Capricorn, ‘the birthplace of Southern Rock,’ moves closer to becoming studio, museum

By this time next year, the historical Capricorn Sound Studios will be full of interpretive exhibits, artifacts and digital kiosks with music from the Capricorn library including recordings of the Allman Brothers Band.

Mercer University has hired Riggs Ward Design of Richmond, Virginia to install the exhibits in the studio now called Mercer Music at Capricorn, according to a news release.

“Riggs Ward’s vision for Mercer Music at Capricorn is to create a rich, motivational experience that leaves an indelible impression upon the visitor,” Brent Ward, the company’s managing principal, said in the release. “The exhibits will resonate with visitors of all ages and backgrounds.”

Larry Brumley, Mercer’s senior vice president for marketing communications and chief of staff, said the goal of the project is to renovate Capricorn Sound Studios to commemorate the history of music in Macon and to create a place that can promote Macon’s music scene by providing 13 rehearsal spaces and two recording studios.

“Part of the Capricorn project is telling the story of Capricorn because it really had a major influence on our culture and American music,” Brumley said. “Capricorn is credited by many as being the birthplace of Southern Rock.”

Brumley said Mercer Music at Capricorn will be a small museum with a major digital component, and Riggs Ward Design will be responsible for making it happen.

“Really the heart of it’s going to be interactive digital kiosks that visitors can walk up to and interact with,” he said. “They can make playlists. They can see the Capricorn library ... and really just see the history and the story of Capricorn through interactive kiosk.”

Mercer started this project three years ago, and have been focused on planning and fundraising, he said. The fundraising is starting to fall into place, and they will start full force in January to make their December 2019 deadline, he said.

“That’s been our hope since the beginning is to get the studio open before the end of 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of the studios,” Brumley said.

Many great artists recorded at Capricorn including the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band and Wet Willie.

The building also will provide offices and conference rooms, and it will have space for small concerts.

Jared Wright, Mercer’s project liaison to Riggs Ward, said he had the opportunity to work with Riggs Ward on an exhibit at the Atlanta History Center, according to the release.

“I was impressed with their creativity, expertise and professionalism,” Wright said in the release. “I look forward to working with them again to create compelling exhibits and digital interactive experiences that tell the incredible story of Capricorn and Macon’s music heritage.”

Although it was a competitive process, Brumley said they decided to go with Riggs Ward Design because of its vision for the space.

“We really think they’re going to do the best job with taking the interpretive plan and bringing it to life,” he said.