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The Madison Record

The Orion holds first historic concert, gets ready for this weekend’s opening celebration

HUNTSVILLE – The highly anticipated opening of The Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville’s MidCity District culminated with the $40 million venue’s first show, the 33rd annual Huntsville Classic featuring Country superstar Jake Owen on Saturday.

Crowds packed the new entertainment venue to support the Foundation’s causes for the Huntsville Hospital System, which includes Madison Hospital. They also came to check out the much-talked about grand amphitheater that will now rocket to life with concerts and special events.

“Hosting the Huntsville Classic as The Orion Amphitheater’s inaugural event was meaningful in a multitude of ways,” said Ryan Murphy, The Orion Amphitheater General Manager. “Huntsville Hospital Foundation has done immeasurable work in our community. We’re thrilled that the Foundation and their guests will be among the first to experience The Orion.”

The event benefits Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. Proceeds will fund specialized pediatric services at the not-for-profit hospital, which serves children from across our growing region.

The Orion will officially celebrate its opening weekend May 13-15, with The First Waltz — a landmark event featuring many of music’s most beloved artists, all of whom have deep ties to the north Alabama region.

Across the momentous three-day event, there will be performances from The Aeolians of Oakwood University, Brittany Howard, Drive-by Truckers, Element XI, Emmylou Harris, Huntsville Community Drumline, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, John Paul White, Kelvin Wooten & Deqn Sue, Mavis Staples, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, The N.E.I.G.H.B.O.R.S., Translee and Waxahatchee.

The weekend will wrap on Sunday with an event featuring special performances from Huntsville’s own vibrant musical community hosted by Melody Shari and Dante Pride.

The opening weekend concerts will be followed up by The Dave Mathews Band on May 18.

Huntsville Venue Group (HVG), the management company for The Orion, hosted a media tour of the amphitheater on Friday as crews continued to work to g0t the new venue ready for first performance and this weekend’s concerts. CEO Ben Lovett and President and General Manager Ryan Murphy said people coming to the concerts will see an impressive facility, but that is also a work in progress as the construction wraps up on the finishing touches over the next few weeks.

“Be patient and follow the signs and directions as we get through the first few shows,” Lovett said. “At this point everything is theoretical until the first people walk through the gates, and we are going to keep working on the venue while being flexible to give people the best experience.”

Lovett said the experience visitors will receive within The Orion will be worth it. “There is not a bad seat in the house,” he said.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to theorionhuntsville.com.

Click here for a guide from the Huntsville-Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau on visiting The Orion.

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