Near Lampe, MO. -- Bringing a vacant music venue back to life in Stone County hasn't been easy. Thieves and vandals damaged the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheater. However, the new owner is determined to make sure the property just outside Lampe is rockin' and rollin' once again.
"People met their spouses here. This is the first concert we've ever got to go to," New Owner Johnny Stauffer said. "People have a lot of memories here."
Many people in the area have stories of good times at Black Oak Mountain Ampitheater. However, Stauffer says it's now time to make new memories, too.
"Everybody knows that Branson, Missouri has music," Stauffer said.
However, for six years, the venue, which sits about 40 minutes from Branson, has been vacant.
"Kicked in almost all the doors," Stauffer said.
Vandals and thieves have hit hard.
"The holes in the ceiling where they just poked things up there," Stauffer said.
They're even torn up remodel work that's been done since Stauffer bought the place in June.
"Somebody came in just a few days ago and ripped all the insulation down already, I'm not sure what joy they got out of that," Stauffer said.
The property now has its own security, which patrols the area to keep vandals from breaking in.
Still, despite the challenges, Stauffer says as a local himself and a businessman, he's determined to put this stage back in the spotlight.
"Some of the motivation and drive that I have to try to make this succeed," Stauffer said. "The best concerts you go to are the ones that are packed out and everybody's enjoying the music."
Before closing in 2013, the amphitheater hosted performances by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey, and Tim McGraw. Now, Stauffer hopes to bring big names back to the Ozarks, filling the stands and also this part of Stone County.
"I'm kind of excited about it," Cruise Inn and Throttle Down Bar and Grill Owner Chip Meyers said.
Meyers' business is about five miles from the amphitheater.
"It's a nice amphitheater," Meyers said. "It's just been sitting down there for years."
He says his hope is that Black Oak will bring more visitors to Stone County.
"It helps everybody. They'll stop in town and get gas, they'll stop and get food at other places," Meyers said.
Stauffer says they plan to have the amphitheater up and running by the 2020 season, but in the coming weeks they plan to announce their opening act. You can follow their progress and schedules by following them on Facebook.