Current manager at Red Willow, Michael B. Lund, hopes all those who have enjoyed Red Willow throughout the years will come back for the concert Saturday evening.
On Saturday, Aug. 12 a very special place in the hearts of countless area former ballplayers and former teenagers will be celebrating a very special anniversary.
Red Willow Resort celebrates 100 years with a rock-n-roll concert in the pavilion: “Robby” Vee and his Rock-N-Roll Caravan will be performing the music of his famous dad, Bobby Vee, who rocked Red Willow and most everyone else who was young in the 1960s.
If you ever played ball in one of Bill Haines’s “Field of Dreams” or rollerskated in the pavilion or attended one of the many dances held there, you are invited to come back to Red Willow and celebrate the last 100 years.
Nearly every person from around the Lake Region of a certain age has a story, or two, about Red Willow or Bill and Vernis.
They purchased Red Willow Resort on Aug. 9, 1946 and had a dance the very next Friday night. Their efforts turned it into a destination location.
They featured big bands like Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye, Harry James and His Orchestra, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and many more.
However, they become more well-known at Red Willow for the rock and roll bands who played there in the 1960s, bands like the Unbelievable Uglies, Sam the Sham and the Pharohs, Tommy James and the Schondells, Del Shannon, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the Grass Roots, Richie Valens, Johnny Holms, Bobby Vinton and Bobby Vee.
Remember such songs as “Devils or Angel,” “Take Good Care of my Baby,” “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”or “Come back When You Grow Up?”
Bobby Vee’s career began when he and his band of Fargo teens, the Shadows, filled in for Buddy Holly at the Moorhead, Minn. concert Holly was flying to on Feb. 3, 1959.
Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were all killed in an airplane crash on that day, which became known as “The Day the Music Died.”
Vee and his mates responded to a callout on local radio for local talent to fill in after the disaster. The rest, as they say, is history.
Vee became a real rock and roll star known around the world. Later in his career, his three sons, all musicians, played with their father in his band.
Now Robby carries on his father, Bobby’s tradition and music. He will perform at 7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12 for the big celebration at Red Willow.
Current manager at Red Willow, Michael B. Lund, hopes all those who have enjoyed Red Willow throughout the years will come back for this concert Saturday evening. His dream is to “bring the resort back to what it once was” someday. Ball games, concerts and all.