Amphitheater contract

A worker pressure washes the seating area between concerts at the BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove in this photo taken in 2015. The facility, in its 10th year, has attracted many of the nation's top musical groups to Southaven.

Bob Bakken|DTT (file photo)

Since the day it opened in 2006, the Snowden Grove Amphitheater, now known as the BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove, has been represented by Green Machine Concerts in providing concert entertainment at Southaven’s outdoor event venue. 

The promoter, with Jim Green as its operator and owner, promotes and produces concerts at various locations and has been in the business for more than 30 years.

That partnership between the promoter and the city may be changing however, following the Southaven Board of Aldermen’s decision Wednesday morning at a special meeting to open the contract to other promoters.

There have been discussions over the past few months about continuing the agreement between the city and Green Machine Concerts, but those discussions apparently have not resulted in a new contract between the two sides.

In a meeting that lasted less than a half-hour, including a 20-minute executive session, board members approved a motion to advertise a Request For Proposals, or RFP, for BankPlus Amphitheater Concert Promotions.

“We’ve not been able to come to an agreement with our current contractor, so today an RFP has been approved to seek other proposals for that service,” said Mayor Darren Musselwhite after the meeting. “We couldn’t come to an agreement. Green Machine has done an incredible job for the city over the years, but we’ve not been able to come to an agreement. That’s what prompted the RFP.”

Musselwhite added the city will be moving quickly in determining who will next be promoting the amphitheater.

“It will be advertised three times in local publications and then Dec. 15 is the day the proposals will be opened,” Musselwhite said.

Among the groups that have taken the stage at the BankPlus Amphitheater, which was renamed as part of a naming rights agreement in 2015, are the Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Chesney, Steve Miller Band, Foreigner, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bret Michaels, Steve Martin, and more.

City events, such as the annual Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza and the opening ceremonies for the Dizzy Dean World Series, have also taken place at the facility, which can hold as many as 12,000 people for concerts and other events.

The amphitheater has also gone through upgrades in recent years that have included big screens at the front of the stage and a better sound system. Another upgrade was to focus the sound more on the audience and less on nearby neighborhoods.

The naming rights agreement also allowed the financial institution to place its name on the nearby BankPlus Sports Center.

Wednesday morning’s meeting first included an executive session to discuss the potential lease of city property before the vote on the RFP. While that option was not discussed in the open session portion of the meeting, aldermen may be considering that as part of any future agreement with a concert promoter for the city-owned facility.

Six of the seven aldermen were present at Wednesday’s meeting. Ronnie Hale, currently involved in a legal issue, did not take part in the specially-called session at City Hall.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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