Passport to Clear Lake: The Surf Ballroom

Posted at: 07/22/2011 10:27 AM

(KAAL) - The Surf Ballroom is a place frozen in time. The landmark still hosts dozens of concerts each year.

Music from rock and roll's beginning is always playing from the speakers.

Joey Fritz drove from the twin cities with a group of friends to reminisce.  "I grew up in this era, the 50's and 60's and the kind of music that was played here and the artists that came here are people that are familiar to me... My age group, we're really into going back into our past as we get older, we really like to revisit that part of our lives."

Visitors come by the thousands each year, that's because it was on this stage that the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and buddy holly performed for the very last time in 1959."

After they played at the surf they took off from the airport. Something went wrong and the plane went down moments after take off.

That frozen February day is now called the day the music died.

The site of the crash, now owned by Jeff Nicholas' family, is a ways off the road, in a field.

"All the loyal fans that travel from around the world to the surf,” says Jeff, “The music has never died thanks to them and that's one of the things we're very proud of here in Clear Lake Iowa."

Jeff Nicholas says visitors who want to visit the crash site are welcome, he just asks that visitors respect the area.

The surf ballroom and museum is open during the week. And still hosts dozens of concerts each year.