Outdoor concerts to be property’s main entertainment offerings

If you don’t buy a concert ticket, you can always be hungry at a strategic hour.

Almost every other feature of the M Resort, including the coffee shop, is designed around the centerpiece three-acre pool area and its outdoor stage.

The Villaggio del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza is the largest permanent outdoor venue since Mandalay Bay opened with Mandalay Beach a decade ago. And it’s even more noteworthy because outdoor concerts will be the property’s main entertainment. There is no indoor showroom, or any big plans to host ticketed concerts in the 220-seat lounge.

"Once you get committed that you’re going to do concerts, building the outdoor stage is the cheap part," says Anthony Marnell III, M’s chief executive officer.

Most locals-oriented casinos opt to set up outdoor staging for select concert weekends. But "setting it up and taking it down is very costly," Marnell says. He was more of a mind to "Do it once, do it right and it’s there, it becomes part of the setting. … It’s just a part of the landscape."

The 1,500-square-foot stage can be covered and rented out as a very large pool cabana, or it can be a DJ station for parties. Besides, "It’s such a big area that if I didn’t put something there, the area would look a little bare," he says of the stage that uses the Las Vegas skyline as a backdrop.

The pool area is big enough to host about 6,000 people all seated in a tiered layout, though the majority of acts will lean toward general admission and smaller capacities, Marnell says. Permanent dressing rooms are next to the stage, and everything is prewired for broadcast, giving the property the ability to televise events throughout the casino.

The operators of Blush nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas will operate locals-oriented pool parties called Daydream in the private pool area to the east of the main pool, starting in April.

Marnell acknowledges the major drawback is losing ticketed shows in the winter. But he plans outdoor programming through September, with an initial push to have "a major event every single weekend" this spring.

Inside, the Ravello Lounge will offer free live bands in a variety of genres, with an outdoor patio offering another view of the pool area and the Strip. The resort offers even more elevated sight lines at its summit Veloce Cibo and Bar Veloce, which "may become a little more of an ultralounge, but not a nightclub" after 10 p.m., Marnell says.

A lobby bar with live piano music is poised between two restaurants, the Terzetto steakhouse and Marinelli’s Italian.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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