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Looking forward: Entertainment coming to North Iowa in 2020
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Looking forward: Entertainment coming to North Iowa in 2020

From the Looking forward in 2020 series
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Finding Neverland 1.jpg

“Finding Neverland,” a Broadway musical about one of the world’s most beloved characters, Peter Pan, will premiere Feb. 25 as part of the NIACC Performing Arts and Leadership Series.

There will be no shortage of entertainment for North Iowans in 2020.

That’s thanks to the Surf Ballroom & Museum, North Iowa Area Community College and other local venues as well as two new music festivals.

NIACC’s Performing Arts and Leadership Series will open the new year with Sammy Miller and The Congregation, a band that plays joyful jazz, on Jan. 17. The group’s two-day residency will include workshops with high school musicians during the college’s Jazz Festival.

Then, standup comedians Pete Lee, Keith Alberstadt and Andy Hendrickson, will join forces for “The Good Humor Men 2,” on Jan. 25, and “Finding Neverland,” a Broadway musical about one of the world’s most beloved characters, Peter Pan, is on Feb. 15.

The 2019-2020 series will continue with more live music, theatrical productions and author visits through May, which is when the lineup for the 2020-2021 series will be announced.

The Surf Ballroom & Museum in Clear Lake also has a variety of entertainment slated for next year.

Chris Janson, a harmonica-playing country music star, will open the year on Jan. 18, followed by Winter Dance Party from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.

Marty Stuart

Marty Stuart will headline the Winter Dance Party, which takes place Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

The three-day event commemorates the anniversary of the original Winter Dance Party, where rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens performed for the last time before they were killed in a plane crash, along with pilot Roger Peterson, on Feb. 3, 1959, about five miles north of Clear Lake.

Country and rockabilly legend Marty Stuart, Bowzer from Sha Na Na and The Kingsmen will headline this year’s Winter Dance Party.

The Surf will also host a Mardi Gras Party featuring Hairball on Feb. 21, a St. Patrick’s Day Party featuring The Johnny Holm Band on March 13 and the two-day Island Fever Showcase Sept. 5-6.

Clear Lake will also be the site of a new rock event in 2020.

Roc The Lake will take place rain or shine from 1 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on July 25 at PM Park, 15297 Raney Drive, in Clear Lake and feature four bands.

Free Fallin

Free Fallin, a Tom Petty tribute band, is one of four bands that will perform at the first Roc The Lake event on July 25 in Clear Lake.

The one-day festival is replacing the annual Take Me Back Festival that was held the second weekend in June for more than 20 years and celebrated music from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

The change is attributed to historically “dicey” weather forecasts and Tree Town.

Its talent lineup features crowd favorite Joe Santana’s Kingfish; Free Fallin, a Tom Petty tribute band; Back in Black, an ACDC tribute band from Dallas, Texas; and The Trip, the No. 1-rated classic rock cover band from Orange County, California.

In May, it was announced that Tree Town, a country music festival based in Forest City since 2013, would become Country Thunder in 2020.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Classic southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd will headline Country Thunder Iowa June 12-14, 2020, in Forest City.

The festival, now managed by Premier Global Production, was moved from Memorial Day weekend to June 12-14.

Country Thunder Iowa is making its debut with some of the biggest names in country music.

Old Dominion, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kane Brown will headline Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Complete lineups for each day will be released early 2020.

Other artists performing at the Country Thunder Iowa festival include veteran superstars Big & Rich, Clay Walker and Lonestar, red-hot Ashley McBryde, Granger Smith, Gabby Barrett, Riley Green, Mitchell Tenpenny, Meghan Patrick and others.

Kane Brown

Rising country star Kane Brown will headline Country Thunder Iowa June 12-14, 2020, in Forest City.

And for those who prefer the more classical sounds, the 82nd annual North Iowa Band Festival will return to downtown Mason City from May 21-25.

The five-day event showcases local and regional musicians and honors Meredith Willson, a Mason City native, who is best known for his songwriting of the popular Broadway musical “The Music Man” and instilling a rich musical heritage in the city. He died in 1984.

There will also be plenty of other opportunities to see local and regional talent at school concerts, town festivals, county fairs and productions at Stebens Children’s Theatre and Mason City Community Theatre throughout the year.

Band Fest 2019 (93).jpg

Stebens will present “Snow White” from Feb. 20-24, “Anything Goes” from April 16-26 and “Buried Treasure” from June 10-14, while the community theater will have “The Gingerbread Lady” from Feb. 13-16 and Feb. 20-23, “The Savannah Sipping Society” from April 16-19 and April 23-26, and “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs” from Aug. 6-9 and Aug. 13-16.

Photos: 2019 North Iowa Band Festival

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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