It was once the home of the biggest performances and screaming fans. For 20 years, Starwood Amphitheatre was the “it” venue, its appeal attracting the tours of the biggest names in rock and roll, pop stars and new and old country crooners.
Fast forward to today, and the 65-acre venue located on Murfreesboro Pike sits abandoned. Locks now replace the gates that previously welcomed millions of fans, the parking lot empty, the stage no more.
The place that once brought in the biggest tours, including, Britney Spears, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews Band, The Beach Boys, the Eagles and more sits silent and has since 2006.
Groundbreaking for the once primary outdoor music venue in Nashville was held on Nov. 11, 1985. It opened in June 1986. The Monkees, Dwight Yoakam, The Charlie Daniels Band, James Taylor and Willie Nelson were all among the first performers to hit the outdoor stage that summer.
For the next 20 years, the venue with seating for more than 17,000 fans, brought in some of the top acts, including Sarah McLachlan in 1998, Hanson in 1998, Brittney Spears in 2000 and Tom Petty in 2005. Aerosmith and Mötley Crüe were the last bands to perform at the venue in 2006.
During its 20-year history, the venue went through several name changes. In the late 90s, it was sold to First American National Bank and was renamed First American Music Center. In 2000, it was renamed again to AmSouth Amphitheatre. The venue later went back to its original name in 2004 until its closing.
BEGINNING OF THE END
In Feb. 2007, Live Nation announced its intention to close the outdoor venue and the upcoming concert season was canceled. In its last season, Starwood grossed just over $4.6 million in ticket sales, according to Wikipedia.
Portions of the Nashville staple were demolished in the fall of 2007.
Since its closing more than a decade ago, the venue has remained undeveloped. There have been many proposals for the site, including in 2018 when an investor announced plans to build 200 townhomes, 150 senior living units, 200 loft apartments and retail and office space.
“I’ve heard a lot about the heyday of Starwood. People talk about how it used to be,” Antioch resident Jennifer Samardak previously told News 2.
Another developer also had plans to bring concerts back to the site in 2011.
So far, none of the proposed plans have taken shape.
All day Thursday, News 2 is digging deeper into the ongoing evolution of Antioch. We’ll have special reports on the good, the bad and the future of the community beginning on “Good Morning Nashville.”