news-category: Homecoming

Ricky Skaggs Opens Gardner-Webb’s Brinkley Amphitheater to a Sold-Out Crowd

An overhead shot of the Brinkley Amphtitheater crowd

Exceptional Evening of Music Punctuates Homecoming Celebration

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A spectacular autumn sunset provided the perfect backdrop as Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder officially opened the Brinkley Amphitheater at Gardner-Webb University on Saturday, Oct. 28. An enthusiastic sold-out crowd welcomed the 15-time Grammy winner along with Gardner-Webb student Lindy Bryson and country artist Will Jones.

The concert also punctuated the Runnin’ Bulldogs last-minute Homecoming victory over UT Martin (38-34), the program’s first win over a ranked team since 2021.

“From start to finish, this was just about as perfect a Homecoming Day as any of us could have imagined,” praised Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs. “With our spirits already sky-high after a thrilling win at Spangler Stadium, we were then treated to a wildly successful grand opening at our new amphitheater. The CMA Hall of Famer Ricky Skaggs supplied a strong show, as we knew he would. Will Jones was terrific, and I’m certain many in the audience who were unfamiliar with him went straight to Spotify following his set. It was, though, the wonderful presence of our own Lindy Bryson that—at least in my view—stole the show. The talent we have on this campus is amazing, and I’m so pleased for Lindy that she could share her gifts with such a large and supportive audience.”

Bryson, who had the honor to be the first performer on the amphitheater stage, opened the evening with her heartfelt performance. “I was able to play some original songs including ‘Muddy Waters,’” Bryson affirmed. “I could have sung all night; it was such a great crowd. Will Jones and Ricky Skaggs were awesome and a pleasure to meet. This was definitely a moment I will always remember!”

GWU President Dr. William M. Downs and Lindy Bryson

Jones, a singer-songwriter originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, followed Bryson with his unique style of bluegrass-inspired music.

Skaggs took the audience on a trip through his legendary catalog and included crowd favorites from Flatt and Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers and Bill Monroe.

Vice President of Marketing Richard McDevitt noted the success of the venue’s first event. “We had a great ‘first night’ in the Brinkley amphitheater,” he observed. “It was a very special experience with a wonderful, sold-out crowd and great performances from the artists. We’re excited to do this again in just a few weeks with Balsam Range and Fireside Collective.”

Join the Gardner-Webb Community for the next concert on Nov. 18 with Balsam Range and Fireside Collective.

Saturday’s concert was made possible in part with a grant from the Town of Boiling Springs TDA. WNCW 88.7 FM was a media sponsor.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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