AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin is expanding its concert draw with a new venue, Austin 360 Amphitheater . It's located at Circuit of The Americas in eastern Travis County.
Thunderstorms delayed the finishing touches this week, but crews were hard at work Thursday. The first show of the summer concert season kicks off Friday night. Concession stands, bars, seating and the stage were getting their final touches.
"When you stand here and look out on the venue, it's really a great setup," said Paul Thornton, president of Tag Presents. "To have a 14,000 capacity but have it feel this intimate, it's a great feeling. Everyone's going to be really close to the stage."
It's a set-up bringing new big acts to Austin like Kenny Chesney and the Dave Matthews Band.
"Live Music Capital of the World and we didn't have the biggest names for the most part coming through," said Thornton. "Even with the Erwin Center, it's the same size if not a little larger than here, but indoor tours play indoor arenas and outdoor tours go play amphitheaters."
Promoters say balancing acts between two large venues like the Erwin Center and Austin 360 Amphitheater comes down to what the artists prefer, scheduling and ticket prices.
"If you know how to schedule them properly and you work on pricing you can do both pretty successfully," said Bob Roux, co-president of North America Concerts at Live Nation. "Hopefully what we can do is bring a diversified lineup of entertainment every year where people get to see band they want in their hometown."
Austin already does $800 million a year in music tourism. With more big names coming through and now two large venues, the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau expects that number to grow.
"It's business so all business is competitive but we think we have the demand because of the population growth here and because of our growth in the visitor industry," said Bob Lander, president and CEO of Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
The metro area has a few venues for shows that are too big for clubs, but not big enough for an arena.
- Cedar Park Center holds 8,700 fans for concerts.
- The Backyard in west Travis County holds 7,500 in its outdoor venue.
- In Austin, Austin Music Hall can handle up to 4,600 people.
- The ACL Live venue has room for more than 2,700 fans.
The first concert at the Austin 360 Amphitheater is Kenny Chesney Friday night. Gates open at 6 p.m. The pre-party show, Micky and the Motorcars, start at 6:15 p.m. in the Grand Plaza. The concert starts at 8 p.m.
There are 25,000 parking spots at COTA , more than enough to cover a sold out concert. You can buy your parking ticket in advance. A tip for first-timers, take Elroy Road not FM 812 to the amphitheater. Thornton says Elroy Road is the fastest way in and out of the venue.
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