Cole Swindell is a hot, young country singer the city of Phenix City is hoping will help showcase the potential of the city’s amphitheater, a 3,000-seat outdoor venue on the banks of the Chattahoochee River.
Swindell, armed with his No. 1 country hit, “Chillin’ It,” will play in the amphitheater next Saturday night. As of Thursday, promoters had sold about 1,600 tickets at $20 each. And they are anticipating a sellout.
Swindell is a departure from the usual city-sponsored concert series, which usually features once-popular acts past their prime.
“We are trying a few different things to liven up the concert series,” City Manager Wallace Hunter said.
The Georgia-born Swindell takes the series in a different direction for several reasons.
He is an up-and-coming performer who recently released his first album with Warner Bros. Records. He recently was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Tickets are $10 more than normal series prices.
The city’s role in the concert is presenting sponsor and not promoter.
The city council has awarded a temporary alcohol license to Titletown Nightlife LLC to sell at the concert. At past concerts, the city Parks and Recreation Department has sold beer and wine for $2 a can or glass. The city will not be selling alcohol at the Swindell concert, but the promoters will. Promoters said Thursday they had not set the alcohol prices, but they will be more than the city charged. Also, it will be the first time liquor has been sold in the amphitheater.
The city has worked to bring Swindell to Phenix City, said R.J. Miller, a member of the group promoting the Swindell concer. Swindell will be playing next Friday night in Albany, Ga., here on Saturday and in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Sunday.
“We presented an idea, and they jumped all over it,” Miller said. “We were looking at two other venues in other places. Phenix City has been good to deal with, and they have made it work.”
Miller said the promoters are also looking at the possibility of more promotions in Phenix City.
“We are testing the waters,” Miller said.
One of the gambles with the amphitheater is bad weather. The Swindell concert will go as schedule, rain or shine, Miller said. This week, a cover has been going up over the stage.
Rebecca Harris, the city’s special events coordinator with the Parks and Recreation Department, said the promoters are not the only ones testing the waters.
“We really want to see how this works,” she said. “We want to make sure the amphitheater is used as much as possible. We want to make sure it is a viable venture to bring in quality shows.”