It has to be the most famous music venue in Iowa, and now it's being recognized nationally. The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake is nominated for the 2019 ACM (Academy of Country Music) Award for Venue of the Year-Small Capacity. Its competition in the category is fierce.

All but one of the other small venues nominated are from large metropolitan areas. The five nominees are:

  • House of Blues-Anaheim, California
  • House of Blues-Boston, Massachusetts
  • Floore's-Helotes, Texas
  • Ryman Auditorium-Nashville, Tennessee
  • Surf Ballroom-Clear Lake, Iowa

The original Surf Ballroom was built in 1933 and was located across the street from its current location. After being destroyed by a fire in 1947, the current Surf Ballroom opened the following year.

Surf Ballroom is most often remembered around the country because of a tragedy that occurred after a performance on the night of Monday, February 2, 1959. After performing for about 1,100 fans at the Surf, a plane crash the following morning killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and their pilot Roger Peterson. It would become known as The Day the Music Died.

Three years ago, the Surf Ballroom was added to the National Register of Historic Places and still continues to draw top artists. Brett Young played the famous venue just weeks ago. You can see photos from his performance HERE.

Surf Ballroom isn't just deserving of a nomination for an ACM Award, a win would add to its storied history. The ACM Awards air on CBS 2 Sunday, April 7, 2019, from 7 to 10 p.m.


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