Rebuilding America: A look at the entertainment industry at the Lake

Charis Patires
A concert at Ozark Amphitheater.

While some events at Lake of the Ozarks have been rescheduled or canceled, many others are moving forward as planned.

According to Mary Kay Von Brendel, director of operations at Ozarks Amphitheater, they’ve rescheduled all concerts in May and June, and will start their season later this year. The first concert will be on July 3 when the Avett Brothers take the stage, followed by REO Speedwagon on July 4.

Staff has been in contact with other professionals in the industry to find out what best practices they’ve implemented that work.

Ozarks Amphitheater will be offering flexible seating options by opening up more seating on the upper level and lawn (which is usually fenced off). Plans are also in place to add point of sales at the concession stand to get people through lines quicker. A limited number of people will be allowed backstage to protect the traveling artists, and common areas have been sanitized.

Also coming to Ozarks Amphitheater in July is For King & Country, and Jamey Johnson & Whiskey Myers. Granger Smith will perform in August, followed by the Crossover Christian Music Festival, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Comedian Rodney Carrington comes back in September along with Tree Dog Night.

At Shawnee Bluff Vineyard, all concerts are moving forward as originally scheduled. Gail Griswold, owner of Shawnee Bluff Winery & Vineyard, says they are adhering to the six foot rule to comply with social distancing requirements which will require them to place a cap on attendance and spacing out families. They will be working on markers for lines to allow spacing and spreading out concessions.

“We are fortunate in the fact that our seating is temporary and easy to adjust,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to bring national acts to the Lake area while still providing safe and comfortable environment for our guests.”

The first concert will be May 30 with The Bellamy Brothers. Tracey Lawrence comes in June followed by Foghat and Joe Nichols in July, and Sawyer Brown and Josh Turner in September.

Other groups, such as the Lake Area Community Orchestra, who hosts a variety of free concerts during the summer, have cancelled their plans. Concerts had been scheduled in nine communities around the Lake area but due to concerns over the Covid-19 virus they decided to call it off. 

Summer hotspots and attractions like Miner Mike’s, Bridal Cave and Big Surf are also adapting to the changes as they reopen.

Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park reopened on May 12 for cave tours and weddings. A limit of 10 guests have been placed on cave tours. Weddings, the rock shop and nature trails also opened following the 6 foot between family/groups rule.

According to general manager Steve Thompson, enhanced cleaning has been instituted for the safety of staff and guests. They’ve installed sneeze guards at registers, are conducting temperature checks on staff upon arrival at work and halfway through work, all high touch areas are being cleaned after every tour, there is hand sanitizer readily available, and other measures have been implemented.

Big Surf plans to open June 12 after working with the local health department and the World Waterpark Association.

Miner Mike’s and Busters game floor area is open, although the maze play area and snack bar are closed for now. Games are separated to meet social distancing recommendations, staff are required to wear masks, and CDC cleaning methods and products are being used. Busters Garage indoor electric go karting is also open.

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Lake Sun Leader