviewed to make this project a reality. To appreciate the present Gorge Amphitheatre, one must most definitely understand it's past.
It was 1980 when neurosurgeon Vince Bryan II and his wife Carol purchased land off the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state to realize their dream of building a winery. The location was idea for growing grapes but the views were spectacular. They named their site the "Champs de Brionne". Years later it would be known as "Summer Music Theater".
In the mid-1980s the Bryan's began producing their wines but their location was very secluded. They needed people to come and share their product but being at least 150 miles outside of Seattle, Washington in a rural part of Eastern Washington they needed help to attract visitors and clients. By happen-chance, the Bryan's were with friends walking their property at a high-point where one could see the Columbia River winding in the Valley. While Vince stayed atop of the site, Carol and the girlfriends decided to go down to the edge of the cliff through what they called "the bowl" because that's what the terrane looked like. Vince was surprised to notice that as the women got further and further away he could still hear every word of the their conversation as if they were standing next to each other. This phenomenon was their first introduction of the incredible natural acoustics the bowl provided. Vince recalls, "The amphitheater was preparing itself to be an amphitheater, all of its life."
In the late 1980s, the Bryan's thought if they could provide a cool musical experience at their fabulous winery it would attract the visitors they were looking for. The Summer Music theater was born due to the efforts of their whole family (children included) handing out pamphlets advertising the unique experience of wine tasting, exceptional live music at the most amazing natural amphitheater in Washington. A movement that grew into The Gorge Amphitheatre was born and its popularity took off.
The Bryan's knew they needed help if it was to succeed at a live musical hot-spot so they reached out to Seattle's famous concert promoter, Ken Kinnear. The collaboration was the winning ticket and soon Bryan's country vineyard evolved into the a new and improved entertainment venue known as The Gorge. Davis says, "Through their combined expertise and passion, major acts b Egan playing in what would become a very long, powerful and star-studded performance list." Davis add, "Monumental performers like Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan put the The Gorge on the map as a top musical venue."
Davis tells an amazing story that evolved from a grass-roots desire to 'share-the-wealth' of the Washington's beautiful countryside, wine and music with whosoever will. This did not develop over night but what enormous story of value and significance does? Davis interviews countless fans and musicians who were the ones to develop The Gorge and to showcase a musical love-story from a dream to a reality, known as one of the world's most iconic venues.
Today the venue is home to many different types of music festivals and has an every growing family of fans and supporters that share experiences that have been and will continue to be life-changing.
Davis concludes, "The Gorge has become a setting where people from around the world come to be a part of something collective, powerful and real." The mission of Davis, Williams and Hammerton as filmmakers was to explore the impact and significance of The Gorge and what figure out what makes it tick. In the words of the famed musician Dave Matthews, "there's just no place like it in the world."