Posted on 06/15/2022 at 03:50 PM by The Biker Lawyers

From Elvis to Five Finger Death Punch: The best venue you've never heard of!

Eastern Iowa is home to many amazing venues that play to all sorts of epic concerts! While I do enjoy the big arena shows, most of my favorites are found in the clubs.Promotional poster for Cornstock '22 in Waterloo, Iowa

I grew up attending shows at venues that could only hold a handful or up to 1000 people, it’s where good rock n roll is born. My first ever heavy metal show was not at a 10,000-seat arena, it was at a sticky floored, covered in spilled beer sweaty rock venue. Standing on the general admission floor, moshing to Drowning Pool, and experiencing the music instead of just sitting in a chair with arms folded.

That’s not to say that big arena shows are lesser or anything, it’s just that the smaller venues have a vibe that is… intoxicating. 

Here in Iowa, we have a good number of venues that fit this description. Sadly, largely due to the pandemic, a few of them had to shutter their doors only to never see the light of day again, and a few survived.

There is, however, one local rock venue that has always been around. It is a place nestled on the grounds of the National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo. The place is called the Electric Park Ballroom, and this place has a HELL of a history.

I’ve been fortunate to attend this venue a couple of times, and the last time I was there, I out loud stated ‘This place could really be something if given more support.’ Fortunately, I wasn’t far off, as the shuttered “Spicoli’s Reverb” that got hit with the pandemic hard is actually booking shows for the Electric Park Ballroom.

2022 Cornstock Music Festival

Coming up this weekend even in their annual Cornstock, which will feature bands like The Pimps, The Rumours, Bleedchain, Hemlock, Sorry Pluto, and so many other great bands! Also coming to the venue is Otherwise, who also had a hit radio track named ‘Soldiers,’ which will be there on July 8th

Image of the band The Rumours performing at The Electric Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa

The History of The Electric Park Ballroom

When I said this place had history, it has a history that spans all the way back to sock hops…yea, you read that right.

This place is a ballroom that was built all the way in the early 1900s, how nuts is that? Even hosting musicians like Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Holly, and yes…the king of rock n roll himself? Elvis Presley.

You walk into this place, and you can just FEEL the history of it. It has the look, the vibe, and the ability to host a damn good rock show. After doing some digging, Rock 108 used to host up-and-coming bands here quite frequently, and after doing a deep dive those up-and-comers, I found they include Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment, 10 Years, etc.

Images of the band Five Finger Death Punch performing at The Electric Ballroom, Waterloo, Iowa

JUST IMAGINE, a massive band like Five Finger Death Punch performing in the Electric Park Ballroom? It’s amazing to think and fascinating as all hell! 

The ballroom has class, and trust me, I have been to every kind of venue that seemingly exists at this point. From the deep dark basements where punks jumped off the stage into the crowd to the crisp clean symphony shows.

Internal Image of The Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Iowa

The Future of The Electric Park Ballroom

Electric Park Ballroom is easily one of the most potential ridden concert halls that Eastern Iowa has to offer, and it looks like they are really aiming to bring more and more rock shows to the historical venue. The best way to keep the place rolling is to support the shows that are currently booked there, as that tells venue owners (like Electric Park) that booking rock shows is worth their time, thus more rock will be performed at this awesome venue.

Hell, if the KING himself stepped on that stage back in the day? It’s obviously a worthy venue.  


About The Biker’s Ambassador of Rock

If you live in the Cedar Valley in Iowa, you probably know Ned. If not, you surely know his voice! Ned, the Music Director at Rock 108, is known for his energetic personality, wild spirit, and love for all things Live rock. In an epic collaboration with Rock 108, Ned will be presenting excellent inside experiences to our motorcycle riding community exclusively here so subscribe to the blog and check back every week to see what Ned's up to next!

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