With a capacity of 20,000 persons, the Violet Crown Amphitheater is the largest music-specific venue in the region with the largest permanent stage. While well within the Austin metropolitan area, it is enveloped in the dark, still, and quiet of the surrounding preserves. Listening to music outdoors under a blanket of stars is as old as humanity itself. That tradition will continue here undisturbed for generations to come.
The Violet Crown Amphitheater has been designed for 21st century Austin which is to say unique, current and relevant from experiential, architectural, environmental and social perspectives. It nonetheless has its roots in the great venues of the past having been modeled most closely on Red Rocks in Denver, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. These venues were recently rated in Rolling Stone as the No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the country. The following are links to these and other venues which are indicative of what we hope to achieve.
ETYMOLOGY OF THE VIOLET CROWN
In one of the surviving fragments, the lyric poet Pindar writes of Athens “City of Light, with thy violet crown, beloved of the poets, thou art the bulwark of Greece.” The climate of Athens is characterized by low humidity and a high percentage of dust in the air, making sunsets display hues of violet and purple and the surrounding mountains often appear immersed in a purple haze.
During the 19th century, residents began to call Austin the “Athens of the South” due to the aspirations of the University of Texas. With this connection established in the minds of local residents and similar purple sunsets as in Pindar’s description, Austin became the modern era’s City of the Violet Crown with that phrase first appearing in the Austin Daily Statesman (now the Austin American Statesman) on May 5th, 1890. While humidity levels are higher in Austin than in Athens, global wind patterns bring dust into the region high in the atmosphere giving local sunsets this same violet and purple hue.
Mythologically, the common name for this dark band is the Necklace of Aphrodite (Greek) or Band of Venus (Roman); both goddesses of love. Inside the necklace was kept the power over the heart. The greatest elongation between the planet Venus and the Sun is only 46 degrees, so Venus, even when visible, is never located opposite the Sun relative to the Earth, and hence never actually in the Band of Venus. The inference is not astronomical, rather symbolic or allegorical in equating the eternal beauty of the Earth’s twilight and the ancient gods who once inhabited those heavens, albeit in all their intense humanity.
The Violet Crown Amphitheater sits on the western slope of one of the highest elevations in the region surrounded at night by the dark stillness of nature. With most shows beginning to seat around twilight, the colorful Central Texas sunsets will be on display with the Violet Crown and Necklace playing out in the mind’s eye as they have done and will do for eternities past and future.