Live music to return to historic cave amphitheater

Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:15 AM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - A historic concert venue in southern Illinois is being revitalized.

The new owners of what used to be called The Saltpeter Cave in Jackson County are giving the natural amphitheater a facelift as well as a new name.

It will now be known as the Shawnee Cave Amphitheater.

Shane Wade, one of the owners, explained the venue has a lot of history.

“Gib Todd originally constructed it in the late 60s,” Wade said. “Gib developed it into a pretty nationally known music venue. In the late 60s, they had national acts like Head East, Tonya Tucker played here when she 15, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, Muddywaters actually played here.”

Live music is set to fill the cave once again.

“It’s got a great history and we hope to honor that history but kind of make it our own too,” Wade said.

Shawnee Cave Amphitheater is opening its gates over Halloween Weekend.

The Yonder Mountain String Band is set to fill the cave with the sounds of bluegrass.

Beyond the amphitheater, an RV Park, areas to camp, and more all in the works.

Wade said they are working to create harmony to highlight the beauty of the area.

“We really started this project about a year ago,” Wade said. “It’s been in the planning stages for several years but since I’ve been coming down here every day. There’s just something about this place. Just the peace and the quiet and you get away from all the politics and all the things that go on in everyday life. It’s almost like a whole nother world.”

Wade hopes to share this part of the Shawnee National Forest with others.

“We want to make it a destination spot,” Wade said. “There are so many features of this property that go beyond just the amphitheater area, the bluff lines, the views, the valley, the Shawnee National Forest. It just really has a lot to offer.”

Tickets are on sale now for the socially distant concert.

CLICK HERE for information about future events at Shawnee Cave Amphitheater.

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