A rendering of the 138-acre site in Franklin, Tenn., where Graystone Amphitheater will open in spring 2020. 

Live music giant will program amphitheater being built south of Nashville

Graystone Quarry, the new amphitheater under construction south of Nashville in Franklin, Tenn., and Live Nation are partnering to program the venue.

The 7,500-capacity amphitheater will sit on a 138-acre site at the base of a former limestone rock quarry surrounded by cliffs up to 100-feet tall. The quarry was active 50 years ago when the limestone was used in the construction of Highway 65 through Williamson County, Tenn.

In addition to the music venue there is a 1.5-acre plaza area for gathering, dining, and retail.

Rick McEachern bought Graystone Quarry in 2014 and opened the site for weddings and private parties in 2016. He did not disclose how much he paid for the site or how much building the amphitheater will cost.

The seating will be a combination of box seats, flip-down stadium-style seats, seats with backs and seats without backs. “We will have a lot of options,” McEachern said.

McEachern and Live Nation have been talking for three years. The multi-year deal has already been signed. Programming won’t begin until the start of the 2020 season in April.

“We decided Live Nation was the perfect programming partner,” he said. “They’ve been doing this a long time. They will provide programming, artists relations and marketing.”

Graystone Quarry will manage and staff the venue as well as concessions.

“We’re going to bring in Nashville-style food trucks,” McEachern said. “We’re also going to pick some local concessionaires and bring them in. We hope to provide a better experience than what you can typically get at a large venue.”

McEachern said that the amount of shows they intend to book for season one has not yet been determined and will be put in place closer to the start date.

The venue is slated to operate in the traditional amphitheater season that starts in April and runs through October. “But we have no restrictions in place and can run as many shows as we want at any time of year,” he said.

The closest amphitheater to Graystone Quarry is the 6,800-capacity Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, about 30 minutes away, and also programmed by Live Nation. A third Live Nation venue, the 4,500-capacity Fontanel Amphitheater in Whites Creek, Tenn., is also a 30-minute drive.

Brian Traeger, President of Live Nation Tennessee, saw a story about the Graystone Quarry master plan and contacted McEachern.

“I wondered if it was something we could work on together,” Traeger said. “I brought in Bob Roux (president, U.S. concerts), Jordan Zachary (chief strategy officer) and Mark Campana (COO, U.S. Concerts) and took them all to the property and we got with Rick and struck a deal that made sense for everybody.”

Traeger said he’ll start looking at programming for Graystone Quarry in late summer/early fall and that programming three outdoor venues with similar capacities so close together would not be an issue.

“We will ask an artist what best fits their needs,” Traeger said. “The three venues all have different configurations and different demographics.”

Traeger also envisions making deals to bring acts to two or even all three of the venues.

“It would be a great market look for an act to play multiple nights at different Nashville venues,” he said.

“We thought this was a great space to have an immersive experience,” McEachern added. “This used to be dumping ground and it’s now a place people can come have a great time.”