The history of Middle Tennessee’s Starwood Amphitheatre


Starwood Amphitheatre | Image via Starwood Amphiteatre Memories

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With all the exciting news of new concert venues coming to Music City, our Facebook followers began reminiscing on days past at Middle Tennessee’s Starwood Amphitheatre.

In June 1986, Starwood Amphitheatre opened in Antioch as Middle Tennessee’s premier outdoor music venue.

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Budweiser ‘95 Concert Series featuring Eagles + 2005 Tom Petty concert poster | Image via Starwood Amphitheatre Memories

The $10 million, 65-acre amphitheatre was the idea of former Country Music Association CEO, Steve Moore, who wanted to attract major music events to Nashville. The venue could hold 17,000+ people and featured a main stage, covered pavilion + a large grassy area for general admission seating. It even included a small stage at the gate for local bands to greet guests as they entered.

Former local rock station WKDF’s fundraiser “One for the Sun” was Starwood’s first music event, taking place on the first day of summer (June 21, 1986). Featured performers included Blue Oyster Cult, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Lone Justice + more. Tickets cost $14.50 for reserved seating or $12.50 for general lawn admission.

Some of the earliest performers at Starwood included The Beach Boys, The Bangles, Duran Duran, Boston + Bob Dylan. Most recently, the stage hosted Mötley Crüe, Coldplay, Goo Goo Dolls, John Mayer + Steely Dan.

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“One for the Sun” announcement in 1986 newspaper clipping | Image via @remembering103kdfnashville

Over the years, Starwood saw several name changes including First American Music Center in the late 90s + AmSouth Amphitheatre in 2000 — before reverting to its original name in 2004.

In 2007, owner Live Nation abruptly announced that the remainder of that year’s season was cancelled + the venue would be closing permanently in anticipation of a potential buyer hoping to develop a mixed-use retail + residential development called Starwood Commons. (Spoiler alert: the sale fell through.)

Demolition to the venue began in the fall of that same year, leaving the once crowded concert arena in ruins for years.

To this day, many developers have proposed plans for the area, including a new concert venue in 2011, 500+ residential, office + retail spaces in 2018, and 3-part mixed-use development in February 2020.

While plans for the abandoned site remain unclear, we’d love to hear what you’d want to see at the site.

Don’t stop reminiscing yet — take a look at some fond memories of the beloved concert venue. ⬇️

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1989 New Kids On The Block tickets | Photo via @mintaburst

“I’ve got so many good memories from Starwood. Lollapalooza ‘93 was the best. And Van Halen 3 times, AIC 3 times, Ozzy… etc. I do miss that place.” –Bert W.

“You missed the good stuff if you missed Starwood.” –Doug C.

“I have some stories to tell about that place.” –Judy S.

“Original 1989 New Kids On The Block tickets: $26.50.” –@mintaburst


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