Destination Spotlight – Buddy Holly Center
Many people hear the word Lubbock and immediately think Buddy Holly. In fact, some might say that Lubbock was the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, and we would agree! Holly is definitely Lubbock’s most famous son, and his music has carried through artist after artist over the years. Did you know that The Beatles named themselves that because of Buddy Holly and The Crickets? And at least 40 of The Beatles first songs were fashioned after Holly’s music. It’s safe to say Holly is a musical inspiration worldwide.
Lubbock is home to the Buddy Holly Center, which houses many personal artifacts of the singer. We caught up with Tonja Hagy-Valdine, marketing & special events coordinator at the Buddy Holly Center and Silent Wings Museum, to learn more about this famous landmark.
Q. What is the history of the Buddy Holly Center?
A. The City of Lubbock opened the Buddy Holly Center in 1999 in the historic Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railway Depot. The Depot was first opened in 1928. It was abandoned in the 1950’s and served as warehouse storage and a restaurant, before it was purchased by the City of Lubbock and transformed into what is now the Buddy Holly Center. Not only is it a museum, it also houses the Fine Art Gallery, which was part of the Lubbock Fine Arts Center, originally located at 2600 Ave. P. The building is one of the first and finest examples of adaptive reuse in Lubbock, as well as the city’s first historic landmark (1979) that was later listed in the National Register of Historic Places (1990).
Q. What is the Center like today?
A. Today, the Buddy Holly Center is a state-of-the-art facility, with large windows overlooking a shaded brick courtyard, beautiful galleries and a world-class museum. In recent years the Center has acquired many important Buddy Holly artifacts; for example, the Allison House which was recently relocated to the property and opened on the site in 2013. The house was the home of Crickets drummer, J.I. Allison and is where Buddy Holly and Allison wrote “That’ll Be the Day,” one of Holly’s biggest hits. We offer tours daily and by appointment.
Q. What makes this museum unique?
A. The Museum houses the largest permanent collection of Buddy Holly memorabilia in the world. It is the only Museum dedicated to the life and musical legacy of Buddy Holly. The historic building alone is worth the stop, but the collection of Holly artifacts, the art galleries and the gift shop make this a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors.
Q. Why is this a must-see for visitors to Lubbock?
A. The Buddy Holly Center is a must-see for all music, history and art lovers. The Center shows the wide reaching influence of Buddy Holly and West Texas on the development of rock ‘n’ roll music. Holly’s music put Lubbock on the map and helped secure its place as the epicenter for music in Texas. Even today, some of the best musicians in the country hail from Lubbock.
Q. Can you talk about the wide array of visitors you see every year that come pay homage to Buddy?
A. Annually, the Center sees visitors from all over the world. In 2015, fans visited from 33 countries and all 50 states. The Center has also welcomed music legends, whose own careers were profoundly influenced by Holly’s music. Some of those include Graham Nash, Jack White, Mickie Gilley, David Frizzell, Joe Ely, The Turtles, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Jessi Colter and Kimmie Rhodes
Q. What sets this museum apart from other attractions in Lubbock, as well as other music museums?
A. The architecture of the original train depot, a world-class collection of artifacts and contemporary art exhibits make this the No. 1 tourist destination for visitors to Lubbock. The Buddy Holly Center has a long history of spotlighting the very best in visual and performing arts. We provide dynamic exhibitions in an atmosphere where art and music collide.
Q. What are important annual events at the Buddy Holly Center that people should know about?
A. The Day the Music Died – February 3 – A day of events commemorating Buddy’s death
Buddy’s Birthday Bash – September 7 – a day-long birthday celebration
Summer Showcase Concert Series – every Thursday from May 26 – Aug. 25, 2016 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. – showcasing local musicians in the Center’s courtyard
Procesion – Late October or early November, depending on where the holiday falls. We collaborate with TTU ICC, LHUCA and The TTU School of Art in a progressive celebration of Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead)
First Friday Art Trail – the first Friday of every month; a community-wide celebration of the arts in Lubbock
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
A. We have an excellent gift shop with one-of-a-kind Buddy Holly merchandise, and we offer an array of classes for both children and adults… including affordable guitar lessons!
For more information about the Buddy Holly Center or Lubbock’s world-class attractions, go to visitlubbock.org/visit.