CLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake and England might be half a world apart, but one thing brings them together — Buddy Holly.

“He was an innovator,” said George Wilson of Newcastle, England, Friday afternoon at the annual British Buddy Holly Society Luncheon at the Best Western Holiday Lodge.

More than 300 people gathered for the luncheon, which is part of the Winter Dance Party festivities. The event celebrates the legacies of Holly, J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, who died in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959, after performing at the Surf Ballroom.

“It’s terrific,” Wilson said about the Winter Dance Party. “I wouldn’t be back here six times if I didn’t like it.”

He said he’s been a fan of Holly’s music since the first time he heard the song “Everyday.”

Ed Perry of Duxbury, Mass., has also been a longtime fan of Holly, Richardson, Valens and other 1950s and ’60s music.

“When you’re growing up, the day you get your driver’s license you remember what was playing on the radio,” said Perry, who owns a radio station south of Boston. “When you get that first kiss from a girl in the front seat of your car, you remember what was playing on the radio.”

“When someone revives it, and someone brings it back — how can you beat that?” he said.

Perry said he’s been attending the Winter Dance Party since 1997.

“I get three or four days and I relax,” he said.

For Mickey Lynnes of Eau Claire, Wis., the Winter Dance Party was an opportunity to perform.

His band The Thundermen played during the luncheon.

“We’re oldies music fans,” Lynnes said.

“Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens died a few days after playing in our town,” he said. “We used to play in the same dance hall they played in.”


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