DAVENPORT, Iowa – For Leigh Reitz, owning the Col Ballroom was her dream.
“I loved the ballroom, so I took everything I had in savings and said, “husband, I’m buying the ballroom,” Reitz remembers.
And in 2015 she bought it, bringing it back to life after it was dormant for years. But after owning it for three years, she can’t keep up with the bills.
“I was always told, “can’t never do nothing but tried a heck of a lot,” and I tried it, and if I had the money, it would still be running,” says Reitz.
For Reitz, her memories are ingrained in her mind and the walls. She remembers back in 1968 when she saw Jimi Hendrix perform live. After the show, he signed the backstage wall where his autograph remains to this day.
Memories like these make it hard for Reitz to let go.
“Oh definitely, I would never give it up,” Reitz comments.
But there’s more to celebrate at the final performance called “Soulfest”. The fest featured four bands, including Smooth Groove and Soul Storm.
“I consider it my going away party,” jokes Reitz.
Butch Bos, who has been working the sound board since 1971, takes this time to look back.
“Kind of a sad night in a way. It’s kind of like the last party of it. I guess it’s like a wake for the place here. Like one more last party before it gets buried,” says Bos.
And those who have been coming for years will be dancing one last time.
“I’m just going to be a cry baby, I think I’m going to be a cry baby all night long,” says Reitz.
As for the future of the ballroom Reitz is looking for a potential buyer who will maintain the building’s longstanding history.