Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association unveils new Burlington museum


Say goodbye to boring online living room concerts – the pandemic is over, live music reappears, and musicians can perform in public again.

On Saturday, the Capitol Theater in Burlington will host an open house for its new Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame exhibit in the theater annex.

Established in 1997 as the first state rock and roll award in America, the mission of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association is to preserve the legacy of rock music in Iowa by honoring achievement, educating young people and inspiring artists. Inductees are recognized for having contributed to more than 25 years of musical excellence.

Capitol Theater live event coordinator Jeff Poulter said the exhibit consists of memorabilia from the Iowa HOF, with a focus on members from Burlington and Southeast Iowa who have been inducted, and on potential future inductees.

“Some of those acts that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame are having a national impact – the Bo Ramseys of the world,” Poulter said. “A lot of people in this region have seen these groups grow, so this is an opportunity to recognize them, to have a little lasting history.”

Diane Sanders, IRRMA’s regional consultant in Southeast Iowa, said more than 40 people in Southeast Iowa are inducted into the Iowa Hall of Fame out of a total of 338.

“It gave us the idea to create this side museum to reflect their integration, to reflect future integration, and to give a little piece of the corner of the state to the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association,” said Sanders.

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The exhibit features artifacts and facts about what’s going on with rock and roll in Iowa today, as well as a working vintage jukebox.

The pandemic shutdown of public gatherings last year derailed the induction of Tommy Lee of Burlington, a longtime guitarist in the area, and Musician’s Pro Shop, located at 800 Maple Street in Burlington.

“Tommy is no longer with us, but his son, Eric Lee, has a business here and helps sponsor this event,” Poulter said. “I think it’s important to continue this legacy and recognition of the people who have provided entertainment in Southeast Iowa and Burlington.”

Lee owns The Som Bar & Grill at 863 Jefferson St. in Burlington; The Som offers live music.

The first group from Southeast Iowa to be inducted into the HOF was GONN of Fort Madison in 2004; the first solo musician was Patrick Hazell of Burlington in 2007. When a group is inducted, each member of that group is inducted; Hazell’s band Mother Blues is also in the HOF.

A native of Burlington, Bo Ramsey gained traction in the 1970s as a member of Mother Blues and gained national notoriety and a Grammy for his work on Lucinda Williams’ album, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” which also includes Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris. .

Poulter and Sanders said one of the goals of the annex is to give residents of Southeast Iowa the opportunity to learn more about their local musicians who are celebrated at the IRRMA Museum in Okoboji, Iowa. , which is in the upper northwest corner of the state, further than St. Louis and Chicago.

“There are over 40 people from this area who are inducted, but some of them are from groups that I didn’t recognize,” Poulter said.

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Saturday’s event will be held outdoors on Third Street

Saturday’s event will take place outside on Third Street, and fans are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and other seating options – but Poulter stressed that this event is not the Old Couch Music Fest , an August event where participants are encouraged to drop off their old furniture. at the Capitol to donate to charity.

“It’s a recognition of the musicians and people who have made an impact on the music of Burlington and Southeast Iowa,” Poulter said.

It will be a relaxed and festive atmosphere: live music from Andy Avery and the Decades places a seventh of Southeast Iowa’s inductees under the Capitol marquee – all decades are in the HOF – and beer, the wine and soft drinks will be available.

There will be no food truck for this event; people are encouraged to bring food from local sponsors Wake N Bake, The Som and Napoli’s.

“I know the past year has been tough for small businesses, but small businesses continue to support the Capitol Theater in downtown Burlington,” Sanders said.

Other sponsors include Farney’s on Jefferson (702 Jefferson St.) and Mac Coffin Jr.

“It will be a very relaxed and comfortable event with music from seven to nine,” Poulter said. “Bring your own chairs, relax, listen to music and visit the museum.”

You can learn more about the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and search for other local inductees at

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The spiderweb

The Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame includes more than bands and musicians – iconic ballrooms, media representatives, music stores, promoters, radio stations, recording studios and individuals. support staff are also inducted.

The Spider’s Web in Burlington was one of the best youth centers in America in its heyday, and founder and director Mrs. Margaret (Roy H.) Uffelman (call her mom, that’s what everyone has fact) was and is a rock and roll hero elected her the Hall of Fame in 2013 for Lifetime Achievement.

Imagine a youth center in Burlington today with 6,000 participants in one month.

The Spider’s Web did this in the mid-60s.

The web was where spirited high school kids flocked to play cards and ping-pong, drink soda, and dance to live music.

The centerpiece of Burlington for more than a quarter of a century, the Web was the oldest operating youth center in the United States and probably the only self-sufficient as it actually made a profit at its peak, thanks to fees from membership, cover costs, sales of sodas, gifts and bequests.

When the Spider’s Web held its grand opening at the YMCA in 1943, a writer for the Burlington Hawk-Eye Gazette predicted that it would soon be extinct.

It lasted all of World War II and the two wars that followed.

Many Southeastern Iowa inductees to the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame have appeared on the web over the years, including Bo Ramsey, Dennis Albee, Dick Douglas, Patrick Hazell and Tommy Lee, and

groups such as GONN, the Macabras, the Untouchables, Uncle & the Anteaters and the Trippers.

Rules for dancing on the web

The Spider’s Web party was by no means child’s play for everyone. There were standards to be met. Here is an excerpt from the rules and regulations of March 1943:

  • No alcohol
  • No game
  • No heckling
  • No caresses
  • No blasphemy

“No alcohol” means that no alcohol or beer may be brought into the club and any member who enters the club rooms with alcohol or beer on breath will be suspended or excluded from the club.

“No game” means that no game (of cards or otherwise) can be played with in-game money.

Other rules were self-explanatory.

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