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Is the Holy Grail of rock posters from a Buddy Holly show in Mankato?

Buddy Holly & the Crickets

Buddy Holly & the Crickets

It could be the Holy Grail of rock posters – and it has a Minnesota connection.

No, it’s not related to Bob Dylan or Prince. It’s from the Winter Dance Party 1959, the fateful Upper Midwest tour that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa.

The tour played 11 cities before the tragedy on Feb. 3. One was Mankato, the Kato Ballroom.

Heritage Auctions is selling a poster of the Jan. 25, 1959 concert in Mankato.

“People didn’t save much in the ‘60s and they saved nothing in the ‘50s,” said Pete Howard, a longtime poster collector who is now Heritage’s consignment director of music memorabilia. “There is only one from Mankato. This is as rare as anything gets.

“This is the Holy Grail of rock posters because this was the first rock ‘n’ roll tragedy. It was an iconic shift in pop culture and society.”

And there are only three known Winter Dance Party 1959 posters from before the crash – and two from after, according to Howard.

A poster from the Moorhead, Minn., show – the one Holly and others were flying to – sold privately for $175,000. Howard thinks that’s a record for the sale of a rock poster.

The Winter Dance Party also performed in St. Paul, Montevideo and Duluth (Bob Zimmerman, aka Bob Dylan, was in the audience there) as well as cities in Wisconsin and Iowa.

The Mankato poster was owned by Janice Bucek Eggers, who, as a rural Minnesota teen, grabbed it off a Kato Ballroom wall when she left the concert. She sold the poster in 2006 and provided a provenance.

The buyer – and current owner – had it “expertly touched up,” Howard said, such as having the scratches painted.

The poster is on auction through Saturday at HA.com/7217. The current bid is $22,000.  

Crooners delays live streaming series but will pay musicians anyway

Debbie Duncan/ Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace

Debbie Duncan/ Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace

After raising more than $25,000 to pay Minnesota musicians to live stream concerts, Crooners Supper Club in Fridley has postponed its Keep Music Live series but will pay unemployed musicians anyway.

After making an announcement last week about a series with as many as five shows a week, Crooners has decided to hold off on the live streaming concerts because of new guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

The series was scheduled to start Friday with a performance by siblings Jennifer and Reed Grimm in the otherwise empty 85-capacity Dunsmore Room at Crooners.  

“We sympathize with the desire to give the stay-at-home order a chance to reduce the spread in a crucial time, while also accomplishing the objective of getting funds to working artists immediately,” Crooners music director Andrew Walesch said in a statement. “Out of respect, we feel it is prudent to delay the shows.”

Meanwhile, the non-profit Twin Cities Jazz Festival will handle payments to musicians who agreed to perform in the series that was booked throughout April. The money came from private donations.

“This way the fund is doing exactly what it set out to do -- to get immediate help to members of our thriving music community who have no income because of the closures,” TC Jazz Fest executive director Steve Heckler said in a statement.

Among the musicians booked were Robert Robinson, Joyann Parker, Debbie Duncan, Patty Peterson, Prudence Johnson, Pat Donohue and Mick Sterling.

Crooners presented its last concert on March 15 featuring Duncan and Robinson before, like all music venues, closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Keep Music Live streaming series was organized by Crooners, the TC Jazz Festival, Jazz Central music club and KBEM-FM (Jazz 88).

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