Tennessee Amphitheater Repair Update

December 14, 2006 at 10:02 am 3 comments

Creator’s plan may save Tennessee Amphitheater without breaking bank (Knoxville News Sentinel – 12/14/06)

In between the all-or-nothing options presented to Knoxville City Council last month, a more affordable fix now is being considered for the aging Tennessee Amphitheater at World’s Fair Park.

With some free assistance from local architect Doug McCarty, who designed the one-of-kind tent structure in 1980, city officials say the replacement of its rusting steel trusses could be enough to resurrect the site as a viable performance venue.

Council members reviewed four options at a November workshop, ranging from the most expensive option, a $3.4 million full renovation, to complete demolition for about $655,000.

The latest idea is to replace the four flawed trusses that support the main tent, along with a few smaller improvements to meet building codes, which could cost about $850,000, said Jeff Galyon, senior project manager for the Public Building Authority, which manages the site.

I think this is a great idea. If you’re going to spend a minimum of $655,000 to demolish the structure anyway, why not tack on the extra $200,000 and fix the part of the amphitheater that actually needs fixing?

It’s a shame almost a whole generation of people in Knoxville have never seen a show at theTennessee Amphitheater. I’ve actually performed there a few times, mostly when I was still at UT. It’s really a fun venue, although it can get a little dicey when storms start coming through (been there).

I once posted about watching Red Skelton perform there back during the World’s Fair – just today Brad Zinn, the Skelton impressionist that inspired that post, commented with some interesting information about Red Skelton. If you’re a Skelton fan, go back and read the post and read his comment.

Here are some shots we took of the Amphitheater during the Fair:

A show being performed in the Tennessee Amphitheater during the World’s Fair
A performance at the Amphitheater during the Fair – either Up With People! or “Sing Tennessee” (the signature show)

The Tennessee Amphitheater flanked by the U.S. Pavilion.
The Tennessee Amphitheater flanked by the U.S. Pavilion. Note the skylifts that traveled from one end of the park to the other.


Entry filed under: Remembering the World's Fair, Renovation/Restoration.

Back to the Beginning… Part 3 When We Were There – Part 1

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. S Woolsey  |  April 18, 2007 at 12:12 am

    The performance in the photo is “Sing Tennessee”, an Opryland USA production.
    Up With People never performed at the Tennessee Amphitheatre (fondly known as
    TAMPA by the staff).

  • 2. lasthome  |  April 18, 2007 at 9:50 am

    I thought that was what it was.

    There was a song I believe was performed during Sing Tennessee that I recall to this day – I think it was a male duet between two brothers separated by Civil War, and it was just gorgeous. Am I remembering it correctly, or am I thinking of another show?

    If I am, I’d love to hear it again or even better get the sheet music for it…….

  • 3. Scott Sheffer  |  February 25, 2008 at 2:42 am

    Would you please consider donating this to the school we work at – here in Kampala Uganda. Or perhaps we could purchase it or half of it (from the picture) We are trying to develop a love for the arts here and could use it for our amphitheater we have dreamed about. Please consider. If you need more info please ask.


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Remember the Date

The 25th Anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair is on May 1, 2007. Mark your calendars!

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lasthome (at) gmail . com



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