Many parks have venues to showcase live music, from big concert venues to small bandstands. Music in amusement parks and theme parks has always been a key part of the ambiance and atmosphere of fun.

For the 1999 season, Great Adventure declared a "War on Lines" adding 25 new rides throughout the park with many filling in small lesser used sites. The space between the Great Lake Grandstand and Fort Independence stadium (Aqua Spectacle) had been a small nautically themed area which was home to the S.S.Flags sailboat.  As part of the massive ride expansion, the sailboat's site was turned into the home of the new Time Warp ride.
The Time Warp ride was short lived and was removed at the end of the 2001 season.  For the 2002 season the park ran a "Summer of Festivals" in the area along the Lake Front, and the former Time Warp site became home to the Festival Stage. 

The simple wooden stage covered the Time Warp's concrete footers and was fitted with a canopy which could be raised and lowered on the four support columns. The Time Warp's two operator booths for the dual ride also remained toward the back of the stage with the intention of being used as sound booths for the musical acts. 

 Ever changing acts highlighting the music of the culture being celebrated during the Summer of Festivals that week would perform here while nearby temporary stands and foot outlets would help carry the theme. 
After the 2002 season, the stage was used for other events and entertainment.  Throughout the summers the stage was used for small concerts and performances and each year at Fright Fest it became home to shows and performers as part of the Halloween events in the park.

For several seasons the Festival Stage was home to "Live and Local", featuring up and coming bands from all around the Tri-State area and for Fright Fest it transitioned to "Dead and Local."
As the heavily wooded section near the Festival Stage offered a picnic grove-like setting, the area in front of the Festival Stage was often used for special events, with the stage being used as a part of the festivities.
Often for Fright Fest a couple of different sets were built to use as backdrops on the Festival Stage. One was a mausoleum backdrop, and another was a spooky house set.

Over the years the covering on the roof was replaced as the sun and weather took its toll on the material.  Replacement was made easy with the entire roof structure lowered to ground level for easy access.  The covering was removed and the roof frame lowered each off season and to prepare for storms.

The Festival Stage was simple, but served its purposes year after year.  It was the perfect venue for showcasing acts which were too large for the park's Liberty Square Gazebo but not yet popular enough to pull in a crowd that would even begin to fill the Northern Star Arena (aka The Great Arena).

After 13 seasons, the Festival Stage was demolished along with the adjoining ski and aqua stadiums in August of 2015 in preparation for the arrival of The Joker coaster in 2016. The show venues had all reached the end of their useful lives in the park and they were removed with the idea of redevelopment of the Lake Front area in future seasons. 
Original Spotlight:  September 18, 2021.  GAH Reference#:  SHOW-2002-001