Advance Event Tickets on Sale Tuesday, November 22nd at 8:00 a.m.  

(CLEAR LAKE, IA) The Surf Ballroom® announced today the much-anticipated lineup for their 2023  Winter Dance Party®, scheduled to be held February 2-4.  

“Our entertainment committee has once again done a terrific job with the lineup. Each year, we try to blend  traditional fifties artists with the many musicians who have been influenced by Buddy, Ritchie and the Big  Bopper. The Winter Dance Party continues to be a celebration of the music that lives on through the many  artists and fans who make a pilgrimage here each February,” remarked Laurie Lietz, Executive Director. 

While events kick off earlier in the week with the Winter Dance Party Rockin’ Kids Show at the Surf, the  event officially begins on Thursday, February 2nd with a fast-paced show featuring fan favorites John  Mueller’s Winter Dance Party® and Holy Rocka Rollaz.  

John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party show is the official live and authentic re-creation of Buddy Holly,  Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper’s final tour and the only show endorsed by the Holly, Valens and  Richardson estates. Each live concert performance includes unbridled, high voltage entertainment featuring  all the hit songs of the 50’s era: That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy, Rave on, La Bamba, Chantilly  Lace, and many, many more. John takes Holly’s songs true to their original form on a reissued 1957 Fender  Stratocaster–the exact year and make of Buddy’s guitar and uses the same heavy flatwound guitar strings  that Buddy used. John is indeed living proof that Buddy Holly’s legacy lives on.  

The Holy Rocka Rollaz are a high energy Minneapolis based trio who are no strangers to the Winter Dance  Party. Using vintage instruments and having spent years studying the styles of all the early rock ‘n’ rollers,  the Holy Rocka Rollaz know how to deliver the spirit and sound of those pioneers…and Winter Dance  Party fans clamor to see and hear them each time they take the Surf Ballroom’s historic stage. 

Friday night brings the annual Winter Dance Party Sock Hop and the many traditions that come along with  it. “The Sock Hop has always been a fun night for fans to dance to the songs they remember best from the  era,” said Event Producer, Shane Cooney. “That tradition continues with our energetic Friday evening  entertainment line-up featuring Shake Baby Shake with The Lovettes, Bill Haley Jr. & The Comets and  Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”  

Shake Baby Shake will bring a performance that showcases hits of many major artists of the 1950s  and ’60s including song styles from the birth of Rock & Roll. Their show also features the charming  Lovettes who honor the girl groups and major female artists of the same time period, such as the Andrew  Sisters, the McGuire Sisters, Lavern Baker, Connie Francis, The Ronettes, The Supremes, Etta James &  more. 

Bill Haley Jr. and the Comets will return to the Surf’s historic stage with many hits recorded in the early  and mid-1950s by the legendary Bill Haley and The Comets, including the number one selling rock & roll  single of all time, Rock Around the Clock. The group was a part of the 2015 Winter Dance Party lineup,  making this their second appearance at the Surf Ballroom’s Winter Dance Party. 

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels first performed at the Surf in the summer of 2022 during the annual CLASS Car  Cruise weekend, where fans were treated to a nostalgic trip back to the start of rock and roll. This will be  the group’s first performance during a Winter Dance Party event. 

The weekend culminates with a star-studded Saturday night concert that includes performances by the Slim  Jim Phantom Trio featuring Jennie Vee and special guests Albert Lee, Chris Montez and Hayden  Thompson; as well as Kenny Vance & The Planotones; Gary U.S. Bonds; and Austin Allsup.  

Rock and roll icon Slim Jim Phantom is well known for his work as the legendary drummer for The Stray  Cats, and alongside bandmates Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker spearheading the neo-rockabilly movement of  the early 1980s. With a love for 50s rock and roll, the Stray Cats took inspiration from that bygone era and  mixed with their youthful energy and aggression to produce the updated hard-edged rockabilly sound that  saw them conquer London, Europe and later the U.S., gaining fans among the likes of Keith Richards, Mick  Jagger, and Robert Plant along the way.  

Phantom is joined by Canadian songwriter/guitarist Jennie Vee and Winter Dance Party fan favorites Albert  Lee and Chris Montez, along with Rockabilly Hall of Famer Hayden Thompson during Saturday’s show.  Kenny Vance & The Planotones are also scheduled to make their first appearance at the Surf Ballroom’s  Winter Dance Party event, while Gary U.S. Bonds and Austin Allsup return to thrill the audience with their  vibrant rock and roll sounds.  

