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A near-sellout crowd cheers as Lynyrd Skynyrd returns to the stage for an encore during Friday night's concert at the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheater in Lampe.

Greetings my Loyal Reader(s), and welcome to the latest edition of the Branson Beat, your home for all the news on the Branson entertainment scene.

As always, feel free to drop me a line at jclark@bransontrilakesnews.com, or send me a message via our Branson Tri-Lakes News Facebook page.

Now, let’s get to it. 

Black Oak Amphitheater opening postponed; Justin Moore 

rescheduled for October  

The ramifications of the global COVID-19 pandemic has struck Ozark Mountain Country once again last week as the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheater’s new owner John M. Stauffer II announced via their website the venue would not open May 30. 

The May 30 opener was to see Justin Moore and Tyler Farr, hitmakers with ties to this area. According to the Facebook post, Moore’s date has been rescheduled for Oct. 10, but Farr will not serve as the opening act. The post stated an opening act “is still to be determined at this time.”

All previously purchased tickets will be honored for the Oct. 10 date, and refunds are available at the point of purchase until May 30. Those who purchased tickets and would like a refund will receive an email on how to request refunds, which are not available via box office. 

Those still wanting to attend the show should hold on to their tickets, as they will be valid for the new date.

Even though they weren’t announced yet, all shows that were booked for June have also been canceled. Shows for “July and rest of season will still be monitored and when and if appropriate to have we will announce updates as available,” the post stated.

Stauffer, a Branson native who has owned several other businesses in this area, including insurance agencies, a construction company and other real estate development, took control of the venue last year.

The amphitheater originally opened in 1983 as Swiss Villa Amphitheater, right around the same time many entertainers opened theaters in Branson. It 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 and his crew began renovating the property.

As far as the Oct 10 show, 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.”

“Thank you all for your support on bringing music back to the Ozark’s and we look forward to being able to share some great live music with you all in the future,” the statement read.

Visit blackoakmountainamp.com.

Branson International Film 

Festival starts Thursday

The third annual Branson International Film Festival goes ahead as scheduled Thursday through Sunday, but it will now be “a virtual festival” through their website, according to a release.

“Last month, everything changed for us and we became part of the global pandemic,” the release stated. “Something as tiny has a virus like this, is a prime example of a ‘quantum leap,’ something small creating a big difference in a split second. Our team went to work and we’re happy to announce that we have a solution that we believe will honor (the) work and present it with excellence, allowing time and space for a larger viewing audience.”

The festival will kick off at 8 a.m. Thursday and wrap at 8 a.m. Sunday in order to “allow time for films to circulate through all time zones.” Organizers are “also working with guest speakers in a way for guests to still have access to them.”

Guest speakers include Justin Giddings, who will speak on funding and his 98.3 percent success rate, Jean Selig Wenger from Treasure Coast Talent in L.A. on acting, and Barbara Nicolosi from Regent University in Virginia on story.

While organizers are excited the “show will go on,” due to the fact they will be posting films on their website, those films could be considered “public view,” which could cause future issues for those in other competitions and festivals. Also worth noting is some films that are already in distribution will not be available for free viewing on the site. However, potential audience members will have an opportunity to purchase a ticket to view their work. Those details will be released soon.

Visit the Branson International Film Festival on Facebook, as well as bransonfilmfestival.com for all the details and announcements.

Modern Songwriting & Production Workshop with Prince Ivan 

set for fall  

September 5 will find local performers Prince Ivan, Aaron Ellsworth and Brydon Brett, will host the Modern Songwriting & Production with Prince Ivan workshop at the Historic Owen Theatre in downtown Branson.

The last few years have seen the duo of Prince Ivan travel between Branson and L.A. to collaborate with writers, producers and engineers who have worked with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Lady Gaga to Justin Bieber. Along the way they have learned many of the secrets of commercial songwriting and production and now they are going to share them with you.

They recently released a new album, “The Preface,” which earned them a spot on the Springboard West Festival roster in San Diego, California, from a field of over 3000 bands. Their song  “Let Her Be Beautiful” will also be featured in an upcoming film called “The Never List.”

In this workshop, the guys will take folks behind the scenes and into the process of creating their album, while sharing everything from song structure to toplining, beat making to recording and all of the elements someone needs to create high quality music for today’s competitive musical marketplace.

“We invite folks to bring their songs to the workshop, either to sing live or play an MP3 for us, as we will do some live feedback during the workshop,” Brett said. “We can’t guarantee the song will get critiqued during the workshop, but we’ll have time to do that on 3-5 songs.”

There will be a $20 registration fee for this three-hour workshop, which benefits the Branson regional Arts Council.

Visit bransonarts.org, as well as princeivan.com.

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