Filmmaker, Sevan Garabedian, from Montreal, Canada is reaching out one last time to 1950s Rock ‘N’ Roll fans about a concert that happened almost 54 years ago.
Garabedian is looking for anyone who attended the Winter Dance Party on Feb. 7, 1959 at the Less Buzz Ballroom in Spring Valley. He made a request last year for information and had some success but no photos from the event. The filmmaker plans to use them and any stories he collects from concert attendees in his documentary “Gotta Travel On: Winter Dance Party Odyssey,” which covers the 1959 tour of big name Rock ‘N’ Roll artists as they traveled through the Midwest.
“It is a moment in time you will never see again,” Garabedian said. “The last pure moment of Rock ‘N’ Roll.”
The tour hosted performances by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, who all died in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa during the tour. Dion and The Belmonts, Frankie Sardo and Holly’s back-up band, which consisted of Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch and Waylon Jennings, also preformed and went on with the tour after the Feb. 3 plane crash. Spring Valley was the first stop on the tour after the crash.
The name for the documentary comes from the Buddy Holly song he opened each show on the tour with, “Gotta Travel On.” Garabedian added “odyssey” because that is what the tour was.
“It’s a tribute to that time and place,” said Garabedian about his documentary.
Garabedian and his co-producer, Jim McCool from Madison, Wis., traveled to cities that hosted the tour to speak with concert goers. He heard stories of teenagers and fans getting to hang out and goof around with the musicians after the concerts.
The filmmaker also interviewed several artists from the tour, including Allsup, Bunch, Sardo and two of the Belmonts, Freddie Milano and Carlo Mastrangelo. Garabedian said he had tremendous respect for the performers because of the string of bad luck the tour had — from the bus breaking down to people getting sick. They also continued playing after the crash as a tribute to their friends.
“You got a sense of how important these shows were,” said Garabedian adding they were places to go to have a good time and parents could feel their teens were safe.
Garabedian said that of the 24 concerts, six of them are lacking photos from the events and Spring Valley is one of these. Garabedian wants any stories people will share about their time at the concert or with the musicians afterwards.
Reward offered for photos
He is also offering a reward for any photos from the Spring Valley or Chicago concerts.
You can contact Garab
edian by email firstname.lastname@example.org as well as phone (514) 931-6959.
The documentary has no official release date but Garabedian expects it to be out in fall 2013. Garabedian said it should run on television and have a limited theater release, and has been mentioned in Rolling Stone magazine and on NBC Nightly News.
Less Buzz allroom was located on the corner of U.S. 6 and Route 89 in Spring Valley but closed its doors in 1961.
It was a roller rink that hosted several popular singers of the time, including Buddy Holly in 1958.