Photo Credit: David Weichman
+ Original blog written by Beth Ridgeway
With Huntsville's Orion Amphitheater joining a growing number of music venues locally, the Rocket City is quickly becoming the Rocking City.
The Orion Amphitheater opened in May 2022 with an epic weekend-long event aptly named The First Waltz, and sold over 100,000 tickets in less than two months of being open. In its first month, it offered a line-up with something for everyone, from rock to country to astrophysics (we are still the Rocket City, after all), with headliners like the Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Chesney and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
The outdoor venue holds 8,000 people and can be used year-round for concerts and community events, with plans for events including farmer’s markets, art displays, theater performances, and meeting spaces for large-scale gatherings. Orion offers different themed food and drink areas to satisfy everyone, from wine and whiskey drinkers to beer and hard seltzer connoisseurs.
“This venue will be a significant new addition for the people in and around Huntsville as it serves as a beacon of the community,” said Ben Lovett, CEO of the Venue Group that developed Orion. “It will also stand tall amongst the live performance community as one of the best venues in the World.”
Outside the amphitheater is Apollo Park, a public park that will be open year-round for people to exercise and roam freely. Only when there are specific ticketed events will the entire campus be enclosed - otherwise, patrons are encouraged to utilize the grounds for their enjoyment throughout the year.
In planning the amphitheater, develops held interviews with locals to learn more about the personality and character of Huntsville. To honor of Huntsville's Rocket City heritage, Ross Stirling, the Creative Director for the Venue Group, leaned in on the space concept. “Orion represents the architectural approach of the building and connects the amphitheater to the incredible history of space travel in Huntsville to the open sky nature of our venue as it sits under the night sky."
Huntsville is in the midst of a musical renaissance, and the venue's developers wanted it to play a key role in that growth. “The Orion Amphitheater is an architectural landmark different from others in the city, and together with the elevated hospitality, we are re-setting the tone for Huntsville’s cultural future,” said Ryan Murphy, The Orion Amphitheater General Manager.
Several big-name acts will be coming to Huntsville to perform at Orion in the latter part of 2022. Scheduled concerts and events include:
Jack White – August 27
The Black Keys – Aug 28
Jazz in the Park with Matthew Whitaker – Sept 11
Styx and REO Speedwagon – Sept 13
My Morning Jacket – Sept 24
Summer Jam 2022 featuring Boosie Badazz – Sept 30
Earth, Wind & Fire – Oct 4
Rocket City Pride Fest – Oct 8
Luke Bryan – Oct 14
Records & Retro Market – Oct 16
Lauren Daigle – Oct 21
Know Before You Go
Here is the information you need to know before heading to a show:
PARKING AT ORION AMPHITHEATER
Pay in advance to save money and pick your spot! Orion uses the ParkJockey website and app to allow people to pre-pay in advance to make parking less of a hassle. All locations are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event. Plus, they are all a 5-minute walk or less to the venue. Depending on which lot you can secure, you can find directions on the Orion Ampitheater website. For those taking a rideshare (Uber/Lyft/Taxi) to the show, there is a special drop-off area at the northern edge of Nunnuhsae Park Drive.
ACCESSIBILITY AT ORION AMPHITHEATER
Along with building the venue with both performers and attendees in mind, they have also kept Orion Amphitheater accessible. From their Accessibility Page, they can provide seating, parking, sign-language interpreters, listening devices, and more. The City of Huntsville’s 19 Access vehicles are also available to those who qualify. The ADA Paratransit service application must be filled out in advance if you are local (usually 21 days before). If you are certified in another city, you can email your proof to the City of Huntsville.
You can find accessible parking across from the south box office in the Apollo lot. Spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis for patrons with valid accessible tags. Guests should arrive early to ensure space availability and allow time to reach their seats before the show starts. The parking lot opens 2 hours before gates on the day of the event.
TICKETS AND MONEY AT ORION AMPHITHEATER
The Orion Amphitheater is a cashless venue. Bring a debit or credit card to purchase food, drink, and merchandise. This will help lines move quickly. They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Checks will not be accepted.
