The 2017 version of the Winter Dance Party begins tonight (Wednesday) in Clear Lake. The event has been held at the Surf Ballroom every year since 1979 to honor Buddy Holly, J.P. Richardson and Ritchie Valens who were killed in an airplane crash along with their pilot Roger Peterson after performing at the Surf on February 3, 1959. Surf Ballroom Executive Director Laurie Lietz says a family sock hop begins at 6:30 tonight with the “Johnny Rogers History of Rock ‘n Roll Show.” Thursday’s lineup features the son of Tommy Allsup, an original guitarist on the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour.
A number of cover and tribute bands will perform on Friday night as part of the “Traditional Sock Hop.” The main concert Saturday night will feature headliner Johnny Rivers.
On Saturday morning, an escorted tour to the site of the plane crash is offered. There’s a memorial at the crash site, located in a farm field north of Clear Lake.