Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights will reopen next summer with Grammy-winning band Lady Antebellum headlining as an opening act.
The announcement came during a press conference Tuesday where members of the ownership group, including Joe Vicari of Andiamo Restaurant Group, Tom Celani of Luna Entertainment and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, discussed the reopening of the 7,200-seat facility on Metropolitan Parkway.
"We are going to bring Freedom Hill to a new level," said Vicari, who is looking to bring a variety of acts to the venue and credits the new leadership with his decision to reopen the amphitheatre. "With Mark Hackel being the the new county executive, I thought there was a willingness to work with us."
Since Freedom Hill closed in 2009, there has been little activity at the facility. That will change next year as 30-40 events are planned, with AEG Live contracted to be the booking agent for the venue.
"I am going to do whatever I can to ensure that venue is opened up for not only as a concert venue for Hillside, but also to make sure we bring back those festivals and those other events at Freedom Hill Park," Hackel said. "That park laying dormant as long as it has is unacceptable and inexcusable. It is a great opportunity for economic development and community development."
Running the daily operations for Freedom Hill will be Mount Clemens-FunFest Productions which has produced the popular Stars & Stripes Festival which will move to the Sterling Heights venue June 28-30 in 2013. Birmingham-based The Fulkerson Group is also selling sponsorships at the venue.
Additionally, Harleyfest will return to Freedom Hill next year along with high school graduations.
Chippewa Valley Schools was one of several Macomb County districts to regularly book its graduations at Freedom Hill prior to the venue's closure. While the district has already booked Ultimate Soccer Arena in Pontiac for the 2013 graduation, the school district has said it would consider returning to Freedom Hill if and when the venue reopens.
"What is good for Macomb County is good for everyone in this region," said Paul W. Smith, WJR-radio personality and emcee for the event.
Officials added at least $2 million in upgrades will be made to the facility.
Lady Antebellum will play Freedom Hill Thursday, June 13. Tickets for the concert go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at www.freedomhill.net.
Prices will be $119, $79, $59 and $29 for lawn tickets.