Music
9:09 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Cowtown Ballroom Co-Founder Stan Plesser Dies at 79

The early 1970s Kansas City music venue Cowtown Ballroom will be inducted into the Missouri Music Hall of Fame Saturday night in St. Joseph. But one of its founders won't be there. Stan Plesser died on Thursday.

Kansas City, Mo. – Stan Plesser was raised in New York, and moved to Kansas City to attend high school.

In the 1960s, Plesser's Vanguard Coffee House at 43rd and Main was a hub for youth culture, with folk and jazz performances. About 1969, he co-founded Good Karma Productions, managing acts like singer Danny Cox, and folk-rock duo Brewer and Shipley.

Plesser also co-founded the Cowtown Ballroom, a former roller rink, and big band hall, at 31st Street and Gillham Plaza. From 1971 to 1974, it was a tour stop for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Van Morrison, Linda Ronstandt, and B.B. King.

B.B. King, recorded live at the Cowtown Ballroom: "...So many of them said 'Goin' to Kansas City and I can see why..."

In a 2009 interview with Chuck Haddix, host of The Fish Fry on KCUR, Plesser said for him, it was always about the audience.

"There was a respect there and I think that's what made it magical."

Plesser died on Thursday. He was 79. Services are scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Louis Memorial Chapel in Kansas City. Burial will take place at Rose Hill Cemetery.