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Waterloo Revival to perform in Sam Michael's Park's new amphitheater
March 15, 2019

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HARPERS FERRY -- Jennifer Myers, director of Jefferson County Parks and Recreation, announced on Friday that Nashville recording artists, Waterloo Revival, will be the first band to perform on the stage at the county's new amphitheater.Nashville recording artists, Waterloo Revival, will be the first band to perform on the stage at the county's new amphitheater.

The country duo will entertain at the May 4 'Soaring into Summer' event, scheduled at Sam Michael's Park.

Waterloo Revival is comprised of Cody Cooper and George Birge, from Austin, Texas, who met in middle school.

"By seventh grade I was hooked, and Cody and I were writing songs together," Birge said.

The young men continued to play music together, while attending college in two different locations. Cooper attended the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, while Birge remained in Austin at the University of Texas. As they continued to play every chance they could, they soon realized music was their future.

Naming their band Waterloo Revival came easy.

"Before it was Austin, our hometown was called Waterloo," Cooper said. "Eventually it was renamed to honor the 'Father of Texas' Stephen Austin."

"We were so influenced by the Austin music scene growing up, we decided on the name Waterloo Revival in order to bring Austin music heritage to the rest of the world," Birge said.

The duo traveled between Austin and Nashville for more than a year, before a chance meeting occurred between them and T.K. Kimbrell, manager for Toby Keith. In June 2016, Waterloo Revival signed to Keith's label, Show Dog Nashville, and joined Keith on the Toby Keith Interstates and Tailgates. The duo has not looked back.

"We are so excited to have Waterloo Revival be our first act at the Amp," Myers said. "It has been a long time in the works to have this venue at our parks."

The idea for the amphitheater project began decades ago, according to Myers.

"The project known as the John Brown Amphitheater project was first introduced in 1975, when Sam Michaels Park was designated as a West Virginia State Park," Myers said. "During that time, the project was being explored and developed to encourage additional educational opportunity and tourism, that fit seamlessly with the offerings in the Harpers Ferry National Parks."

At that time, a single play was to be written to share the John Brown story with visitors to Jefferson County. It was to be a musical, produced by the same company that produced the play, "Honey in the Rock" in Beckley. The State of West Virginia intended to make an investment in the rich history of the Eastern Panhandle to further drive tourism.

"Due to changing political tides, and the reassessment of State Parks, Sam Michaels Farm property was turned over to Jefferson County, to instead be developed into a county park," Myers said. "There was the humble beginning of the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission."

Over the years, Sam Michaels Park has expanded as has the county system. In 2006, the county parks system constructed the Jefferson County Community Center at Sam Michaels Park, which has become home to the administrative offices of the park staff and the premier park in the county's system.

A small stage had served in the events field at the park for entertainment at various events, including the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Mountain Heritage Festival for years, as well as the park's Independence Day celebration each year.

"In 2017, while preparing for the fireworks show, it was determined the little stage that had served us for so many years was warn, tired, and failing," Myers said. "Our Parks and Rec maintenance was called in to reinforce the flooring, so we didn't lose our emcee during the event. It was time to build a new stage."

It was time to move forward with the amphitheater project and "The Amp" project began with a West Virginia Culture and History grant to help get the ball rolling.

"Phase one of the project was completed this past fall and winter," Myers said. "We will officially be opened to the public at our brand-new Soaring into Summer event, 'Things are looking up in Jefferson County' and we will celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony, remote control airplane exhibition, hot air balloon, craft and vendor show, concessions, and now Waterloo Revival."

Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.SoaringIntoSummer.eventbrite.com. Prices are $15 for adults in advance and $20 at the gate. Students 12-17 are $5 and children under 12 are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. It is a lawn seat venue so chairs and blankets are encouraged.

The Amphitheater Project has been a dream for decades in Jefferson County. We are extremely proud to announce it has become a reality in Sam Michaels Park and we look forward to continuing the growth and expansion of arts, culture, music, education, theater, community, public involvement, and investment in recreation tourism and economic development in Jefferson County.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017.

In an exploration to learn what it would take to construct a new, pavilion-type stage to meet the needs of the festivals and events in Sam Michaels Park, the 2003 plans were rediscovered.

Helbing, Lipp was interested in reviving the opportunity to work with the department again, and grant opportunities were presented.

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