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America’s Next Big Shed

01:01 PM Wednesday 8/1/12 |   |

Live Nation recently announced it was awarded a booking agreement for an amphitheatre to debut in Austin, Texas, prior to the 2013 summer concert season. Turns out, there’s something special about this shed, and LN’s Bob Roux was happy to elaborate.

The 15,000-capacity Tower Amphitheatre is the first shed of its size to be built in the U.S. in a long time (for example, the new Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre is 7,200 capacity and White Oak Amphitheatre in Greensboro, N.C., is 7,500).

But at a time when the few new sheds going up are streamlined and sometimes without lawns, the Tower Amphitheatre will have something going for it that should bring in the crowds traditionally associated with outdoor events.

“The amphitheatre itself is located on a near-1,000-acre site, which is home to Circuit of the Americas, America’s new and only Formula 1 racetrack,” said Roux, Live Nation’s president of North American Concerts, South Division. “We were fortunate enough, and Circuit of the Americas saw the demand for such a venue, and in an attractive market such as Austin, which has long been on our list as a market we felt could support a venue of this type.”

Circuit of the Americas is expected to debut in November, becoming the annual host for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. It will be the first all-purpose Grand Prix facility in the country designed for races from motor power to human power, with a 3.4-mile circuit track its centerpiece. The site will also have a conference center, banquet hall and a medical facility, along with amenities like a kart track and trackside recreational vehicle park.

And because of the acreage of COTA, one of the features of the Tower Amphitheatre will be the ample parking – a welcome addition to any outdoor venue.

“One of the benefits to this particular site is parking to accommodate much larger audiences for motor-sport events,” Roux said. “We have plentiful onsite parking and we expect the ingress and egress to work very well. A lot of times when amphitheatres were developed, there was just enough parking and in some cases shy of the necessary parking required. Sometimes we were relying upon neighbors or other businesses.”

Live Nation has been championing an outdoor facility for Austin for some time, and consulted with COTA on the correct capacity for the market. The shed will include 6,700 reserved seats, with the front rows removable for an optional 2,500-capacity GA section. It will also include a 251-foot observation tower.

Roux touted its flexibiity for intimate, 6,700-capcity shows versus a centerpiece for a multi-day music festival.

“With 15,000 capacity, we should be able to book the largest summer artists that are on tour that are playing the Texas market,” he said. “I generally think about what we’ve booked in the amphitheatres in Houston and Dallas over the last several years and the Austin market doesn’t compete with either of those two, so I like to think a lot of the acts will play well in Austin as well.”

Although Roux is point person for the venue and the one who primarily brought it online, staffing should be formalized as the debut draws near.


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