Locals hope to lure acts to amphitheater
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@mdjonline.com
May 25, 2012 12:55 AM | 4925 views | 19 19 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre. <br> File photo
The Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre.
File photo
slideshow
MABLETON — Cobb natives Reed Foust and Wes Walker are hoping that a series of concerts will help revitalize the Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre.

“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.
Comments
(19)
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MissingMable
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July 23, 2013
I enjoyed the atmosphere at Mablehouse over Chastain. Not seeing shows worth driving 240 miles from Nashville the past two years has been quite disappointing. What a loss!
Happy to be there
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June 11, 2012
I have been going there for years. I would rather pay for a ticket at the Mablehouse than to get a free ticket at Chastain. Chastain treated me aweful. Ask an usher at Chastain for help and see what they do. The folks at the Mablehouse treat you like they want you there. Yes, it has been a few tough years but they will do good again. Keep up the good work MH staff!!
Was there last night
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May 26, 2012
Was at last night's Chris Cagle show, poor turnout. And you wonder why?

Nothing on either Accessatlanta nor Cobb County website. The management company had to come out of pocket for marketing, which is rare.

The promoter spends $$$$ on ads on one of two local country stations, just NOT the station that actually PLAYS the artists music.

Please turn the Mable House over to a private company that'll big sponsors and do right by this great venue.
yeah yeah
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May 26, 2012
Perhaps some local Atlanta rap acts will fill the void considering the area or perhaps Latino music.
Pissed in Mableton
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May 26, 2012
Well, Fulton County has recently constructed the Wolf Creek Amphitheatre off of Camp Creek. Lets face it, people do not think of us as a place for events.

Fulton built Wolf Creek off Camp Creek Pkwy, excellent location. Easy to get to, easy to leave from. Amenities such as restaurants close by for those making it a date night

Lakewood sits near the Connector and the end of Langford Parkway. If Langford were to be ever completed, it would sit near a straight shot to Dekalb County. Minutes from Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead.

Gwinnett Arena. Near Discover Mills Mall and sits next to Interstate 85

Chastain. Has location issues like Mable House and the affluent area still draws people to it. Several great shows occur there

Mable House. Long drive from anywhere to get to it. Nothing to do near it before or after shows. Failed revitalization plans (mostly studies, useless meetings and no action).
Lakewood?
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May 27, 2012
Lakewood is far from easy to get to and even worse to get out of. It's in the middle of the hood. Gwinnett & Lakewood are much larger venues NOT a venue like the Mable House. Heck, Gwinnett is an arena. Please compare apples to apples.

You've done a nice job of pointing the pluses of each venue without mention of the minuses, which they all have. Nothing is perfect.

It's not the location but who is running it.
mk-
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May 26, 2012
@ south cobb guy,... you don't get out much, I take it! Been down to Peters Street or College Ave.?

I would go the the Fred in Peachtree City, before traveling into the boondocks of Mableton.

Before catching a show at the Fred, take your bike and take a ride through their (safe) 100 miles of bike paths and trails.

There's no money or inverstors interested in south Cobb.
South Cobb Guy
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May 30, 2012
I get out plenty. I travel all over this region and go to more concerts in a year than you may have gone in 5 so I know what I am talking about. You may not be able to see it because of lack of vision or some other prejudice against South Cobb that I lack. That is fine, we are moving forward without you. Go on down to Peachtree City (and that ain't the boondocks?) Travel on their trails. I will enjoy my time minutes from my home on The Silver Comet Trail. I will spend my time trying to make the things in my backyard better rather than throwing stones.
grace drees
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May 25, 2012
If the price is not too high and they book artists I want to see, I will be there.
Lousy Location
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May 25, 2012
If this beautiful facility had been built in Marietta or East Cobb, there would have NEVER been any worries about it being self sufficient. We've been to two shows there and it was less than half full for major national artists that the year before sold out Cobb Energy and Chastain.

The amphitheater is very nice to attend, however, the drive and the surrounding locale is just not enjoyable. Coming from I-285, Bankhead Highway, excuse me, Veterans Memorial Parkway is deplorable. Coming from Austell Road, not much better.

Unlike Kevin Costner, they built it and no one comes.
@lousy
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May 25, 2012
The reason it is in this location is that Governor Barnes was the one to give the County $6M to built it in Mableton where he is from.
Lousy Location?????
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May 25, 2012
So you feel these venues should be built closer to you to make them more appealing?

Location is NOT the issue as folks were coming from Gwinnett to see Travis Tritt, for example. Better artists and more marketing plus as another mentioned, allowing a private company to manage it would open up larger sponsors.

And you may be right that it may have faired better in East Cobb since the Commission (and school board for that matter) tend to give more of their attention to East Cobb over the rest of the County.
Resident 2
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May 25, 2012
Oh and I forgot to ask,

Ever been to Lakewood Amphitheatre?

Not exactly the best part of Atlanta, and they seem to do just fine.
South Cobb Guy
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May 25, 2012
I am very proud of the MHBA and have been for some time. It is in a great location as South Cobb is poised to be the center of Arts and Culture in the coming years. Just you watch as it happens.
Lousy Location
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May 26, 2012
Just because some is willing to put upnthe money DOES NOT mean it should be built. With any real estate location is king and now the county is on the hook for this white elephant the demographics and overall economy of this long time depressed area doesn't support such a venue. If it did, then it would have artists & promotors falling over themselves to use it and it would be used every weekend, not just once a month at best!
Please, Please....
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May 25, 2012
Lift the ridiculous moratorium on partnering with alcohol sponsors at this venue. You are leaving money on the table that other private venues do not. Plus, we now have two craft beer micro breweries in our county with Red Hare Brewery in Marietta and Burnt HIckory Brewery in Kennesaw with hopefully more to come. It would be fantastic to see local home grown businesses be able to participate in a venue as awesome as the Mable House Barnes Amphitheater.
BrewFan
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May 26, 2012
YES! Most of this county claims to be "free market" Republicans, so let the free market work and partner with these local businesses! Also, get some mid-level rock acts and don't be afraid to let the Mable House get loud. The Frederick Brown Amphitheater in Peachtree City has hosted Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Bret Michaels and drawn big audiences.
Mableton Resident
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May 25, 2012
Love the Amphitheatre, good viewing of the shows, good parking and access in and out of the venue. Too bad they don't have better shows. Saw Kenny Loggins, Pat Benetar, and Travis Tritt there, and had a great time.

Please Cobb County, employe a private management company to book events and stay out of it. Hopefully, these independent companies can give a good variety and good number of shows this summer. We all know what happens when the Commission gets involved...
anonymous
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May 25, 2012
please try to mix in some non country. Saw Peter Frampton there the last year they had shows and it was one of the best I have seen. A rock legend supporting a grammy winning album
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