City Council Approves Funding for Amphitheater

Huntsville’s ascent into the global music circuit took another step forward with City Council approval to proceed with plans to build a new 8,000-plus seat amphitheater.

Council voted 3-1​ Thursday to authorize the city’s Public Building Authority to move into the construction phase to build a classic Roman-style forum within a municipal park near the MidCity development.

The amphitheater project has been under development for the past several years, garnering public interest and support through the Mayor’s Music Initiative and citywide music audit in 2018. The amphitheater is being designed with amenities to support top talent and to showcase community events such as farmer’s markets, a food hall, craft fairs, educational events and the like. By locating the venue in a new City park, the forum will be accessible to the public year-round.

“This facility will help us grow our music and culture economy,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “It will allow us to become a community of curators, where we can develop our own creative content, unique to Huntsville, that we can share globally.

“In addition to arts festivals, markets, and world-famous musicians, we’ll be able to incubate our own talent, showing that our next great entrepreneurs don’t all have to be in space and missile defense.”

To manage the amphitheater and develop its programming, the city retained the Huntsville Venue Group, a global entertainment and hospitality partner with operations in London, Austin and New York.  The organization is led by Ben Lovett of the British band Mumford & Sons, in partnership with industry veterans Mike Luba, Don Sullivan, Jeff Kicklighter and Al Santos.

“It is, by far, one of the greatest milestones in my professional career to be such an integral part of this amazing project for the City of Huntsville,” said Ryan Murphy, president of HVG. “By design and execution, the Huntsville Amphitheater is going to help write the future of Huntsville, not only in terms of music, arts and culture, but also in its ability to create such tremendous creative and communal space that is inclusive, diverse, progressive and inspiring … this is just the beginning.”

The amphitheater is expected to open in early 2022. The estimated $40 million construction budget will be funded through the city’s capital plan and a percentage of future lodging taxes.

“Huntsville’s Amphitheater will set the stage to spotlight our city, our culture, and our talent on a global level,” said City Council President Devyn Keith. “I have full confidence in the Huntsville Venue Group and their commitment to ensure the Huntsville community and spirit is integrated into the DNA of the facility. From community programming to opportunities for local artists, this is a space that will be created for all of Huntsville.

“Moving forward with construction is a clear signal of Huntsville’s strong economy as we ensure we’re laying the groundwork for workforce recruitment, quality of life and job opportunity for our citizens for years to come.”