Decades since music legends such as Willie Nelson, Sex Pistols, James Brown and Merle Haggard graced its stage, The Longhorn Ballroom readies for its comeback this summer

(DALLAS, TEXAS – March 2017; source: CultureHype) – The LaFrance family is proud to announce the acquisition of America’s most unique ballroom, the Longhorn Ballroom. Built in 1950 by Dallas millionaire O.L. Nelms as Bob Wills’ Ranch House as a gift to his close friend and Western swing bandleader Bob Wills, the Longhorn celebrated 67 years this year. The sprawling dance hall was eventually sold to Nelms’ friend and business partner, country music mainstay Dewey Groom after years of being managed by Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassin Jack Ruby. Over the decades, the Longhorn has seen many facelifts as ownership changed hands. Adding a rustic Spanish touch was the most recent owner Raul Ramirez who sold the 23,000-square-foot ballroom, its two-acre outdoor space along the Trinity River, 20,000-square-foot abandoned retail space and the building that has housed his Mexican food restaurant for 20 years to LaFrance this February. With its rich music history, dozens of music legends have graced its stage since its humble beginnings, including Willie Nelson, Selena, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, B.B. King, Al Green, James Brown, The Ramones and, of course, the Sex Pistols during their infamous 1978 concert. The Longhorn Ballroom is located at 216 Corinth St., Dallas, Texas 75207.

“I had heard stories of music legends that had played there, but when I saw it in person I felt like I was being transported back in time,” said Jay LaFrance of Longhorn Ballroom, LLC. “We’re thrilled to bring back a piece of Dallas’ legacy and save it from being bulldozed to make room for new apartments. We just couldn’t let this landmark be lost.”

A business development executive with over 30 years of experience, LaFrance has a background in sales, marketing, business development, negotiations, finance, law, manufacturing and operations. Before purchasing the Longhorn, he spent his time growing startups and emerging companies, driving top line revenues, establishing key business relationships, raising capital, and managing liquidity events. To him, his newest acquisition is more than just a business, it’s a family legacy. With LaFrance at the helm, the Longhorn will once again function as a multi-use event complex and, most importantly, a live music venue for the first time in a decade. His son Jayson will serve as Director of Operations with his daughter Amber leading marketing and public relations efforts through her PR firm CultureHype.

“The family’s coming together to revive the Longhorn Ballroom, and offer something new for the millennial crowd. Say hello to The Container Park at The Longhorn, a venue for outdoor acts, artist studios…food trucks, makers stations, and more.” – PaperCity Magazine

With the Ballroom renovation, the LaFrance family has big plans to turn the complex into a creative destination in Dallas. The Ballroom itself will be renovated and restored to its façade in the 1960s, featuring original colors, materials and décor. Interior designer Heather Hines Teel, who’s known for her work on Pat Green’s venue and eatery The Rustic, and muralist Stylle Read (Fort Worth Stockyards) will work alongside the LaFrance family to bring the legendary music venue into the 21st century while keeping its down-home charm.

“With a project like this, it’s important to restore the soul of the Longhorn, the old and new together in a way that emphasizes the cultural significance it has to Dallas,” said his son Jayson.
Read has been commissioned to restore several historic murals adorning the Ballroom walls.

Faded artwork will be replaced by similar paintings by the legendary muralist as a nod to the Longhorn’s past and its glory days as a home for Dewey Groom and the Texas Playboys. A new large-scale mural will be added, featuring a cowboy herding cattle in Read’s signature Western style. Its parking lot has been mended already and the 14-by-20-foot-tall Longhorn steer out front has been repainted by the artist.

LaFrance will be working closely with Landmark Sign Co. to rebuild and restore the Longhorn Ballroom’s once glimmering sign to its original condition for the first time in ten years. The two-acre riverfront property out back will be transformed into a shabby chic neighborhood hangout and event space called The Container Park at The Longhorn. The LaFrance family has big plans to transform the 22,000-square-foot abandoned retail space into artist studios that will serve as a creative incubator – fully equipped with a restored recording studio, professional photography studio and music practice space.

“It hasn’t been functioning as a concert space for years, but I think it would not only bring nationally touring acts in, but also create new opportunities for local acts and for rising talent from Dallas,” said his daughter Amber. “When we started uncovering all these legendary things that had happened at the ballroom, I was just kind of geeking out on music history.”

LaFrance hopes to have the outdoor area up and running this May with the legendary Longhorn Ballroom stage prepped for its first musical act this July. The retail space will be the last phase to be completed at the Longhorn complex with an opening date to be announced.

The Longhorn Ballroom will host a Grand Opening event soon featuring the first musical acts to grace its stage in a decade. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

More than a music venue, the cultural landmark that is the Longhorn Ballroom has been in a state of disrepair for many years. Its rich history will be celebrated in the form of a new Wall of Fame in the entryway to the Ballroom, noting special moments like the premiere of “The Buddy Holly Story” in 1978, the filming of several episodes of “Dallas” in the 1980s and more when celebrities like Gary Busey and Mick Jagger frequented its halls. Aerosmith even recorded a music video for their single “What It Takes” in 1989 at the space.

“Scraping the site would have been unimaginable – emotionally, anyway. If you’re of a certain age in this town, it’s likely you’ve been to a concert there.” – Robert Wilonsky, The Dallas Morning News

Located one mile from the Dallas Convention Center, the Longhorn complex is the premier venue for special events and live music concerts. A sprawling property connected to the Santa Fe TrestleTrail and Trinity River, the property is just a few blocks away from Dallas’ soon-to-be high-speed rail station, offering convenient travel options to Houston. The indoor-outdoor use space can be configured to host a variety of events and group sizes up to 2,550 indoors and over 5,000 outdoors. For more information and to inquire about booking at the Longhorn complex, visit


Press Contacts:

Amber LaFrance
Cell: (469) 877-1533;

Shabby Talebi
Cell: (972) 571-2527;