Bringing the 'sound of music' to the hills around Sand Springs

Tuesday, September 16th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The Vision plan and its arena have music-lovers dreaming about future shows with Paul McCartney and Cher and Dave Matthews. But there's another venue on the drawing board outside of Vision, one could even say despite Vision.

As News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg tells us, planners of the Oklahoma Music Amphitheater in Sand Springs say the show will go on.

Right now, there's only wind whistling through the trees west of Tulsa, but soon there could be the sound of music. The planners of the Oklahoma Music Amphitheater hope it is where Tulsa's music heritage will be reborn. "Tulsa's really the capital of live music, the Cain's Ballroom was phenomenal in its day." Like a lot of Baby-Boomers, Steve Ball had a band in college.

Since then, he acquired some weighty credentials like an MBA from Harvard and 20-plus years experience as an executive at Williams Companies. Now, he's taking his love of music and his business skill and focusing them on building an outdoor amphitheater. "And what we're targeting is really a market in between Dallas, Kansas City, and Denver. There's a hole right there that is lacking a major venue."

They've set their sights on a natural bowl in the hills around Sand Springs. They've got the same architect who's designed virtually all the major amphitheaters in the country, very popular venues like Red Rocks, Colorado and this one called Pine Knob in Michigan.

And they've struck a chord with investors. A major bank has given their business plan a glowing review. And they're headed to Los Angeles this week to talk to a well-known promoter. "I think we can be successful, because we have got a lot of interest in this project."

They hit a sour note when they were left out of the Vision project, but they say city and county leaders are still offering support for infrastructure and for northwest development. "In talking with government officials, that's important to them. I mean, how far south, east can Broken Arrow go?" But they want the whole region back on the map. "It's got a deep-rooted musical heritage that's just barking to get out."

If all goes well with investors, they say they could break ground in as little as one or two months.