Coming Soon: Let There Be Rock
Introducing FirstBank Amphitheater
By Jason Zasky
In the distant past, Graystone Quarry was the source of limestone for the stretch of Interstate 65 that extends from Columbia to Nashville. In the near future, the reclaimed quarry will be the place to go for a different kind of rock—namely rock & roll and all other musical styles.
Set to open later this year, FirstBank Amphitheater—located at the I-65/840 split on 138 acres of picturesque acres—has been two-and-a-half years in the making. Or more, if you consider that owner Rick McEachern first purchased the property in 2014, at which point it had remained empty—and sometimes used as a construction dump site—for more than five decades.
“When my wife and I bought the place we did so with the idea of opening an event venue, as the back of the property is shaped kind of like an amphitheater,” offers McEachern, before adding that limestone from the quarry was mined between 1960-63, immediately after which the site was abandoned.
“It was a wild site, as nothing was done to the property in [more than] fifty years,” recalls McEachern, so the first step was to clean up and recycle nine hundred tons of rebar and construction debris. The McEacherns went on to create a variety of upscale event spaces, including venues for weddings, conferences, corporate events, and private parties. There is also a cottage on-site, which can be booked for wedding nights, bachelorette getaways, family vacations, or retreats.
In the meantime, “we started looking around and found there were no live entertainment options south of Nashville, and it seemed to be something that people really wanted,” says McEachern, who broached the idea to Live Nation Entertainment. “They quickly ‘got’ the vision and saw the potential and said, ‘Yeah, we’ll team up with you,’” he says.
The McEacherns visited many other existing amphitheaters and took the best ideas from each—then adapted those ideas to Graystone Quarry and its unique atmosphere. The result is an authentically Tennessee outdoor venue that has a look and experience all its own.
“The sound engineers who have done all the tests are super-excited,” relates McEachern, who promises that visitors can expect “a really cool outdoor environment, one capable of taking people to a different place,” where concertgoers will be able to enjoy a variety of local, national and internationally-recognized artists.
Visitors will also have a variety of options in terms of suites and seating, including two levels of cliffside suites that are built into the quarry’s limestone walls.
“The cliffside suites provide an elevated view of the stage and a really comfortable environment to enjoy a concert,” explains McEachern. Meanwhile, VIP box seats and VIP club seats are sold as season tickets, much like the cliffside suites.
“The rest of the seats are available on a per concert basis,” elaborates McEachern. “Upfront, we have fold-down seats, in the middle section, we have bench seats with backs, and in the back section, we have bench seating. So we offer different levels of comfort, convenience and price options,” he concludes, noting that everyone can enjoy the spacious plaza area, where visitors can purchase food and merchandise.
As for when the first concert will be held at the venue, McEachern says that has yet to be determined, but it will be “whenever fans seem ready to go to concerts and performers are ready to perform. End of summer is the time frame we are looking at right now,” he says.
In the meantime, season tickets for FirstBank Amphitheater can be purchased at Live Nation’s Premium Tickets site. Graystone Quarry and FirstBank Amphitheater are located at 4520 Graystone Quarry Lane in Thompson’s Station on Franklin’s southern border.
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