Bringing music to Madison

Nesbitt brothers
to open amphitheater

Their outdoor music theater
is going up on Clifty Drive

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind. (Sept. 2003) – “Come Feel the Power of a Dream” is the slogan Richard and Glenn Nesbitt have chosen to represent their almost-realized goal of operating an outdoor music theater in Madison, Ind. The city’s zoning board approved the brothers’ project in July, and construction is now under way on a 13-acre lot located at 2737 Clifty Dr. across from Luv Homes.

Glenn and Richard Nesbitt

Photo by Ruth Wright

Glenn (left) and Richard Nesbitt

A 10-foot privacy fence being built on the site will surround a 160,000-square-foot area where the brothers plan to hold two or three music shows each week, weather permitting, from late April through October. “We’ll provide the entertainment if they will bring their chairs,” Richard Nesbitt said about open seating on the lawn. A limited number of seats will be provided up front, he added.
Country music and bluegrass will be the main staple of the theater, Richard Nesbitt said. The brothers are working with Buddy Lee Attractions Inc., Nashville’s oldest and largest privately owned talent agency, to schedule acts. The company represents more than 40 country music artists, including Joe Diffe, Sammy Kershaw, Lorrie Morgan, Tracy Lawrence, Marty Stuart and Lee Ann Womack.
Nesbitt said he should be able to start booking shows in a couple of weeks. By that time, he should also have received a permit from the state to build a 30x40-foot stage.
Anything over 500 square foot has to be approved, Nesbitt explained. Utilities also need to be installed and driveways from the road to the parking area constructed. There is currently no direct access to the lot from Clifty Drive.
Temporary concession stands and portable toilets will be used until more permanent facilities are constructed. “We’re just trying to get things opened up this year to get a feel for how it’s going to work out,” said Nesbitt. “We’ll make things more permanent next year.”
Ticketmaster will most likely handle sales, and there will probably be a place to buy tickets on site, Nesbitt said.
When completed, the theater will be the realization of a long-time goal. “We’ve been working on this for two and a half years. It’s not an overnight thing,” said Nesbitt.
Before choosing to construct an outdoor venue, the brothers had attempted to lease the former Wolohan Lumber Co. building at 402 Clifty Dr., but the deal fell through.
The outdoor site does have its advantages though, Nesbitt concluded, such as the festival type of atmosphere that’s possible and the capacity for larger crowds.

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