Plans submitted by Ben Lovett's Venue Group stable for a state-of-the-art new amphitheatre in Huntsville, Alabama have taken a major step forward with the award of key funding from the city council.
The 8,000-capacity venue is slated to open in 2022 and will be managed by Huntsville Venue Group (HVG), a partnership between the Mumford & Sons star and industry veterans Ryan Murphy, Mike Luba, Don Sullivan, Jeff Kicklighter and Al Santos.
Lovett already runs London venues Omeara and Lafayette, and the Huntsville development will mark his first foray into the US market.
We couldn't be more excited to be moving forward on this project
Ben Lovett, Venue Group
“We couldn’t be more excited to be moving forward on this project following the vote of confidence and green light from city council,” said Lovett. “Mayor [Tommy] Battle, alongside city administrator John Hamilton and city economic and urban development director Shane Davis, have displayed true commitment and resolve to deliver on this project that has been many years in the making. Myself and some of the team have been working on this since 2016.
"We do not take lightly the responsibility that has been bestowed upon us. Not only do we have the ability to deliver this for the people of Huntsville, we have the will and desire to add something meaningful to the landscape of a city I have fallen in love with over the past couple of years.”
As well as live music, Huntsville’s amphitheatre will host educational events and farmer’s markets, and will offer an opportunity for local businesses and government organisations to stage large-scale gatherings.
“From the outset our goal was to provide Huntsville with both qualitative and quantitative benefits from building an Amphitheater,” added Graham Brown, who leads on Venue Group’s developing projects. “Over the last year we've refined our approach to ensure the facility will add real value to the local community whilst also delivering financial returns to the City of Huntsville.
"By implementing a year-round programming and activation strategy we can ensure the facility will not only serve as a source of employment and a workforce recruitment tool, but also pays for itself through direct and indirect tax revenues. The city is investing in a public asset that will provide revenue to the city for years to come. We could not be more excited to bring this to life.”
Next to the amphitheatre, Huntsville Venue Group is working to develop a “food village” that will operate year round.
“One of the biggest trends in the past 10 years has been an elevation of the quality and variety of food offerings, especially around music," added Lovett. "We believe there is a huge amount of opportunity in the hospitality side of entertainment to deliver food and drinks of such excellence that they stand on their own two feet as an offering not simply as a way to 'tie you over', quench the thirst or satiate the hunger temporarily. We have to aspire for higher standards than that.
"One of the reasons that Huntsville was so appealing to myself and the team is it feels like going the extra mile is in the DNA of this city and we intend to go the extra mile when it comes to not just the concert experience but the restaurants and bars that lay adjacent and that will serve customers year round.”