The company is expanding with an all-new, even larger campus in Nashville

Andrea Shirk, President & CEO of Rock Lititz [Courtesy]

On the latest episode of Talk This Way, President and CEO of Rock Lititz, Andrea Shirk, joined us to break some exciting news. In addition to their property in Pennsylvania, Rock Lititz has just broken ground on a brand new compound in Tennessee – Rock Nashville.

Stream the full chat below.

In 2014, the Clair Brothers and Tait Towers, two live entertainment production companies based in the unlikely town of Lititz, Pennsylvania, came together to create the largest dedicated rehearsal space in the world, designed and purpose-built specifically for production crews. Seeing a need in the market as live entertainment continues to grow in scale, complexity, and importance to artists, Rock Lititz was built as a “Field of Dreams,” trusting that the entertainment community would value the efficiency and local resources and support that would allow them to best prepare for show day. 

Now, Rock Nashville, set to be completed in the fall of 2025, is Rock Lititz’s next step in supporting the professionals who make the biggest acts in live entertainment possible. The 55-acre campus will be a centralized home for touring production staff, road staff, sound engineers, lighting, video, and production assistants to imagine, build, and rehearse their shows. This first-of-its-kind offering for Nashville includes full-sized arena, stadium and amphitheater production rehearsal facilities, among 13 other purpose-built spaces to support artists and crews of all sizes.

Rock Nashville will create an intentional community in Nashville and a centralized home for artists to imagine, build, and rehearse their shows. The campus will support all types of live entertainment, including music performances, concert tours, festivals, sporting events, half-time shows, theme park entertainment, cruise ship entertainment, brand activations, and experiential marketing for announcements, product launches, and employee events. By bringing together all the necessary key players in one place, Rock Nashville will help the community grow, replicate the magic created in Lititz, PA with a Nashville flair, and support Nashville as it becomes a key hub for innovation in the global live entertainment industry.

SoundCheck, the largest rehearsal studio complex in the world under one roof and a 30-year player in the Nashville music scene, will be the largest tenant in the upcoming campus, joined by Clair Global. 

After a decade of success, the team behind Rock Lititz is excited to bring their experience operating a campus of this scale to Rock Nashville. By bringing their unique operating style and foundation of learnings from the past ten years to the strong, existing industry community in Nashville, Rock Nashville intends to help the city become a premier global destination for live entertainment production and help shape the industry for the next decade and beyond.

“When we started Rock Lititz, we always had a vision that we would potentially be able to build a strong enough foundation that we could add this community to other geographies,” Shirk says. “So, we’ve been looking how would we grow this and where would it make sense? Nashville just became so obvious, as Nashville has really evolved from country music to really the full Music City from a global perspective. We have so many partnerships and relationships [in Nashville], and we work so closely with so many people from Nashville.

“Honestly, when we welcoming touring acts here at Lititz, so many people say, ‘Oh, I’m from Nashville.’ So, as we started looking where else would we want to add production rehearsal spaces, and looking at the Nashville market, it became evident that a large rehearsal space was really missing from that community. And we were starting to actually get a ton of national artists rehearsing in Lititz, but there’s so much about their home and their community [in Nashville] and so much about being local, so we really wanted to be able to support them. So, [we are] looking at, ‘How do we bring some of the things we’ve done in Lititz, but really give it a Nashville flair?’ So, Rock Nashville is going to be a campus that really focuses on creating a community for the live entertainment industry, certainly the local community, but also the global music community that has developed there, and really driving innovation.”

Across all genres of music, and live entertainment, Nashville is home to a tremendous amount of touring musicians, crew members, and more.

“There’s over 40,000 people associated with live entertainment that call Nashville home, and we see that.” Shirk stated. “We see that in every layer. So, people think about the artists, but what they don’t appreciate is all of those crews who make the artist’s vision come to reality. They also called Nashville home. So, this campus is a perfect place to give the artists a support community and really help them thrive, but also all of those crews that are so critical to making this [concert tours] happen, really giving them a place to call home and giving them a place to collaborate. I think that’s what’s going to be really exciting – the amount of folks that will be running into each other on a daily basis [at Rock Nashville].”

While tour rehearsal is what they’re most known for, Andrea says that there’s another aspect of Rock Lititz that the company treats with the utmost importance.

“Some of the things we’re most proud of, actually, is the work we’ve done around education,” Shirk says. “We have a ton of programming. Just yesterday, we had 350 high school students on campus, simply getting exposed to the concept that there are careers in this [live entertainment] industry. We do a College Day for 600 students, and we want to bring all of the environment that we’ve created here around the broader community.”

She adds, “We really do think of our guests, the artists and their crews, and our local people who live in our local communities, and every vendor and everyone who’s part of making something happen. We’ve brought a lot of programming around conferences, education, and performance space for young artists to perform. We want to bring those same concepts to the Nashville community, but also take advantage of so much of what’s already happening there. [We are] really excited about not just the buildings themselves, but all of the collaboration, community, and programming we can build around it that really just helps influence the industry to keep getting better and better.”

Rock Lititz isn’t stopping with just seminars and classes, however, as plans are in motion for their entertainment education to extend far beyond that.

Shirk shares, “We are actually opening a school on campus. […] It’s going to be a four year degree program, Academy of Live Technology, where we will actually train folks in a hands-on environment. They’ll be immersed in the industry. We’re going to partner with Blackbird Academy in Nashville, and make sure we’re bringing that concept to Nashville as well. When you take some of the best at what they do, who’ve been doing this forever, and then you bring in some young energy that has the attitude and aptitude for it, and we combine that, I think we’re going to see some really great things happen for the industry.”

Rock Lititz, and the forthcoming Nashville campus, are fully stocked with gear and equipment. When an artist comes to rehearse and tech ahead of a tour, they bring their entire crew and production with them. With all the pieces already in place, it begs the question – why not have actual concerts at Rock Lititz and Rock Nashville?

“You know, it’s really interesting. So, we have actually had a handful of artists end up doing a show at Rock Lititz, whether it would be a VIP show or a ‘work out the kinks’ show, and invite the community here and say, ‘Hey, I want to do this in front of people who I trust and I can sort of work out those kinks get ready.’ We have actually supported that. I think for us, we’re just in a place where we listen and try to figure out, ‘What does the industry need? What does the artist need?’ And we try to respond to that. So as those demands grow, we’re open to really figuring out how do we solve them together. And, we have certainly seen artists utilizing our spaces for some live events, and with an actual audience, and, I think, having a really fun and unique experience.”