You are also able to access your tickets on your phone. There are no paper tickets required. Pull up your AXS Mobile ID in the AXS app then get it scanned to enter. If you have an entire group with you, make sure everyone enters together or transfer the tickets before the show to each person.
Will call is located at the box offices. Will call tickets can be picked up approximately 2 hours before doors open on the day of the ticketed show. The box office cannot release tickets to anyone whose name does not appear on the account and cannot make name changes over the telephone.
To purchase tickets, go to axs.com, download the AXS app, or call 888-929-7849. The Orion Amphitheater North Box Office is open Tuesday - Friday from 9am - 5pm, and Saturday - Sunday from 10am - 3pm. It is closed on Monday. On event days, the South Box Office opens 2 hours prior to the gates.
BAG AND ITEM POLICIES AT ORION AMPHITHEATER
There are a few house rules that the Orion team will enforce. One of those is that re-entry is not permitted. Once you’re in, you’re in. Guests and their possessions are subject to inspection upon entrance. Smoking areas are designated, and they ask you drink responsibly. Intoxicated patrons may be denied admittance to the show or asked to leave.
There is a whole list of prohibited items on their website, BUT the biggies you should know are:
- No outside food or beverage
- No firearms/weapons of any kind
- No large bags, including backpacks, camera bags, and camel packs
- No folding chairs
- No coolers included a soft-sided cooler
- No seat cushions with arms
- No umbrellas
Items that are allowed inside the Orion Amphitheater are:
- Bags smaller than 6x6x6
- A tote or purse that is smaller than 12x16x12
- Seat cushions & seat cushions with backs
- Diaper bags
- Medically necessary bags
- Empty reusable water bottles (32 oz and under) to fill and refill at water stations throughout the venue. No single-use plastic bottles are allowed.
- Cameras (subject to artist approval) that don’t have detachable lenses and can fit in your pants pocket.
- Strollers are allowed on the grounds but not in the seating areas. they must be checked and held at guest services
GOING GREEN AT ORION AMPHITHEATER
The Orion encourages you to bring your own (empty) reusable water bottle that is less than 32 oz to fill up at the water fill stations at the venue.
The Orion Amphitheater has partnered with Turn Cups to end single-use plastic. They serve beverages in reusable cups that can be washed, sanitized, and reused more than 100 times. When you have finished your drink, return them to the marked bins throughout the venue.
What used to be a mall now is a mixed-use development along Highway 72 called MidCity District. With entertainment venues like Top Golf, Dave & Busters, High Point Climbing, and an area named The Camp, you will find plenty to do in this new area. The Camp offers markets each Sunday along with live entertainment each weekend. The Camp also hosts pop-up events and is open to all to enjoy both day and night, with various food trucks to choose from, plus Greenroom Coffee. Along with entertainment comes plenty of dining options like Wahlburgers, Kung Fu Tea and Kamado Ramen. Coming soon to the area will be an Aloft Hotel, Blue Oak BBQ and Salt Factory.
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Additional Things to Do in Huntsville
Before (or after!) enjoying a show at the Orion, make sure you take advantage of everything else Huntsville has to offer. Extend your stay and make exploring the area your encore to an amazing show!
Explore the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Remember how we said Huntsville has a history of space? Why not stand under a National Historic Landmark Saturn V rocket and learn more? The world's largest space museum comes in as Alabama's top paid tourist attraction for a reason. See dozens of interactive exhibits surrounding Apollo, Mercury and Space Shuttle spacecraft. Rockets developed in Huntsville range from the Army boosters that put America's first satellite and astronauts in orbit to NASA's Saturn V moon rocket and the Space Shuttle.
Walk Through the Huntsville Botanical Garden
We always welcome you to stop by our Visitor Center at 500 Church Street NW in downtown Huntsville, AL. Pick up free brochures, maps, discounts to local attractions, souvenirs, and more! Plus, you can always check our events section of our webpage for special events and activities happening while you're visiting. Follow along with us and share your adventures with us on social media and by using the hashtag #iHeartHsv.
Header Photo Credit: ©️Padraic Major