MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Music may be back at the Mud Island Amphitheater in the future, with several million dollars set aside by the city for improvements.
Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis City Council have allocated $4 million from the Accelerate Memphis plan to make improvements that will allow concerts to return to the Mud Island Amphitheater.
Downtown residents, business owners, and community leaders weighed in on the future of the Mud Island Amphitheater Thursday night.
Nearly two dozen people gathered at the Carolina Watershed bar and restaurant on East Carolina to discuss what the city should do with millions it has set aside to renovate the nearly 40-year-old amphitheater.
“We are here to talk about certain improvements that are absolutely necessary. But also, what does the public want to see done with the money?” said Jerred Price, President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
The Memphis River Parks Partnership, which manages Mud Island, said the amphitheater opened in 1982. Today, they say the facility is “outdated, unsuitable for modern productions and does not meet the demands of concert-goers.”
According to the Memphis River Parks Partnership, the last concert held there was in 2018 down from a peak of 21 concerts in 1997.
A report produced by AllWorld Project Management in 2019 estimated the cost to make the venue competitive in today’s market would be up to $11 million.
But Price said the city’s money could put music back on the river.
“Four million dollars should bring it back online as a concert venue,” said Price.
Price said millions more will be needed to make the amphitheater a state-of-the-art facility and fix the Mud Island monorail. Those in attendance said they thought it was important to get the monorail running again and said they were in favor of corporate sponsors.
“The impact this would have on our community would be enormous. For our small businesses as well as for our artists,” said Shelby County Commissioner Mickell Lowery. “My commitment here is that the county plays some role to bring this to fruition, which is different. This county commission has now invested in things that traditional the county has not in the past.”
The Downtown Neighborhood Association plans to pass along the information it collected during the meeting to city officials and city and state leaders.
Memphis River Parks Partnership said the group looks forward to bringing the music back to Mus Island Park.