February 7, 2019

Live Nation cements deal for Williamson County venue

The concert promoter and venue operator Live Nation will run a forthcoming amphitheater in Williamson County, to be built at the base of an old limestone quarry.

Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: LYV) has signed a deal with the husband-and-wife duo who own Graystone Quarry. Several public records recently filed with Williamson County reference a “revenue and expense sharing agreement” between the company and entities controlled by the McEacherns, who own the 133-acre property in the town of Thompson’s Station, south of Franklin.

The addition of Live Nation elevates the profile of Graystone Quarry, which opened in late 2016 as a wedding and events venue with plans for a 5,000-seat amphitheater. Last year, the town of Thompson’s Station approved a 50 percent boost to the amphitheater’s capacity, enlarging it to 7,500 seats, including a VIP area.

The concert venue is another amenity for a county that boasts among the highest median household income in the nation and a reputation for having high-quality public schools and being the region’s suburban corporate headquarters hub. Franklin’s growth has spilled south along Interstate 65, reflected both in the growth of Boyle Investment Co.’s immense Berry Farms mixed-use development and Thompson’s Station itself, whose population has doubled in the past five years to about 5,000 residents, according to town officials.

The deal accelerates Live Nation’s Nashville expansion, both in terms of venues and office personnel at the company’s local base in Edgehill Village, next to Music Row. Starting in 2014, Live Nation won bids to manage Metro’s Ascend Amphitheater on the downtown riverfront and Municipal Auditorium. The company also signed a deal to operate the amphitheater at The Woods at Fontanel, in Whites Creek. Live Nation also is now the controlling owner of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, in Manchester.

Graystone Quarry would rank as the third-largest performance venue in the region if it were open today — behind Bridgestone Arena and Municipal Auditorium, but ahead of Ascend and Fontanel.