New Orion Amphitheater Transforms Huntsville into Top Music City

image of concert from the stage

Explosive Huntsville development brings new meaning to the nickname “Rocket City.”

Exciting new dining, apartment, shopping and recreation options are popping up all over Huntsville, attracting national headlines and rocketing the city up to No. 1 on the U.S. News & World Report’s prestigious Best Places to Live list.

Huntsville is teeming with possibility, and families are taking note. The metro’s high quality of life, low median housing costs and groundbreaking new development make it the perfect relocation destination.

One of the city’s most highly anticipated developments is The Orion Amphitheater. This new music venue has the potential to bring even more jobs, families, energy and status to the greater Huntsville area. Here’s what to know about The Orion, its legendary opening and its anticipated impact on Huntsville.

Inside The Orion Amphitheater

The Orion Amphitheater was an ambitious $40-million project to build an 8,000-capacity outdoor venue in the heart of Huntsville. Taking inspiration from famous music destinations like Denver’s Red Rocks and Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre, The Orion is poised to become a must-have tour spot for every major artist.

The venue combines the technological capabilities of a stadium stage with intimate seating, staggered to ensure every seat has an unobstructed view of the stage. Beyond the stage, The Orion also has a bustling food village with a specialty bar for nearly every drink — beer, wine, vodka, whiskey, hard seltzers, rum and mezcal.

And there’s perhaps no better place for The Orion than its spot in the MidCity District. The MidCity District transformed land previously held by a regional mall into a hub of community, art, technology, food — and now, music. The amphitheater will now sit beside other long-awaited developments such as Top Golf, High Point Climbing and Trader Joe’s.

The Historic Opening Weekend

The Orion opened in May 2022 with The First Waltz, an inaugural festival featuring a show-stopping lineup of artists with ties to the Alabama area. Three-day passes sold out quickly, and the weekend attracted a packed house — more than 7,000 visitors, according to WAYYTV.

The celebration showcased national, regional and local talent, including Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Brittany Howard and Waxahatchee. The First Waltz successfully established that Huntsville’s music scene is a force to be reckoned with, and this is only the beginning.

Featured Concerts, Events and Activities

The Orion has already attracted musicians who have never held a concert in Huntsville before, such as the Dave Matthews Band and Jack White. The upcoming-event calendar also spotlights Keith Sweat, Chris Stapleton, The Black Keys and other famous artists.

Even with the packed music calendar, the venue also plans to hold community events for anyone to enjoy. Farmer’s markets, educational events and art exhibits will soon make their way to The Orion’s stage.

Residents can also get their steps in at Apollo Park, the 40-acre fairground outside the venue for exercising, adventuring, climbing or dining.

What This Means for Huntsville’s Future

The Orion is opening a new chapter in Huntsville’s music history and marking the beginning of a new era for the fast-growing city. The City of Huntsville reported that The Orion could generate nearly $5 million in ticket revenue alone in the first year. ​​When you calculate the additional impact of the attached restaurants and bars, that projection becomes even higher.

The venue will also add hundreds of new jobs to Huntsville’s already-hot job market and motivate more families to move to the area by improving the city’s quality of life. Mayor Tommy Battle reportedly said The Orion can help diversify Huntsville’s industries by “showing that our next great entrepreneurs don’t all have to be in space and missile defense.”

Though monumental for the area, The Orion is only one small sample of the buzz surrounding Huntsville. The Orion is not the first revolutionary development to open in Rocket City, and it certainly won’t be the last.

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