Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Surf's hours?

We are open Monday-Friday 8am-4pm year round, and additionally on Saturdays from 9am-1pm from Memorial Day- Labor day weekend.

How much is it to tour the museum?

There is a $5 suggested donation to tour the museum.

Are there guided tours?

Yes, we give guided tours. The costs of guided tours are $6 per person. Call the Surf at 641-357-6151 to make an appointment.

Where is the Surf Ballroom located?

The Surf Ballroom is located in Clear Lake, Iowa. When coming north or south on I-35 exit off on to Hwy 18, head west until you hit Buddy Holly Place (intersection with The Other Place and Casey's on the corners) take a left cross the railroad tracks. Stay on Buddy Holly Pl until you hit N Shore Dr, take a right on N Shore Dr the Surf Ballroom is on the right.

Do you serve food?

We do not serve food at the Surf, however there are plenty of great restaurants in the Clear Lake area.

Can I bring my own food/beverages into the Surf?

You may not bring your own food/beverages into the Surf, however, we do have a fully stocked bar during concerts and events.

Can I rent the Surf Ballroom?

The ballroom is available for rent for private parties - we are a popular venue for wedding receptions, reunions and more! You may call the Surf Monday-Friday (8am-4pm) or go to the rental page to find out more.

Will the Surf work for my event?

The main ballroom has capacity of 2,100 people, with a capacity of 160 people in the lounge area. We are available for weddings, conventions, banquets, and business meetings. The Surf features four bars with an upscale selection of liquor and beer, 30 brands of imported beer and a diverse selection of wine.

The Surf is only two hours from Minneapolis and Des Moines and it is located right off Interstate 35 (exits 193 and 194). For air travelers, the Surf is within 5 minutes of a major airport.

The Surf Ballroom is not available for privately promoted ticketed events, concert bookings are handled in-house.

How much of the building is original?

In short-almost all of it! When walking into the Surf you'll see one of the two original coat checks on the left hand side (the other identical coat check was removed to add a gift shop, office space and handicap accessible restroom facilities). The maplewood dance floor (50 x 90 feet) is original as are the booths surrounding the dance floor. The gray metal reservation boxes attached directly above each booth tables are still used today to identify each booth.

Additionally, the original stage still exists and is used today, however, there have been two expansions to the stage to accommodate the large amounts of equipment used today for concerts. When standing on the stage, visitors can still see the curved lines of the original stage, orchestra pit and the chest high brick wall in front of the stage where people would stand in awe watching the performers.

The telephone that was used by Buddy Holly to call his wife Maria Elena Holly and by Ritchie Valens to call his manager is still located just off of the lobby entrance. Contrary to popular belief, the telephone was not located back stage at any time. In those days, private telephone lines were not common so this public pay phone was used by both the Artists and the general public alike.

The murals along the north and east interior walls of the Surf were painstakingly restored in 1994 by the Snyder family. These original murals depict the seaside Surf beach motif with images of crashing waves.

Of all the pictures hanging in the Surf, how many have performed here?

All the artists pictured on the Surf's walls have performed here at one time or another.

How often do you have shows?

Depending on the season we usually have a couple of concerts a month. To find out who is coming to the Surf, see our Concerts & Events page.

Do I have to be 21 to attend a concert?

Some shows at the Surf require that ticketholders are 21 or older. For ALL shows, those ages 16 or younger must be accompanied by an adult to enter.

Do you give refunds on tickets?

All Surf Ballroom concert tickets are non-refundable.

Can I buy drink tickets in advance?

You may buy drink tickets in advance. The drink tickets you purchase are valid for any show.

Is there an ATM on the premises?

We do not have an ATM on the premise; however we do have credit card machines at all drink ticket booths to better serve you.

Can I bring in my own folding chair for the concert?

Due to fire code, it is not permissible to bring your own folding chair in to view a concert at the Surf. There are booths which you may reserve prior to the show as well as some first-come, first-served seating in the lounge area.

When do tickets go on sale for the Winter Dance Party?

Tickets go on sale for the WDP usually around October, continue checking the website for updates on WDP information.

Did Elvis Presley ever play at the Surf Ballroom?

No, unfortunately Elvis Presley never played at the Surf Ballroom.