Coran Capshaw’s Vision: Richmond’s New 7,500-Seat Amphitheater

by | May 23, 2023 | MUSIC

Ever chatted with musicians who’ve zigzagged across the country and popped the question, “Where do you love performing the most?” Odds are, somewhere at the top of their list, they’d gush about the iconic Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater in Colorado. The world’s only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater. It’s a consensus among the music scene that this spot is a magical place to serenade the masses.

Now we are not saying we will have Red Rocks 2.0 but we can dream right? Our city council has just okayed what will be our own entertainment amphitheater and it is coming our way in time for the concert season in 2025! This will be a colossal breakthrough for Richmond, a bonanza for both fans and performers alike. A 7,500 capacity venue is the logical next level for our vibrant local scene and a beacon for regional acts that have been sidestepping our city for other regional venues.

As reported by Richmond Bizsense, the brilliant minds behind the proposed Richmond Amphitheater announced on Monday that they’ve hammered out a performance grant agreement with the City of Richmond. And voila, our dream of a downtown riverfront venue is on track to become reality.

The Richmond City Council set the ball rolling with a meet on Monday night to introduce the agreement, a thrilling announcement from the group spearheaded by Coran Capshaws Red Light Ventures. The final seal of approval will come at a subsequent council meeting.

If all goes according to plan, and the council gives the thumbs up, the city has committed to a 20-year performance grant. This would be tied to the new real estate and admissions tax revenues spun off by the project, providing a much-needed financial cushion.

Construction is set to kick off this summer, ensuring that the amphitheater’s grand debut aligns with the 2025 season. The venue, with a whopping capacity of 7,500, aims to play host to 25 to 35 acts each year. What’s more, the city of Richmond and local nonprofits will have the opportunity to use this venue for civic events – we’re talking graduation ceremonies, public forums, and city-sponsored cultural events!

Richmond Amphitheater, Coran Capshaw
The outdoor amphitheater, designed to seat 7,500 people, is planned to occupy a 4-acre area positioned uphill from Tredegar.

Capshaw’s group will foot the $30 million bill for this ambitious project and lease a 4-acre site situated behind the Tredegar Iron Works complex from property owner NewMarket Corp.

Coran Capshaw, a stalwart of the music industry, has long nurtured the vision of creating a Richmond amphitheater. “Approval of the performance grant by City Council is the first step,” reveals the exciting announcement.

This 7,500-seat outdoor amphitheater will occupy a 4-acre site uphill from Tredegar. And Capshaw is no stranger to such ventures. He manages the Dave Matthews Band and has been at the helm of similar projects across the country. He’s the mastermind behind the Ting Pavilion, the 3,500-seat amphitheater on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, and his Red Light Management group also co-manages Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater.

The group is already drawing parallels between the size of the Richmond venue and Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater, as well as the Live Oak Bank Pavilion in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Richmond Amphitheater’s design includes three sections of seating – fixed, pit, and lawn – all facing a covered main stage.

The announcement quoted Capshaw praising Richmond for its vibrant arts and music scene, yet highlighting the unfortunate reality that, “for too many years, big-name artists have bypassed the city because it didn’t have a suitable venue.” Well, that’s about to change, and Capshaw believes that, “this spectacular location offers the ideal place to showcase and build upon the growing energy surrounding Richmond’s riverfront.”

Richmond Amphitheater, Coran Capshaw
The venue, designed to accommodate 7,500 attendees, will feature a variety of seating options including fixed seats, pit seating, and a lawn area, all oriented towards a covered central stage.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, commenting on the project, alluded to the amphitheater as “the Riverfront Performing Arts Venue”. He projected the venue would “attract tourism from across Virginia, enhance investments and revenue for our city, and provide patrons with endless entertainment opportunities. This amphitheater agreement is yet another example of Richmond’s strong economy.”

The new venue plans to honor the site’s historic features, including stonework along the canal and other ruins on the site that will be preserved. Current parking in the area is expected to accommodate the venue, keeping in line with the Richmond Folk Festival and other riverfront events.

Details of the amphitheater were first spilled by BizSense last summer. The initial plan was to strike a deal with the city last fall, but negotiations spilled into this year, hence the debut year was pushed to 2025. And now, Richmond, the countdown has begun!

Images courtesy 3North

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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