Country "under the stars" (copy)

Music fans filled the BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove when Kacey Musgraves, Alison Krauss and Union Station and Willie Nelson and Family kicked off the Summer Concert Series in 2014. 

The City of Southaven recently moved in a new direction with the signing of a three-year contract agreement for a new concert provider at the BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove.

The outdoor concert facility will be represented by the Live Nation Entertainment’s Mississippi-Louisiana office, based in New Orleans, La.

The agreement marks the first time a firm other than Green Machine Concerts has provided the musical entertainment to play at the Amphitheater since it first opened in 2006.

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite said a Request For Proposals was issued when the city could not reach agreement with Green Machine on a new deal. Live Nation was selected from the proposals that were received.

“We believe that with Live Nation’s large network of touring contracts, we’ll be able to bring some of the best artists that are out there to Southaven,” Musselwhite said.

Live Nation will pay Southaven $200,000 per year for use of the amphitheater and the box office. The city will get $1.50 per ticket sold and 20 percent of VIP sales.

The amphitheater is required to provide a minimum of eight concerts per year and assume all responsibility of productions.

“We expect that there will be much more than the eight concert minimum in years two and three of the contract,” Musselwhite said.

The three-year contract allows Live Nation to plan beyond one year its concert productions for the outdoor concert venue, Musselwhite said.

“Three years is generally the time frame to plan events,” he said. “A lot of concerts are planned more than a year out.”

It’s expected the variety of performances will fit what the concert-going public wants to hear.

“They’ve already announced that Kenny Chesney is coming, but country always does well here,” Musselwhite said. “They’ve already released that John Fogarty and ZZ Top are coming. They’ll do a mix of country and hopefully others we’ve never had here before, more current and trendy artists, as well.”

That’s not to say Green Machine did not do that during their time with the Amphitheater. Artists like Willie Nelson, Bret Michaels, Luke Bryan, Steve Miller Band and Foreigner, along with Steve Martin came to Southaven with Green Machine providing the entertainment.

“Some artists prefer indoor venues and and then there’s some artists that enjoy getting into the amphitheater tour,” said Musselwhite. “The city in the contract does retain authority to approve or disapprove all events.”

It’s expected that with the new connection with Live Nation, Southaven will continue its role in attracting top-flight musical talent to its facility.

“We want to improve the entertainment value of our city, so our amphitheater with those types of events brings an entertainment value to our citizens that they will appreciate,” Musselwhite noted. “It also improves the tourism appeal of our city.”

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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