By Diane Larche’
It’s been a hot summer in Atlanta and the outdoor concerts at the amphitheater have been very popular!
Amphitheaters have been popping up throughout the metro area in recent years with the newest in Dekalb County, the Dekalb Rainbow Park Amphitheater at 1831 Rainbow Drive adjacent to the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center. It opened a few months ago on May 14 with performances by Atlanta-based Broadway actress and recording artist Jennifer Holiday and trumpeter Joey Sommerville. It seats 1,000 people, cost $1.7 million to build, and was led by Dekalb Commissioners Larry Johnson and Lorraine Cochran Johnson who worked with Dekalb’s Department of Community Development to fund it. The opening performance was produced by choreographer, director and producer Stepp Stewart and drummer and musical director J Fly.
Across town on the west side, the Mable House Barnes Amphitheater, started by former Governor Roy Barnes in 2000 and costing $7 million to build, is probably the busiest venue in the city with major R&B and Hip Hop entertainment. Located in Mableton, Georgia, it seats 2,500 people, including 200 plus covered VIP tables, 1,200 covered patio tables and approximately 1,000 seats on the uncovered lawn. The room design allows participants to have a good view of the stage no matter where they are seated.
Leading the way with many sold-out weekend concerts from A-list artists, much of the Mable House Amphitheater program is sponsored by Cobb County Ford car dealership Steve Ewing and his Wade Ford concert series. Parking is free and coolers and picnic baskets are allowed.
This Saturday, August 6, Jonathan Butler, Najee and Ken Ford are in concert. The following Saturday, August 13, Baby Face graces the stage. Many may not know that Baby Face is the author of songs recorded by many artists including Bobby Brown, Toni Braxton, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston and he often performs at his concerts, songs he wrote and which have been made famous by others. His catalog is major and his two-hour concert could last many more with all the material he has in his repertoire.
Others are scheduled at the Mable House Amphitheatre, a venue that has already been the venue this season to see Boney James, Norman Brown, Rakim, KRS One, Dru Hill, Average White Band, Raheem Devaugh Jeffrey Osborne, Freddie Jackson, Stokley, Angie Stone, Brian McKnight, is Musiq Soul Child, Chrisette Michelle, Big Danny Kane, Slick Rick, Chubb Rock, Taylor Dayne, Brian Cubertson and Gerald Albright, are shows featuring Musiq Soulchild on August 20, Damien Escobar on August 20 , War and the Ohio Players, 9; The Delfonics, August 28; Regina Belle and Incognito on September 9, Kirk Whalum on October 1, and Zapp on October 15.
About a year ago the town of Stockbridge opened its amphitheater with a concert by Patti Labelle and Gladys Night. In October last year Chaka Khan and Freddie Jackson were in concert and this season Sheila E, Morris Day and the Times and Midnight Star have performed. A few weeks ago, TV legend Jimmy Walker hosted a show with Philadelphia crooners Stylistic, Delphonics, Blue Notes, Enchantment and Heatwave. On the upcoming program, Rick Springfield this Saturday Fantasia. and Johnny Gill Saturday August 13 (Sold Out) and a second additional night on Sunday August 14. TI and Waka Flocka Flame are here on September 16. Parking is chargeable and the open air 3,200 seats.
The 6,900-seat Chastain Park Amphitheater, now called the Cadence Bank Amphitheatre, opened as the North Fulton Park Amphitheater in 1944 and is the oldest outdoor amphitheater in the Atlanta area. Located in Buckhead/Sandy Springs, it sits in the middle of a residential community. It is a large installation known for its guests who bring crystal and porcelain, candelabra and very elaborate decor. Traffic tends to bog in and out and the limited parking lots fill up quickly. Renovated several times over the years and with several name changes from Chastain to Delta Air Lines to today’s Cadence Bank, concerts normally sell out with performances like the recent Isley Brothers and Frankie Beverly and Maze.
The Cellairis Amphitheater in Lakewood opened in 1989 and cost $10 million to build with 18,920 seats. It is owned by the city of Atlanta and opened as the Coca Cola Amphitheater, then was renamed and now bears the name of the cellphone accessories company. The venue will host the OJays’ final tour with Gladys Knight on Saturday, August 6, and on August 24, Santana and Earth Wind and Fire will be performing there.
In 2018, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, which opened as the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in 2008 at Alpharetta in Encore Park, was renamed Ameris Bank Amphitheater. Owned by Live Nation, it is a popular 12,000-seat complex on the north side. The reserved places are covered and there is an open lawn. The performers are generally pop and rock and roll, such as the upcoming concert on August 31 with Rod Steward and performances by Stevie Nicks on October 12 and Pitt Bull on October 13.
The Wolf Creek Amphitheater is owned by the Fulton County government and is located on a 435-acre wooded site in South Fulton. The outdoor amphitheater seats 5,420 people with tables, reserved seating and lawn seating. The venue has been embroiled in major ownership battles and hasn’t staged the major concerts as it has in several years.
On the south side of the town of Jonesboro is Lee St. Park and Amphitheater. The town has a summer concert series with a live performance on Saturday August 6th.