On starry summer nights in rural Maquoketa in Northeastern Iowa, you can hear the sounds of bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Norah Jones and Conor Oberst wafting from inside an old implement barn built in the 1950s. The barn sits next to an original farmstead house turned art gallery that has been in Tiffany Biehl’s family for more than 150 years.
“It sort of happened to us,” Biehl says about how her family’s barn, now called Codfish Hollow, has become an increasingly popular tour stop for indie bands.
In 2009, she partnered with Daytrotter to host the first show and had less than two weeks to clean it up before the first concert. During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Biehl about how her barn is increasingly being lauded as one of the most magical concert venues in the Midwest.
“If the bands are having a great time and feeling great, that means they are going to put on a show, and the fans are going to have a good time. Bands have told other bands about it, and now we have bands contacting us because their friends have told them about us.”
There are five shows at the hollow just in July this year, and Biehl says she’s working on organizing the barn’s first festival for sometime this fall.
Biehl says she and her husband have tried to make Codfish a very welcoming place, for both concertgoers and bands. She even cooks the bands meals while they're on her farm.
“Ninety-five percent of the bands stay here in our house with us,” she says. “We’d like to think it’s the hospitality toward the bands. That’s our number one goal around here is to make sure the bands have a good experience here. It’s not easy being on the road.”