GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Feb. 3. 1959, is a day many rock ‘n’ roll fans remember. A plane crash killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the “Big Bopper” in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Green Bay ended up being one of their last tour stops before that tragic day when they performed at Riverside Ballroom.

“It’s part of the history of Green Bay based on that building,” said Mark Heller. He owns WGBW radio in Green Bay, an oldies station, and knows a thing or two about ‘the day the music died.’

“They did a 25 city tour during the middle of winter,” explained Heller.

Riverside Ballroom was packed on Feb. 1, 1959. People from all over braved a snowy day to see Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson — better known as “The Big Bopper.”

“It was supposed to go to Appleton, but because of bus concerns and no heater working they canceled the matinee in Appleton,” Heller added.

The ballroom lobby is plastered with photos of that night, along with autographs.

“Basically the stage is untouched, the dance floor is untouched. It’s a historical building,” said Heller.

Little did anyone know at the time, it would be one of the last performances the men would perform together.

“I believe they played in Duluth the night before heading towards Green Bay. The weather was wicked. Highway 2 was wicked,” added Heller.

The ballroom was the second-to-last stop before that deadly plane crash. They left Green Bay and headed to Iowa. But, being fed up without heat in the bus, Buddy Holly decided to rent a plane from Iowa to Moorhead, Minn., for his next performance. Valens and Richardson were also on-board.

That plane would only be in the air for minutes before it crashed.

“By 1958 and 1959, Buddy Holly was sincerely one of the innovators and leaders in the early rock era,” Heller said.

And 63 years later, their memory plays on.

On Friday, a tribute performance will take place at the Riverside Ballroom. Tickets cost $30. For more information, visit the Winter Dance Party Tour website.