| 'The Night The Music Died'
|It was after performing at the
Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Iowa,
on a cold February night in
the event happened that changed rock and roll forever.
The small plane
carrying Rock and Roll Ledgends
into a field shortly after take off and all perished.
Their music will live in the hearts of all
those that danced to and sang their music.
The Surf Ballroom
460 North Shore Drive, Clear Lake
One of Clear Lake's premier attractions is the Surf Ballroom.
The ballroom is best known as the site of Buddy Holly's last concert
2, 1959. Holly, along with Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The
Big Bopper" Richardson, died
in a plane crash north of Clear Lake
following their performance at the Surf in the early
of February 3rd. Each year, a tribute is held the first full
weekend in February to pay tribute to the legendary performers.
the year, the Surf Ballroom is host to a variety of
musical acts, ranging from rock and
roll, to jazz, the blues and
traditional big bands. Groups who have recently performed
Surf include Cheap Trick, George Thorogood, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley
and Tracy Lawrence (watch the Surf Ballroom's calendar of events for
of upcoming concerts). The Surf can also be reserved
as a convention site and reception
In 1995, the Surf Ballroom was restored to its original
thanks to the Dean Snyder family which purchased the
ballroom in September of 1994.
The ballroom had the great honor of
being named Iowa's Attraction of the Year in 1995.
In 1998, the
Surf, along with former manager Carroll Anderson, was officially
inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Okoboji, Iowa.
Surf Ballroom is open to the public year round Monday
through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. (Open Mondays & Fridays
only in September 2004). There is no admission charge
guided tours. Narrated tours are available to large groups for a
nominal fee (reservations required).
Buddy Holly Crash Site
just another Iowa soybean field before the plane carrying
Buddy Holly crashed there.
Now, to fans, it's hallowed ground.
Ken Paquette, who lives in Portersfield, Wis., 50
miles north of
Green Bay, wanted something permanent at the exact location of the
crash. "People didn't know exactly where it was," said Paquette, a
fan. "There were flowers scattered all along the fence
line. I thought there should
be something there."
Paquette made a stainless steel guitar and a set of three stainless
steel records. On the guitar are the names Buddy Holly, Ritchie
and The Big Bopper, along with the date of the crash,
2/3/59. On the records, there
are the names of the recording labels
and the big hits for the three artists: "Peggy
Sue" on Coral,
"Donna" on Del Fi and "Chantilly Lace" on Mercury.
memorial is located on private property. Visitors are asked to
respect their rights
while visiting "The Place The Music Died."
Directions to Crash Site: From U.S. Highway
18, go north on North
8th Street in Clear Lake for 4.7 miles. When the paved road (which
has turned into Grouse Avenue) turns to your left (west), take the
road (310th Street) to your right (east), then immediately
left (north) on Gull Avenue.
Follow Gull Avenue to the north for
one-half mile, just past the grain bins to the first
fence row on
your left (west). Walk along the fence row towards the west for
just under one-half mile. A small memorial is located at the place
came to rest. Four trees were also planted along the
fence row in 1999, one for each
performer and the pilot.
Clear Lake, Iowa 50428
Phone: (641) 357-2481
Fax: (641) 357-7735
|Information used from
Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce