Coshocton connected to 'Day the Music Died'

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COSHOCTON − The death of three rock 'n roll pioneers in a tragic plane crash known as "The Day the Music Died" is still well remembered and mourned 64 years later.

Few might not know that Coshocton had a connection to the event as a stop on the Winter Dance Party tour after the disaster.

On Feb. 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and “Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson died in an airplane crash shortly after it took off from Clear Lake, Iowa, on its way to Moorehead, Minnesota. Music historians have noted the event as the end of rock's golden era.

If you’ve seen “The Buddy Holly Story” starring Gary Busey or “La Bamba” with Lou Diamond Phillips as Valens, you might think the story ends there. It doesn’t. Promoters decided to continue the tour and complete scheduled dates with replacement acts. That included a stop for two shows on Feb. 12 in Coshocton.

The poster for the show advertised Buddy Holly's Crickets, Frankie Avalon, Jimmy Clanton, Dion and the Belmonts and Frankie Sardo as an extra attraction. Tickets for those through junior high school age were 75 cents and high school through adult was $1.50. Proceeds were to benefit youth activities by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. It was held at the Coshocton Armory, which still stands today.

Sevan Garabedian, an armature documentarian from Canada, first spoke with the Coshocton Tribune in 2019 about his mission to visit each city on the Winter Dance Party tour. He had planned to visit Coshocton in 2020, but that was derailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garabedian and other music historians are planning to visit Coshocton this spring, with exact dates to be set. They hope to tour the armory and meet with local residents who attended the show along with seeing any possible still existing memorabilia. He said they plan to play oldies music, have snacks and make the visit a fun, social event. Garabedian said they also want to visit some sites that might have been popular hangouts for teens into early rock music in the 1950s.

Garabedian has visited 21 of 24 cites part of the tour so far and will also be going to Louisville after Coshocton.

"It is a labor of love of a simpler time when rock ‘n’ roll music ruled the transistors and teens met and danced at teen hops and armories across the land," he said.

Anyone who attend the concert or has information regarding the show, can contact Garabedian at, 514-931-6959 or 514-970-1959.

Leonard Hayhurst is a community content coordinator and general news reporter for the Coshocton Tribune with close to 15 years of local journalism experience and multiple awards from the Ohio Associated Press. He can be reached at 740-295-3417 or Follow him on Twitter at @llhayhurst.

This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: Coshocton connected to 'Day the Music Died'