After announcing the Black Oak Amphitheater in Lampe would return for the 2020 season last year, new ownership recently unveiled country hitmaker Justin Moore, along with special guest Tyler Farr, will headline the venue’s first show in nearly seven years, set for May 30.
The new owner, John M. Stauffer II, is a Branson native and has owned several other businesses in this area, including insurance agencies, a construction company and other real estate development.
“Being from here, I hope everyone is as excited about this venue coming back as I am,” he said. “It’s our thought and hope this will be a great venue to have back in the Ozarks. I have very strong roots in this area, and a passion as an entrepreneur to have successful businesses in this area, as well as being involved in this community, and I’m really hoping this business will be another way to give back to the community.”
The amphitheater originally opened in 1983 as Swiss Villa Amphitheater, right around the same time many entertainers opened theaters in Branson.
The theater was later renamed Black Oak Mountain Amphitheater. While the theaters in Branson featured some of the top names in country music, the amphitheater started out as a venue for rock bands. Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf and Ozzy Osbourne all performed at the amphitheater.
Despite the early success, the amphitheater was closed in 2000. A decade later, the venue was purchased, renovated and reopened, much to the delight of many locals, playing host to such artists as B.B. King, Steve Martin, Buddy Guy and Earl Scruggs.
The venue hosted shows for four seasons, and after hosting only four shows in 2013, the amphitheater was put on the market following the season. The doors to the amphitheater closed in August, 2013, after a Journey concert.
The venue sat empty until last year when Stauffer took over.
“I purchased the venue about a year or so ago, and it’s been a big feat to overcome everything that was stolen and vandalized there to get it all back into shape for our opening performance,” he said. “Every piece of copper was stolen, every piece of glass was broken, all the dry wall was kicked in. It was an absolute disaster. Trashed and overgrown, just destroyed from vandals that, I guess didn’t have anything better to do.”
“But, we are well on our way now, and we’ve got a lot of the vandalism repaired now, and we’ve put measures in place to prevent it from happening again.”
According to Stauffer, they’re “shooting for six to eight successful shows the first year,” then “grow” into more shows over the next few years.
“We know we need to do enough to keep folks talking about the venue and keep them going ... so we’re going to make sure we just don’t throw things together. We want to make this the best experience for the concert goers, as well as the artists who are performing.”
For the first show, Stauffer and his staff chose several hitmakers with ties to this area.
Moore, a native of Poyen, Arkansas, has been making music since 2009, and has charted 16 hits over that time. His biggest hits include the No. 1 singles “Small Town USA,” “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” “Til My Last Day,” “Lettin’ the Night Roll,” “You Look Like I Need a Drink,” “Somebody Else Will,” and the 2018 smash, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home.”
Moore also has a slate of Top 10 hits, including “Backwoods” and “Point at You.”
Joining Moore is Farr, a Garden City, Missouri and Missouri State University alum. His biggest hits include “Whiskey in my Water, “Redneck Crazy,” and “A Guy Walks Into a Bar.”
As far as what’s set to follow the May 30 show, Stauffer said they have several things in the works, but remain focused on their first show.
“We’ve been working with several booking agents and talent buyers, and we have several more pending, as well as several offers out there, but everyone is just waiting to see how the first show goes,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to bring back to this area, those bigger name acts that everyone is wanting to see, and I hope everyone will spread the word and come out and enjoy some great concerts and entertainment in the Ozarks.
“There isn’t really a place around locally you can have some big names ... and a venue like this fits so well into our area, and the entertainment options we’ve always been known for.”
Tickets for the May 30 show are on sale now.
For more information and tickets, visit blackoakmountainamp.com.