“It’s just a place in Cobb County that’s been sitting there wasting,” said Foust, who is partners with Walker in Amazon Tickets and Events. “People want to come to the concerts and have fun and play on the lawn.”
The 2,400-seat amphitheatre, located at 5239 Floyd Road in Mableton, opened in 2003, with the county paying $1.3 million of its $7.1 million construction cost. But since then, the county has put up millions more to cover expenses when ticket sales and facility rentals fell short. Due to budget cuts, the county has now gotten out of putting on its own shows, leaving it up for rental only.
With independent promoters putting on shows this year, Elizabeth Weaver, Cobb County’s division director of cultural affairs, said the amphitheatre could “easily” reach record numbers of 30,000 yearly visitors achieved years ago.
“The public won’t see a difference,” she said. “They’re still going to see a great concert that’s just being promoted by private promoters instead of the county.”
Mable House will have the first of five planned summer country concerts tonight when Chris Cagle performs starting at 8 p.m. Other shows include Steel Magnolia, June 29; Lorrie Morgan, July 27; Marty Stuart, Aug. 11; and Little Texas and Restless Heart on Aug. 24.
Foust said he plans to expand his promotions in coming years, adding more country shows, along with rock and pop concerts. But he expects this to be the biggest year at Mable House since 2009, when Sara Evans, B.B. King and Montgomery Gentry performed at the site.
“The response we’re getting from the community is, ‘Oh my, we’re finally getting some concerts back,’” Foust said.
The venue will also host a number of jazz shows this year, including the all-day Atlanta Smooth Music Festival on Sept. 15. Joe Cleveland, whose Jazz Grooves LLC is promoting the event for the fifth year, said Mable House is the finest outdoor concert site in the Atlanta area.
“It’s a hidden gem compared to Chastain,” he said. “All the (reserved) seats are covered, so it’s a rain or shine facility,” he said.
Cleveland said Mable House also allows plenty of space for concert-goers to set up tables, even allowing them to run out to the store for food or drinks should they run out.
Weaver said the amphitheatre will continue to allow performances by school music groups and churches this year, with nine high schools and middle schools and six churches scheduling events.