Weekend at the Cave | Murphysboro, Illinois

Lindsay + Tim Stockhecke


With the Shawnee Cave Amphitheater recently announcing their 2023 Weekend at the Cave lineup, we headed to check out the venue and share more about what you can expect.

Previously known as Saltpeter Cave, the amphitheater reopened in 2020 after almost a decade of closure. While we had heard bits here and there about the history we weren’t entirely familiar with what a music destination the cave had previously been, subsequently learning they have hosted the likes of Steve Miller Band in the 1970s. In a previous interview with KFVS News, new owner Shane Wade described some of the rich 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.”

The venue sits on 50 acres of lush forest with the cave being the largest natural-made amphitheater in Illinois. The sheer magnitude of the rock formation and the way it towers over you creates an experience unlike any other. Having not previously attended a concert here, one can imagine that the acoustics would be truly remarkable. The astroturf area in front of the stage makes for a comfortable seating area but per their website, you should plan to bring a chair/blanket for seating if desired.

Scheduled for the weekend of June 23rd, and with over fifteen musical acts and on-site primitive camping, this looks to be 3-days filled with fun. Their website FAQ also describes it as family friendly with kids twelve and under being free. Their headline acts include Greensky Bluegrass two nights, Elephant Revival, Sam Bush, Twiddle and more. While no outdoor food/beverage is allowed into the venue they will have vendors including 17th Street BBQ.

Photo credit: Shawnee Cave Ampitheatre

Only attending one day? This provides the perfect opportunity to do some additional southern illinois exploring within just a few mile-radius of this stunning venue. Some must-see spots nearby include Pomona Natural Bridge, Cove Hollow, Little Grand Canyon, and several of the wineries on the Shawnee Wine Trail.

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