BEAVER DAM, Ky. — Beaver Dam Amphitheater, also known as “the DAM,” is no stranger to big concerts. In October 2014 during the final stages of construction, the first show on the venue grounds featured the late Joe Diffie and Lonestar. 2015 marked the first full season of concerts.
Since that beginning, the DAM has hosted some of the biggest names in show business including John Prine, Tyler Childers, Merle Haggard, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Night Ranger, Tanya Tucker, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Temptations, and Bret Michaels, to name just a few. A star-studded season was planned for 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the entertainment industry in its tracks.
“When coronavirus struck, plans for our concert season seemed to evaporate almost instantly. Still, we wanted to somehow find a way to safely present entertainment for our community and guests,” said Paul Sandefur, Mayor of Beaver Dam, Kentucky.
Heath Eric, Promoter with The Eric Group added, “We knew that we had to focus everything 100 percent on safety. We worked with all parties to develop approved protocols and operating plans that met and exceeded all safety guidelines.”
Beaver Dam presented the first drive-in style concert in Kentucky during COVID-19 on June 13, 2020. The Kentucky Headhunters performed to a sold out crowd of cars, trucks, vans and SUVs at Ohio County High School. An overflow parking lot was also filled with vehicles. This was just one day after Alan Jackson hosted what was billed as the “First Drive-In Concert in North America” June 12.
“The feedback we received from fans was all positive. Folks clearly wanted safe and practical alternatives for entertainment,” said Becky Geary, Executive Director of the Beaver Dam Tourism Commission. “Everyone with whom we spoke enjoyed the show and asked about the next one. We had folks drive in from all across the region to experience the Headhunters in a safe environment. We knew then we were on to something.”
Darren Risinger, Chairman of the Beaver Dam Tourism Commission said, “The response was incredible and the entire team knocked it out of the park. In addition to the Drive-In model, we also wanted to find a way to present a concert safely at the amphitheater. Casting Crowns was originally scheduled for June 19. Due to COVID-19, we moved that show to September 4 and worked on a plan.”
On Sept. 4, the Beaver Dam Amphitheater presented the first socially distanced ticketed event in the region with Casting Crowns and Jamie Kimmett. The event was sold out.
“We redesigned the entire concert experience from entry to exit, concessions, restrooms, seating, walkways, and more,” Eric explained. “Working with our health partners and our entire team, we developed new seating arrangements and safety protocols for this show. Safety was our absolute top priority in every decision. The show and our concert model was a resounding success on all fronts.”
Beaver Dam finished up its 2020 season with drive-in style concerts Sept. 26 with Great White, and Oct. 2 with legendary country outlaw, and 2-time Grammy Award winner, Tanya Tucker. These drive-in concerts took place at Beaver Dam City Park, right next to the Amphitheater.
This was the only date on Tanya’s 2020 World Tour since COVID-19 hit. The team worked diligently with Tanya’s management to coordinate all safety protocols and make the show happen. With a near capacity crowd, the show went off without a hitch.
“In my opinion, Tanya Tucker was one of the best concerts we’ve ever had in Beaver Dam. It was outstanding!” Sandefur said.
A key component to the success of the 2020 season was the “DAMbassadors,” an award-winning volunteer group lead by Geary. In 2019, Beaver Dam received the coveted “GRADD City of the Year” Award for this program.
“We simply could not do this without our exceptional team of volunteers. Hats off to each of them for their dedication and work. It takes a massive team to pull this off, even more so during a pandemic,” Geary said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with how everyone came together to make some special things happen… safely.”
Risinger added, “Each of the bands, the crews, and many of our fans have made a point to reach out and let us know how much they appreciate the steps we’ve taken to keep the music going this year. We’re blessed to have a phenomenal team of staff, partners, and volunteers. We’re just getting started here in Beaver Dam and more excited than ever for the future. Big things are happening at The DAM! Stay tuned.”
Looking ahead to the 2021 season, Beaver Dam is planning a full season of concerts at the DAM. Fans may sign up for their email newsletter at BeaverDamAmp.com and stay in the loop with all announcements.
Kentucky’s First Drive-In Style ConcertSeptember 4, 2020: Casting Crowns with Jamie Kimmett (SOLD OUT)
First Socially Distanced Concert at the AmphitheaterSeptember 26: Great White with the League of Dangerous Gentlemen
Beaver Dam City Park Drive-In Concert
October 2: Tanya Tucker with Hailey Whitters
Beaver Dam City Park Drive-In Concert