Area leaders celebrate “The Orion” amphitheater ahead of highly anticipated opening weekend
Read special coverage of the opening of The Orion in Wednesday’s issue of The Madison Record.
HUNTSVILLE – A groundbreaking Huntsville venue years in the making will debut to the public this weekend with the kickoff of The First Waltz at MidCity District.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle joined U.K.-based music venue developer and operator tvg hospitality, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, MidCity District and other leaders on Friday, May 13, for a grand opening of The Orion Amphitheater. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, tvg hospitality CEO and Mumford & Sons member Ben Lovett led a guided media tour of the 8,000-seat facility with General Manager Ryan Murphy.
“As The First Waltz nears, we are blown away by The Orion Amphitheater, which will undoubtedly help our music and culture economy grow,” Mayor Battle said. “Every aspect of the design and construction of The Orion was done with musicians, artists, creators and audience members in mind to create a space that showcases just how special Huntsville is.”
Supported by the City of Huntsville and Public Building Authority, the Roman-style venue located within Apollo Park will provide world-class concerts and cultural experiences throughout the year, including farmers markets, art exhibits, educational events and opportunities to stage large-scale gatherings.
“We have the attention of the world right now having built this, along with a lot of touring artists from around the world and people in the industry, so all eyes on Huntsville,” said Murphy. “There’s such a long history of great music and culture here in North Alabama, and today we get to write that next chapter. That feels really exciting.”
The Orion Amphitheater is a primary pillar of Mayor Battle’s Music Initiative, which aims to grow the City’s music ecosystem and spur music-related strategic planning initiatives and economic opportunities. City leaders hope the venue will also create hundreds of jobs at the amphitheater as well as nearby restaurants and retailers.
In 2019, the City hired Sound Diplomacy to conduct an audit to assess the strengths and opportunities of Huntsville’s music economy. Mayor Battle also appointed a nine-member Music Board in 2020 and hired the City’s first-ever Music Officer, Matt Mandrella, in 2022.
Mandrella expects The Orion will put Huntsville on the map as a regional destination for music fans.
“This first-rate amphitheater is key to making Huntsville a true music city that not only supports big-name musicians, but also becomes part of the fabric of our local community,” he said. “This weekend’s events mark a significant milestone in Huntsville’s journey to expand its reach culturally and economically.”
The Orion, which hosted its inaugural concert with country music star Jake Owen on May 7, will welcome numerous well-known musicians for The First Waltz, May 13-15. From Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit to Emmylou Harris to Brittany Howard, the three-day experience will spotlight artists across a variety of musical genres.
The event will wrap up Sunday with special performances by a myriad of local performers, including The Aeolians of Oakwood University, Deqn Sue & Kelvin Wooten, Translee, Huntsville Community Drum Line, Element XI and The N.E.I.G.H.B.O.R.S.
Click here to grab weekend or individual tickets to The First Waltz and other shows from critically acclaimed artists around the world.
– From the city of Huntsville