New efforts in place to improve Mud Island Amphitheater

New efforts in place to improve Mud Island Amphitheater

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The last concert held at the Mud Island Amphitheater was in 2018 -- now there's an effort to bring new life to the facility.

The Mud Island Amphitheater has sat idle for years.

It opened in 1982 and was once a thriving venue with regular shows and concerts.

“You can see it’s built out of concrete, and these things age and they weather and there’re a number of structural issues with it,” said George Abbott with Memphis River Parks Partnership.

The amphitheater is now outdated -- from the roof being too low, to a small concession area and old bleachers.

Abbott admits the amphitheater needs a renovation.

He says MRPP has been working with firms to get estimates of what it would cost to revitalize the area.

“You’ve got your $2 million in essentially structural upgrades -- the estimate then is probably a further $8 to $10 million to make it a competitive venue,” he said.

However Jerred Price, President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, feels the Mud Island Amphitheater hasn’t been a priority for MRPP.

He created a committee dedicated to saving the amphitheater.

"What DNA wanted to do was basically gather the people's voice, let people have input on their amphitheater, on their city parks and really restore a venue that's beloved and brings people together," he said.

Price says the committee is made up of developers, business owners and residents.

“These people are the pieces of the puzzle that are going to be able to put their minds and their money together and come up with that $2 to $4 million that it’s going to take,” Price said.

Price says he and his team will are working to get public input on how to best bring the amphitheater to life.

"We hope to have concerts here, redo the seating a little bit, get some minor upgrades in, repaint and then also find a corporate sponsor that can put their logo across the amphitheater," Price said.

Abbott says COVID-19 will likely change the future of live entertainment, and the Memphis River Park Partnership is open to what that could look like.

“We appreciate anyone who comes with ideas, with suggestions, with things to do... not just on Mud Island, but anywhere on the river front,” Abbott said.

Abbott and Price said they haven’t talked with one another about their ideas for the Mud Island Amphitheater, but both said they would be open to it.

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