Pavilion envy? Roanoke courts Red Light for amphitheater project

It seems Roanoke has been heavily courting Coran Capshaw's Red Light Management lately, hoping the music mogul and concert promoter will put his weight and experience behind a proposed amphitheater on the old Victory Stadium site with a capacity of 7,000. The city put out a request for proposals earlier this year hoping to find someone to design, build, and manage the proposed $11.6 million project, but so far only Red Light and the Jefferson Center, a Roanoke-based non-profit arts organization, have shown interest.

"Yes, we have some interest in the project," says Pavilion Manager Kirby Hutto, "but not as a developer. We'd be interested in managing and operating another amphitheater, but not in building and owning one."

While Capshaw promotes and organizes events all over the world, Hutto says, managing and operating another facility would be a first for Red Light.

"It's far enough away that it wouldn't be in direct competition with the Pavilion here," says Hutto. "And Roanoke is definitely an under-served market. But they still need to figure out what they want to do."

Indeed, Red Light's interest in the project seems to have thrown Roanoke's city government into a tizzy. According to reports in the Roanoke Times, the vice mayor has accused several city councilors who favor locating the amphitheater elsewhere of directly discouraging Red Light from making a proposal. In turn, that prompted one city councilor to publicly accuse the vice mayor of lying. Apparently, the Victory Stadium site is also the site of some old wounds, as this RT timeline shows.

"We've had calls from councilors on both sides of the issue," says Hutto, sounding not unlike a rock star dealing with adoring fans, "but we're like, hey guys, figure out what you want to do, build it, then we'll talk."

Until the project becomes a reality, says Hutto, whether Red Light will be a part of it is still under discussion internally.