A concert venue near mid-Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks is in the process of being rejuvenated after decades in existence as a boondoggle.
The former Stoneridge Amphitheater in Camdenton is in the home stretch of its 2018 season. Ozarks Amphitheater as it’s now known was built in 1993 and never ran through a full season of shows for almost 25 years.
The first owner neglected to be properly insured against unforeseen events and went out of business after three of the first five shows were rained out. The second owner lacked financing and experience in concert promotions and ended up in bankruptcy.
The venue was saved from extinction by a group of churches that staged a Christian music festival there once a year known as Crossover. A local publication in 2008 billed the show’s 10th anniversary as “One of mid-America’s largest Christian music events” that was “expected to attract 10,000 music fans”. Venue spokesperson Mary Kay Von Brendel said at one time it was in danger of being bulldozed over to make way for a subdivision when the county was looking to cut losses.
Ozarks Amphitheater was recently voted “Best Entertainment Venue” by Missouri Magazine. Von Brendel is proud of the sound produced in the amphitheater. “The acoustics here are second to none, especially for an outdoor amphitheater,” said Von Brendel. “Whoever was the architect and the engineer did a phenomenal job and gave us quite a gem of a facility.”
The covered stage, which is 5,000 square feet, can accommodate a large presentation. Stadium-style seating is on a rising amphitheater grade. At full capacity, it would seat 10,222 with a lawn behind the fixed seating area offering additional space for 3,000 attendees.
The current owners purchased the amphitheater at auction in 2013 and are attempting a gradual rejuvenation with the current seating arrangement fenced off at 6,500. “It’s a big ship and it’s going to take a lot to turn it around,” said Von Brendel.
Notable progress was made this year when its season kicked off with a near-capacity crowd for an Alabama concert. Country artist Aaron Lewis appeared Friday. Ozarks Amphitheater’s season runs from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. This year’s final presentation will be a Rotary event on September 29th.
Von Brendel says it took two years to bring the facility back to industry standards before is reopened in 2015. She notes the amphitheater’s full potential was never realized until the recent past. “We actually are the first owners to actually have an entire first season at the amphitheater,” Von Brendel said.
A novel attraction took place at the Ozarks Amphitheater Sunday when it screened the second season of the Netflix series “Ozarks”. Free binge watching of the show’s 10 one-hour episodes that are based on the area started at noon and continued well into the night.
Ozarks Amphitheater LLC is owned by Bill Carle who operates to the venue with a group of people including Von Brendel.