Kenny Vance, an original founding member of Jay & The Americans, has a career that spans from the  1950s to today, including live performances, solo album projects and session work, as well as work in the  TV and film industries. Vance started his first vocal group, the Harbor Lites, with two friends at the age of  15. He then co-founded another group and auditioned for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who signed them  to United Artists Records, naming the group Jay and the Americans. Jay and the Americans released fifteen  albums, with many singles hitting the Top 10. Their first hit, She Cried, was released in 1962. The group  was the opening act for not only The Beatles’ first US performance, but also for The Rolling Stones’ first  US performance at Carnegie Hall. They also appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  

Best known for his number one hit Quarter to Three, Gary U.S. Bonds additionally co-wrote and  recorded School is Out, School is In, Dear Lady Twist, Twist, Twist Senora, Seven Day Weekend and a  number of other hits in the early 60s. Bonds has performed throughout the world, rising to a status so high  that on a 1963 tour of Europe, he headlined above a group of relative newcomers… The Beatles. 

Austin Allsup rose to fame in 2016 as a top-10 finalist on NBC’s “The Voice.” His father, Tommy Allsup,  played guitar with Buddy Holly during the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour and was a regular performer at  the Surf Ballroom until his death in 2017. After performing in his father’s place that year, Austin instantly  became a part of the Winter Dance Party list of fan favorites and has returned to the Surf every year since. 

“This year’s lineup certainly has a fun, rockabilly vibe and is sure to create a very memorable show for our  fans,” noted Jeff Nicholas, President of the North Iowa Cultural Center & Museum. “Coupled with the great  early rock and roll and doo-wop acts on the bill, this year truly showcases the unique variety show format  that the Winter Dance Party is so well known for,” he concluded.  

Event tickets will be available for purchase at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, November 22nd. Advance tickets for  the 2023 event will be sold for $120 each, and are valid for the evenings of Thursday, February 2, through  Saturday, February 4. Both tickets and seating for the event will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, 

with seating reservations available only for those purchasing the 3-day package tickets. Individual night  general admission tickets will also be available for purchase (booth upgrades will not be available for  individual night ticket purchases). Tickets and seating reservations may be purchased online at the Surf  Ballroom’s website ( or by calling the Surf’s box office at (641) 357-6151. All  tickets for the event are non-refundable and the entertainment lineup is subject to change.  

Seating for the event is priced at $100 for a 4-person booth, $150 for a 6-person booth and $250 for a table  which seats up to 10 people. A minimum of 4 tickets must be purchased to reserve a 4-person booth, 6  tickets to reserve a 6-person booth and 8 tickets to reserve a 10-person table on the floor. The booths and  tables will be reserved for all 3 evenings of entertainment (Thursday through Saturday evenings).  

Scheduled to appear at the 2023 Winter Dance Party are:  


John Mueller’s Winter Dance Party, Holy Rocka Rollaz  


Shake Baby Shake & The Lovettes, Bill Haley Jr. & The Comets, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels  


Slim Jim Phantom Trio featuring Jennie Vee and Special Guests Albert Lee, Chris Montez and  Hayden Thompson; Kenny Vance & The Planotones; Gary US Bonds; and Austin Allsup 

Additional events throughout the community are being planned. For the most current information about  the event, please visit: All inquiries regarding this event should be  directed to the Surf Ballroom & Museum by calling (641) 357-6151 or by email at [email protected].  Ticket orders and seating reservations are not accepted through the mail or fax. 

About the Winter Dance Party: 

The Winter Dance Party is the Surf Ballroom’s annual commemorative event honoring the musical legacies  of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The tradition began in 1979 with  a memorial concert organized by Darryl Hensley, a local radio personality for KZEV radio. For more than  40 years, the Surf Ballroom’s celebration of the lives and legacies of Buddy, Ritchie and “The Big Bopper”  has been a very special part of the Surf. Thousands of rock ‘n roll fans from across the globe have made the  pilgrimage to Clear Lake during Iowa’s wintry February weather to be part of this event, and hundreds of  the finest artists have paid tribute through their performances. 

About the Surf Ballroom: 

The Surf Ballroom & Museum is operated by a nonprofit organization (North Iowa Cultural Center &  Museum) whose mission is to preserve, maintain and manage the historic Surf Ballroom property as a center  utilized to enhance the quality of life in the North Iowa area by providing cultural, educational and  entertainment opportunities. Additionally, the organization is committed to both the promotion and  enhancement of the museum’s quality to ensure that the Surf Ballroom’s display of musical history is  available to future generations. The Surf is open Monday through Friday year-round from 8am-4pm and  additionally from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Saturdays from 9am-1pm and Sundays from 1- 4pm. Admission to the Surf Ballroom & Museum is a suggested donation of $5. With a capacity of 2,100,  the Surf also operates as a concert venue with events scheduled regularly. For additional information about  the Surf Ballroom, please call 641.357.6151 or visit  

*Surf Ballroom® is a trademark of the North Iowa Cultural Center & Museum. Winter Dance Party® is  a trademark of John Mueller.