Tuscaloosa Amphitheater offers diverse entertainment for guests

The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater focuses on providing entertainment to the city while enhancing guest experience in each show.

By Laura Pilat
News Reporter

The sky was a hazy gray as the venue became a sea of ponchos when it began to sprinkle in the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. The clash of country meets rock ’n’ roll attire was underneath the transparent outerwear while the crowd waited for Brantley Gilbert’s performance March 24.

Laura May, an attendee to the event, sat among the crowd awaiting one of her favorite childhood country artists. It would be her sixth time watching him perform, and she was prepared to sing along for each song. With her best friend by her side, they double-checked their view in the lower pavilion section and were ready.

As the show grew closer toward the end of the performance, May recognized the beginning to her favorite song “The Boys.”

“I liked how he played his older songs,” May said. “It’s from one of his first albums, and he doesn’t normally play them anymore so that made me really happy.”

The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater opened April 2, 2011. Since then, they’ve had a variety of performances dedicated to providing entertainment to the citizens of Tuscaloosa, said Michelle Smart, the community engagement manager for the city of Tuscaloosa.

The venue is near downtown Tuscaloosa, within walking distance to popular shops and restaurants as well as the University of Alabama campus. Located behind the amphitheater is the Black Warrior River, which provides a unique atmosphere. May said the outdoor venue sets them apart from others, and believes it provides better sound quality for the performance.

However, the weather can have the biggest impact on the success of a performance. Based on previous events, the amphitheater has found that weather can determine the turnout more than a certain genre of music or artist.

In order to find the artists, Tuscaloosa Amphitheater works with a production company. The company handles the marketing and they work with the booking agents who recruit and seek out talent for them.

Smart said their main focus is on all the citizens of the area, which is why it’s important for them to make sure there is diversity in the acts they bring. They want to make sure there is something for everyone.

Well-known country artist Kenny Chesney was one of the first concerts she attended working with the venue. It has become her most memorable event because of the energetic crowd and performance.

“It’s fun to see people enjoy themselves at the amphitheater,” Smart said. “We are always looking to have a better season than the last.”

The next event, known as Funkaloosa, will take place April 7 at 7 p.m. Performances will be by George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Morris Day & The Time and Sheila E.

“Our focus is on making sure the citizens of Tuscaloosa have something to do here, and that they have a good experience when visiting us,” Smart said. “We are city employees, so we are public servants. I think that carries through when you have a venue like this.”