Grande Ballroom: Detroit’s Rock Palace

The first Grande Ballroom poster, designed by poster artist Gary Grimshaw

“The notion of a concert hall as the social center of a youth community was deeply impressed into the mind of Dearborn high-school teacher and WKNR-FM radio DJ “Uncle” Russ Gibb, who saw the possibilities after visiting the Avalon Ballroom and Bill Graham’s Fillmore in early 1966. San Francisco had already lured a number of Detroit artists, musicians and free-thinkers away from home with its counter-culture acceptance but Gibb knew a much larger contingent was still roaming Southeast Michigan in search of their own tribal gathering spot.” 

The Charles Agree designed Grande Ballroom has reserved for Detroit a place in international music history. An innovative venue for genre-establishing Michigan rock acts such as the MC5, the Stooges and the Rationals, the Grande also was the first venue to properly feature international acts of significant importance. The Who first presented the rock opera “Tommy” at the ballroom and legends such as Janis Joplin, Cream, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, Jefferson Airplane, and the Yardbirds were regularly showcased. The Grande Ballroom was the legendary midwest equivalent of the Avalon and Fillmore West rock ballrooms in California.

Visit the Grande online at The Grande Ballroom. You’ll find photos, art, weblogs, gigology, interviews and history of the building and performance. Our mission is to create an archive of information including images, sound clips, stories, interviews, and biographical information related to the Ballroom from its opening in 1928 through its heyday in the 60’s and 70’s. A virtual ballroom.  

Sign an online petition to help preserve the Grande Ballroom and place it on the National Registry of Historical Buildings. Sign form at: Grande Ballroom Petition Online Source:

The Grande Ballroom as it looks today.

, , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *