Eric Church to headline Ascend Amphitheatre's first concert at Riverfront Park
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The Schermerhorn Symphony Center's third floor lobby was abuzz with anticipation as press gathered for Mayor Karl Dean’s announcement yesterday morning. The press conference was scheduled to finally announce the details surrounding Riverfront Park’s almost finished entertainment venue. The room was silent as the Mayor, along with several distinguished guests, announced all the pertinent information on the new music - and more - venue. One of the most eagerly awaited announcements was the new venue’s official name; Ascend Amphitheatre. One might think the name comes from Nashville’s recent ascension into being hailed as an entertainment mecca offering all kinds of music genres and entertainment, but in actuality, the name refers to the multi-year naming partnership Live Nation has entered into with Ascend Federal Credit Union, a partnership that will tie the financial institution into Nashville’s revitalized image as Music (and Entertainment) City USA.

We pursue partnerships that lend stability and trust to our brand," said Caren Gabriel, Ascend president and CEO. "Nashville residents are familiar with Ascend through our television and radio advertisements and the construction of two new financial centers here last year. But, this amphitheater will make the Ascend brand synonymous with Music City USA.

The 6800 seat capacity, state-of-the-art venue will open on July 30 for its inaugural concert featuring Grammy Award winning Eric Church. Live Nation will manage and book the venue in an agreement with the city that will be good until 2025 and perhaps beyond. The plans for the venue’s calendar includes a possible 46+ events a year, to include 30 (concert type) events, six symphony performances and 10 civic events. The civic events will include Nashville’s Let Freedom Ring 4th of July celebration, New Year’s Eve countdown party, CMA Fest and others.

We look forward to working closely with Ascend over the span of this long-term marketing alliance," said Andy Peikon, senior vice president of sales at Live Nation. "The naming rights platform at this beautiful new venue features an array of assets that will bring exciting visibility to the Ascend brand, enhance member benefits and drive member acquisition.

The beautifully constructed Ascend Amphitheatre sits right on “The Green,” the 1.5 acre lawn that serves as the space for 4500 lawn seats, with the other 2300 seats being in the “reserved” seating area in front of the stage.

The 2015 lineup is impressive, especially considering the venue is brand new. Eric Church will christen the venue with its first concert on July 30, with Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire headlining a show on August 1. The list comprising the remainder of the 21 - 25 artists lined up for this abbreviated season goes on to include performers Jill Scott, Counting Crows, Steely Dan , Smashing Pumpkins, Switchfoot, Idina Menzel and Peter Frampton (full list follows article,) among others.

In a shortened season (remainder of 2015), we'll have another four to six shows, so essentially in a 3-month period of time we'll do 27 or 28 shows," says Live Nation president of North America concerts,. "I think after artists start performing and fans start coming and agents start hearing about it, that demand is very much going to accelerate. I think the second season will end up being very special."

2015 Ascend Amphitheatre Calendar of Events:

July 30: Eric Church
Aug. 1: Chicago and Earth Wind and Fire
Aug. 5: Jill Scott
Aug. 7: Counting Crows with Citizen Cope
Aug. 8: Steely Dan and Elvis Costello
Aug. 9: The Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson
Aug. 14: Needtobreathe and Switchfoot
Aug. 15: Idina Menzel
Aug. 16: Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick
Aug. 18: Sublime with Rome, Rebelution and Pepper
Aug. 22: Australian Pink Floyd with Led Zeppelin2
Aug. 28: Old Crow Medicine Show
Aug. 29: Under the Sun Tour featuring Uncle Kracker, Sugar Ray, Better than Ezra and Eve6
Sept. 1: ZZ Top with Blackberry Smoke
Sept. 5 - 6: Widespread Panic
Sept. 19: Americanafest on the Riverfront
Sept. 24: Daryl Hall & John Oates
Oct. 2: Lynyrd Skynyrd with special guests
Oct. 8: Chris Tomlin
Oct. 10: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Visit TicketMaster for ticket information.