Brown County music center to debut with Vince Gill show

An indoor performing arts center is set to open this summer in a southern Indiana tourist destination a decade after arson destroyed the county’s long-popular music venue.

Brown County Music Center officials said Monday that country singer Vince Gill will perform Aug. 24 in the first show at the new 2,000-seat indoor venue in Nashville.

Plans for the $12.5 million venue were announced in June 2017. The proposed name of Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center was later changed.

"The Brown County Music Center will be a visual and auditory masterpiece with cutting edge design that will bring in nationally known performers and host local events," venue officials said in a written statement. "The new venue will offer an incredibly intimate experience for each show. The farthest seat from the stage will only be 106 feet away."

Brown County attracts more than 3 million visitors each year to the rustic, forest-filled county.

But the county has lacked a big concert venue since the Little Nashville Opry venue was destroyed by a 2009 fire. That venue brought big-name country performers to the town for decades, including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Blake Shelton and the Oak Ridge Boys.

Scott Wayman, whose family owns Wayman's Furniture in Martinsville, bought the former site of the Little Nashville Opry at a 2012 Brown County property tax sale and has been talking since then about rebuilding the venue. So far, those plans have not materialized.

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