Alpine Valley, one of the biggest open-air music venues in nation, now for sale

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EAST TROY (WITI) — The Wisconsin music venue tucked away in the rolling hills of Walworth County that has hosted such musical greats as the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam and the Grateful Dead is for sale.

Alpine Valley Music Theatre is also the place where guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and four others were killed in a helicopter crash following a performance on Aug. 27, 1990.

Now, the amphitheater and its 198-acre property are on the market for $8.4 million. SFX, now Live Nation, bought the property in 1999.

The Music Theatre was built in 1977. The concert bowl seats 37,000 people.

"The day they announce a concert, we sell out," Joel Baxter, the assistant manager of the adjacent property -- Alpine Valley Resort said.

Baxter says when the concert-goers come, his business benefits, but he says those opportunities have been dwindling since he started at the resort six years ago.

"We had nine concerts the first year I was here," Baxter said.

This year, there have been two concerts -- including this past Saturday's Jimmy Buffett show.

Baxter says word of the venue's listing has him hoping the venue will be hopping and providing the seasonal work opportunities at a level it used to offer.

"It's important to the resort because it does bring us business. It does get our name out there too -- with the golfing, and the skiing, and the hotel, and the mountain bike trail and all that stuff, but also to the community too," Baxter said.

The property is listed for sale by the Stan Johnson Company. A company spokesperson says in just one week, the venue has generated crazy interest -- and the fact that it is being offered serves as "a reaffirmation that the venue will be there for a long time."

Live Nation, which operates the venue, says it plans to fulfill its contractual obligations -- which will allow it to stage shows through 2019.

"It'll be interesting to see, from a business standpoint, to see whether or not we can keep on doing what we're doing -- you know, selling out the hotel on the weekends," Baxter said.

Alpine Valley made headlines when guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and four others were killed in a helicopter crash following a performance on Aug. 27, 1990.

Click on the video links below to take a look at some of FOX6's coverage of that tragic event.

8 comments

  • Devon Wiesend

    This article mentions nothing of the ski resort. Is that part of the sale, or is that a separate property technically?

  • Bob Thode

    I Hope it sells to a group that will make the ticket prices afordable for everyone. In the 70s and early 80s you didn’t need loan papers to see a decent show. I needed to move to a different state but will aways cherish the concert memories there.

    • daveh

      People need to understand, it’s not the venue or the promoter….if the band charges an exorbitant amount of money the tickets are higher priced…they make the bulk of the money for their performance…..

  • Also Me

    When the band wants to keep ticket prices reasonable but Live Nation steps in and says no, we will charge what we want, there is a problem. Maybe the new owners won’t feel the need to charge $13.00 a beer or $7.50 for a bottle of water either. When your beverage prices are double what they are at Miller Park there is an issue!

  • Marleyjon

    Would be GREAT if it was purchased and utilized again to it`s full potential!!! But with all the much needed renovations, and all the politics involved with the township, I fear a potential new owner might think twice……But, it sure was GREAT while it lasted!! Lots of great memories for many!! Thanks!!

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