Morris Communications Company announced Friday, Sept. 8, that the Hippodrome is planned to transform into a major events venue, and Morris’ Director of Corporate Events Brian Graham drew a comparison to another venue that has been hot in the news recently.
“With the recent announcement that the James Brown Arena is going to be moved to South Augusta,” Graham said, “we feel very strongly that downtown Augusta/North Augusta deserves to have a top-notch events venue.”
The James Brown Arena does not have final approval to be moved to the location where the former Regency Mall sits. The Coliseum Authority is going to explore the possibility while figuring out how the $120 million new facility would be financed. One of the possibilities would be that it’s bonded through the city, which would take an approval by the Augusta Commission and possibly a vote by Richmond County voters.
The 52,500-square-foot arena at the Hippodrome, in North Augusta, is to become CitySpin Arena, named for the Augusta-based e-ticketing/online marketing service that caters to events in the CSRA and beyond. There is not a hard timeline on when the transformation into a covered arena would be complete, but Graham said “the panels (seen on the artist’s rendering of the arena) are made of a mesh material, which filters the sunlight to allow some air flow, so you can enjoy the nice breezes that we have up here on Schultz Hill.”
Graham said Morris and partners CitySpin Tickets and Gluestick Music are preparing the arena to get ready for Border Bash and then would go into a master planning process for the complex later this year “and see where that takes us.”
The Hippodrome will continue to be used for equine events and disc golf events, but with its fields and parking potential, the partners are aiming to draw in other events including expositions, fairs, markets, concerts, festivals, community events and sports competitions.
Also, this weekend, the nearly 600 horse stalls within six barns on the property will be used to help shelter all kinds of animals owned by people evacuating Hurricane Irma.
The 155-acre Hippodrome on Schultz Hill is now known mostly as an equine events center and also is the home of the annual National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship, with some other events occasionally sprinkled in.
The transformation into the Hippodrome Events Complex will start with the Border Bash this fall. Set Nov. 3, it was announced Friday that Border Bash will feature American rock band Eve 6 (best known for their hit singles “Inside Out,” “Here’s to the Night” and “Victoria”).
Also performing is rising country artist Ashley McBryde, who was recently named one of Rolling Stone’s “Artists You Need To Know,” with the magazine proclaiming she’s “an Arkansas red-clay badass, with the swagger of Hank Jr. and the songwriting of Miranda Lambert.”
And kicking off the live music of the evening is local band Black Dawg, led by Augustan John Kelley.
Border Bash tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, at BorderBash.net. They cost $15 in advance and $20 at the gate, with kids 12 and younger getting in free. Gates open at 4 p.m. Nov. 3.
The annual Border Bash was created to celebrate the football rivalry between the University of Georgia and University of South Carolina — The Georgia-Carolina game takes place the next day in Athens. The Border Bash Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for CSRA children’s charities and clubs.