BRIDGEPORT – Live Nation concert promoter Jim Koplik is proud of the diverse musical groups that make up this first season of the city’s new 5,700-seat amphitheater.

But he and his on-site partner, developer Howard Saffan, acknowledged on Tuesday that rock mega-stars the Foo Fighters, who will be coming to town on September 17, are currently on a whole new level of success.

“We have a very diverse lineup, from hip hop and classic rock to oldies, country and pop,” said Koplik. “The Foo Fighters are bigger than a certain genre.”

In January, the multi-Grammy Award-winning group took part in the virtual celebration marking the inauguration of US President Joseph Biden. Then, in May, it was announced that they would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And in June, the Fighters performed in front of 15,300 spectators at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“It’s the highlight of the season,” said Saffan. “Not to play favorites, but it’s the most popular show we’re going to promote this year.”

“They have reached the level of the stadium and the level of the arena and the level of the major amphitheater,” Koplik said.

So how did they end up in Bridgeport’s ‘intimate boutique’ – Saffan’s favorite adjectives – Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater, which opened less than a month ago on July 28 after two years of construction and renovation. delays linked to the coronavirus pandemic?

“They were looking to add two shows on the east coast so the agent called me and I suggested a few places, including mentioning Bridgeport,” Koplik recalls. “So I sent them pictures and they fell in love with the place.”

He also credited his son, Jeremy, with helping book the group.

“I love their music but my son is a fan,” Koplik said.

In further touting the importance of welcoming the Fighters to Bridgeport, Koplik pointed out the other small Northeast attraction the group added to their tour on Tuesday – the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater outside of Syracuse, New York, which can accommodate 17,500 people.

“What he does is he blows up the site (Bridgeport) (and) makes it famous across North America. “The Fighters chose to play it,” Koplik said.

“This sets the tone for many more to come to Bridgeport,” said Saffan, who during construction had focused on providing behind-the-scenes equipment, arguing that if the talent was impressed enough by experience, the news would spread throughout the industry and bring more acts to town.

While the band members are now accustomed to entertaining crowds in the tens of thousands, the Fighters have not forgotten their more humble roots. Leader David Grohl was a strong supporter of the federal Save Our Stages Act, which offered economic relief to small independent music venues temporarily closed due to the global COVID-19 crisis.

The appearance of the Foo Fighters here will also mark, according to Koplik, another, more serious first not only for the amphitheater but for Live Nation concerts in Connecticut. Reflecting that the pandemic is far from over, at the group’s request, members of the public, as has been the case with other recent Fighters broadcasts, must show proof that they are vaccinated against COVID -19 or tested negative for disease within 48 hours of performing.

The Foo Fighters were also among the performers on the acclaimed Global Citizen’s Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite The World in Los Angeles, Calif., In May, which promoted vaccinations nationally and globally.

While such a policy has started to gain traction in the entertainment world – with Broadway theaters and, locally, the Westport Country Playhouse adopting similar vaccination requirements – it has not been mandated in Connecticut nor universally. adopted here by the private sector.

Both Koplik and Saffan noted that otherwise, the amphitheater follows current Connecticut coronavirus guidelines and will continue to do so.

They also asked Fighters fans to have more patience as it will take longer to get into the gig.

“We will start the show at 8 pm. We normally open the doors at 7 pm. We will open at 5:30 pm to give people the opportunity to come early and show vaccination cards or proof of negative tests,” he said. said Koplik. . “It will take longer.

When asked if he expected this to be the concert trend in the coming months due to the blocking of vaccinations and the rise of the more dangerous Delta variant of COVID, Koplik said: “I think it’s too early to tell.”

“The state has really done a great job of getting vaccines on the arms of its residents,” Koplik said. “If it’s going to happen, it will happen later than most other states. “

Saffan said Hartford Healthcare, which purchased the naming rights to the amphitheater earlier this year and owns St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, will host a vaccination clinic at the site on August 25.

“We strongly encourage people to get vaccinated,” he said.