Four-day celebrationto feature performances by Michael Feinstein, Jason Isbell, LANY and more

Special to the
Opelika Observer

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University is celebrating the start of its inaugural season with a star-studded Grand Opening Festival Aug. 22 to 25. Performances and events will be held in both the Gogue Center’s Walter Stanley and Virginia Katharyne Evans Woltosz Theatre and the Amphitheatre at the City of Auburn Lawn and Porch.
The festival’s four-day schedule promises something for everybody:
• Aug. 22 –
Amphitheatre, 7 p.m.
Free concert for Auburn students, faculty and staff headlined by LANY with special guest COIN
Presented in partnership with the University Program Council
• Aug. 23 –
Amphitheatre, 8 p.m.
Sold-out performance by Grammy Award winners Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit with special guest Molly Tuttle
Sponsored by the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau
• Aug. 24 –
Woltosz Theatre, 8 p.m.
Black-tie fête featuring Michael Feinstein and Friends with Storm Large and special guests Santiago Ballerini and Jeremy Samolesky
• Aug. 25
Amphitheatre, noon to 4 p.m.
Community Day featuring outdoor activities and performances by local and regional artists. Los Angeles-based band LANY will take the stage Thursday evening for the first-ever performance at the Amphitheatre at the City of Auburn Lawn and Porch. The meteorically popular indie-pop trio released their second album “Malibu Nights” in 2018 to wide critical praise and will be making their grand opening festival appearance at the end of a massively successful six-month world tour. The free concert—exclusive to Auburn University students, faculty and staff—is presented by Auburn’s University Program Council in partnership with the Gogue Center.
“We are proud to kick off our grand opening festival weekend with a show produced for and by Auburn University students,” said Director of Programming and Education for the Gogue Center Amy Miller. “This first GPAC event sets the stage for an incredible season to come and demonstrates our focus to develop campus-wide partnerships through a diverse mix of programming and educational experiences.”
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit will play to a crowd of more than 3,000 people at the amphitheatre on Friday evening. The concert, which sold out in less than six days and will welcome attendees from more than 17 states, is generously sponsored by the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau. Isbell, a four-time Grammy Award winner, is an Alabama native who grew up in the Muscle Shoals area. After six years as a regular touring member with the alt-country band Drive-By Truckers, Isbell embarked on an acclaimed solo career with his band the 400 Unit.
“Jason is a supremely talented songwriter and lyricist whose music is deeply influenced by his Alabama roots,” said Executive Director of the Gogue Center Christopher Heacox. “He’s the ideal artist for our premiere ticketed show.”
Bluegrass and country folk musician Molly Tuttle will join Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit as the evening’s opening act.
Tuttle is a guitar-picking phenom coming off back-to-back wins of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year Award for 2017 and 2018. She is the first female artist in the IBMA’s history to receive the coveted honor.
Saturday evening’s black-tie Grand Opening Fête will be headlined by Michael Feinstein, the Grammy and Emmy- nominated Ambassador of the Great American Songbook, who will be joined by chanteuse Storm Large. The evening will also include a performance by bel canto tenor Santiago Ballerini accompanied by Auburn University’s own Jeremy Samolesky on piano.
“We are thrilled to welcome Michael Feinstein and Friends to celebrate the opening of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center,” Heacox said. “With music from the big band era all the way to opera, we will be able to show off the beauty and acoustics of the Woltosz Theatre.”
The fête will also provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the individuals whose generosity and ongoing support have helped make the Gogue Center possible.
“The unwavering support of so many has brought the Gogue Center to life,” Director of Development for the Gogue Center Leah O’Gwynn said. “This weekend is a celebration of our shared commitment and vision to transform the creative landscape of the university, our community and the state of Alabama for generations to come.”
Following the program, the evening will conclude with a champagne toast and building dedication, along with a surprise closing spectacle. Tickets to the Grand Opening Fête are available for $150.
The Grand Opening Festival will close with Community Day on Sunday. The event, which is free and open to the public, will offer food trucks, outdoor family-friendly activities and a special appearance by Aubie. The afternoon’s musical lineup includes performances by Kidd Black Disco Show, Don Clayton, Ella Langley, The Pine Hill Haints and Peggy Jenkins and the Bizness.
For additional information on the Gogue Center’s Grand Opening Festival and for more information on season performances, contact the Gogue Center box office at 334-844-TIXS (8497) or To purchase tickets online, visit
The Gogue Performing Arts Center’s 2019–20 inaugural season is sponsored by the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau and WLTZ.