GRUNDY, VA – MAY 13, 2024 – An up to $50,000 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund to Sunset Holler, Inc. to be used to help finance the construction of the Southern Gap Amphitheater in Buchanan County, Virginia was closed recently.

“Adding to and improving the tourism assets already in Southwest Virginia is what the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund was created to do,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Sunset Holler Inc.’s plans to construct an amphitheater will do just that. At the same time, it will create jobs in the construction phase and jobs in the operational stage.”

Sunset Holler, Inc. is a Virginia non-stock corporation formed on December 3, 2018.  Initially, plans were to construct a larger venue on property deeded to Sunset Holler from the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), but the project has since been scaled to a 2,000-seat venue. The project now involves a land swap between Sunset Holler, Inc., the Buchanan County Industrial Development Authority and Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure, Inc. and will see the amphitheater constructed on property adjacent to Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure, a year-round campground located at Southern Gap.

As planned, the amphitheater will host live music performances, film screenings, speaking engagements, weddings, sports and corporate events.  The project has been endorsed by both the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors and the Buchanan County IDA.

“We’re very appreciative of VCEDA’s support on this project and also happy to see the project this close to becoming a reality,” said Matt Fields, Buchanan County Industrial Development director. “In working with Sunset Holler to scale the project, the idea of a property swap came up that would allow more synergy with the tourism/outdoor recreation already taking place at Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure. At the same time, it would lower development costs and allow the IDA to establish a second housing development in the near future on the property previously set aside for the amphitheater project. We’re very appreciative of the efforts of all involved parties and are very excited to see Southern Gap continue to grow.”

Once constructed, Sunset Holler plans to lease the facility to an operator/manager. Sunset Holler plans for the amphitheater to become an affiliated venue of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. The Crooked Road previously provided a letter of support for the project. 

“Sunset Holler is extremely grateful for VCEDA’s grant supporting the development of the Southern Gap Amphitheater Project in Buchanan County,” said Asher McGlothlin, Sunset Holler president. “VCEDA’s support is critical to the success of this project. We firmly believe this project’s positive impact has the ability to be felt throughout Southwest Virginia and we continue to be appreciative of the funding and assistance we have received thus far from so many incredible organizations and generous donors. The project is moving forward and we currently anticipate the spring of 2026 for the amphitheater’s opening.”

The final design for the new site is being worked on now, with construction anticipated to begin this fall, McGlothlin said. Construction should be complete by the end of 2025, with the amphitheater expected to open for its first season in spring 2026.

 About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.