During the late 1950’s Wichita needed a place to go for all kinds of entertainment including concerts, dances and rental space for private functions. The concept of building The Cotillion was spear-headed by Jad Wolf, a local realtor, who connected a group of 21 investors. Land was purchased, a design was crafted, the contractors hired and the rest is “history.” Don’t miss our event timeline.
News clipping regarding the land purchase
Opening night was a glamorous affair on December 7, 1960 with arriving guests greeted by valet parking and tuxedoed doormen. Once inside, couples were drawn to the spacious maple floor to dance the night away to the music of the Ted Weems Orchestra.
The early years of The Cotillion featured a gallery of great artists and sold out shows – Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Si Zentner, and Norman Lee.
As the times changed, so did The Cotillion, bringing rock n roll and a new generation of fans to see the Everly Brothers, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Yardbirds, Ted Nugent, Bonnie Raitt and Pat Benatar.
Country music fans were not left out. The Cotillion’s dance floor was packed to the music of Ray Price, George Jones, Buck Owens, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Asleep at the Wheel and later with Hank Williams Jr., Chris LeDoux, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and LeAnn Rimes.
R&B also became increasingly popular as The Cotillion brought in such acts as BB King, The Ohio Players, Muddy Waters, Etta James, and Buddy Guy.
It became quickly apparent that to flourish in a market the size of Wichita, diversity and versatility were the name of the game. The Cotillion found an eager audience for sit-down shows featuring comedians Danny Thomas, Rowan & Martin and more recently, Jeff Foxworthy, Jeff Dunham, Carrot Top, Larry the Cable Guy, Dave Chapelle, and Carlos Mencia.
The ever growing Mexican population in Wichita and the surrounding areas were being entertained at The Cotillion, too. From the Tex-Mex sounds of Little Joe Y La Familia, Sunny & the Sunliners, Ruben & Alphonso Ramos and today to the regional sounds of Los Tigres Del Norte, Polo Urias, Conjunto Primavera and Los Rieleros del Norte, a wide variety of music is being enjoyed. In fact, it would be impossible to find a generation of Wichita music fans that have not attended a memorable concert or party at The Cotillion.