Iowa Music Venues: Codfish barn music venue captures the essence of the Midwest

Photos by Marissa DePino and Meg Johnson

Video by Gigi Toledo

There aren’t many venues where you can camp and jam out to live music while hanging out in a hollow barn made in 1954. At Codfish Hollow Barn, it’s a typical Saturday as crowds jump off the complimentary hayride to the sold-out show.

Artists and bands come from all across the Midwest to play this venue. John C Reilly, Counting Crows, and Norah Jones have all paid a visit to this splendor. This April, Codfish Hollow hosted five bands: The Poison Control Center, the NADAS, TWINS, Volcano Boys, and the Prime Movers.

Owners Shawn and Tiffany Biehl inherited the barn from Tiffany’s grandfather in 2009. The couple didn’t originally intend for it to be used for entertainment.

“It kind of just happened. We like to come hang out here and thought it was a really cool place, and then this band called Daytrotter wanted a tour of the barn, and they thought it was cool and wanted to perform there,” says Shawn.

Despite lacking equipment and a stage for their first showing, the Biehl’s became hooked on hosting artists and continue to host 3-5 bands every weekend. They have remodeled the barn to be more fit for concerts by adding a stage, creating an extra room for the bands, and updating their sound system and lighting system, which turns Maquoketa into a beacon for music lovers from miles away.