Iowans are rallying to raise a new roof on a beloved musical barn
Known for hosting live performances featuring some of the nation’s most prolific artists, Codfish Hollow can be found in rural Maquoketa, Ia.
Some say rock ‘n’ roll soothes the soul and rattles to the bones.
It shakes floors and sends feet movin’.
So, it may not be the best thing for a barn roof, eh?
Owners of Codfish Hollow in rural Maquoketa — the beloved barn-turned-venue that’s hosted Norah Jones, Kurt Vile, Nathaniel Rateliff, Conor Oberst and more — say the building badly needs a new roof and it could cost $30,000 to replace.
Tiffany and Shawn Biehl, Codfish Hollow owners, tried in past years to raise money for a roof via GoFundMe, but never met the funds needed for a re-shingling. It’s been 25 years since it was last replaced, Tiffany Biehl said.
“Most people don't know that we are entirely run by volunteers,” barn organizers wrote on a GoFundMe page that’s raised about $5,000. “We don't make a lot of money running this business. We pay the bands and, after that, we take what's left and try to make it through the winter months.”
That’s when a volunteer stepped in.
Danielle Stowell, a Dubuque-based coordinator with Wicked River Events and longtime bartender at the venue, felt “helplessness” watching Codfish struggle and decided to do something about it.
Enter: "Raise the F*&^ing Roof: A Benefit Concert for Codfish Hollow,” hosted Friday at the Smokestack in Dubuque. The show features regional music, art and an auction of memorabilia donated by Codfish musical alum.
It’s one of two fundraisers set for Codfish Hollow, with a second event, “Just Blow The Roof Off,” planned for April 7 at Great River Brewery in Davenport.
A gallery of Codfish-inspired art went for sale earlier this month, Stowell said. Organizers raised about $1,000 on opening night. A ticket to the concert costs $20 and Stowell expects the room to hit capacity at about 250 ticket-holders.
“We gave artists the option if they wanted a commission back (for the sale),” Stowell said. “Everybody said ‘nope.’”
She initially hoped to raise $5,000, but the response could push the final pot to $7,500.
“Everybody loves this venue and there’s nowhere like it,” said Stowell. “(The response) speaks to the ‘home away from home’ they create for anybody who passes through to play there.
Stowell began planning last year, keeping it a secret from Tiffany Biehl, but the barn owner found out in February — a moment that brought her to tears.
“We were surprised, first of all, by the volunteers that stepped forward and set up two different fundraisers," Tiffany Biehl said. "And then, on top of that, we still don’t even know all of the artists that did artwork to sell.
"We’ve been surprised by all of it."
Raise the roof fundraisers
- March 29 at the Smokestack in Dubuque
- April 7 at Great River Brewing in Davenport
- More information: facebook.com/Codfish.Hollow
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the location of the “Just Blow The Roof Off” fundraiser. It is at Great River Brewing in Davenport.