Man comes for music, stays for Clovis

CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks
David Acaster of Hornsea in East Yorkshire, England, left, and Daniel Stoddard of Clovis have a laugh in front of the Petty recording studio. The two met at last week’s Clovis Music Festival.

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

A 10-day vacation stretched to 25 days for an England native who fell in love with Clovis.

David Acaster originally planned a short holiday to attend the Clovis Music Festival, but decided to extend his stay to foster new friendships and soak up New Mexico’s culture. “I’ve dreamed of coming to America all my life,” he said, “especially Texas and New Mexico.”

Tall and lean with a clipped British accent, Acaster recalled how his fondness for American Western culture began.

“I grew up on country and western music,” Acaster said, “and cowboy movies.”

The 58-year-old former police officer lives in Hornsea in East Yorkshire on England’s northeastern coast. He was raised in an isolated community that depended heavily on agriculture. “It (my hometown) was somewhat similar to Clovis,” he said.

His interest in the United States continued to blossom when Buddy Holly toured England in 1958. Acaster said the musician left an indelible impression on him.
“The word on the street was all about Buddy Holly,” he said. “Everyone was saying they had never heard a guitar like that.”

Acaster called the Clovis Music Festival 100 percent topnotch.

“They (Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce) did a terrific job,” he said.
During the festival, Acaster befriended Clovis resident Dan Stoddard, who volunteered to help coordinate the event. Stoddard said Acaster was quick to help, too. “He (Acaster) just jumped right in,” Stoddard said, “and he was a big help.”

The two men formed a fast friendship that led to Stoddard becoming a tour guide to Acaster. “He (Acaster) said he wanted to see Albuquerque,” Stoddard said, “so I took him along on a business trip with me.”

Acaster also attended a Kiwanis Club meeting where Stoddard is a member.

Stoddard said five Clovis students were honored for excelling in school at the meeting.

Acaster said he was impressed with the students. “It’s not easy to grow up,” he said, “but these kids were bright and had positive attitudes.”

Acaster also gave rave reviews on his hotel stay and the local cuisine. “My favorite was Mexican food because we don’t get much of that in England,” he said, “but don’t ask me to name a dish.”

According to the international traveler, his New Mexico vacation also included day trips to Santa Fe, Carlsbad and Roswell. He toured the Norman Petty Recording Studios and attended the dinner honoring retired Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton.

The British visitor said he had the opportunity to discuss with Newton how Cannon Air Force Base was saved.

“There are ghost towns in England where bases have closed,” Acaster said. “I don’t know if people realize the economic impact it would have had (on Clovis) if Cannon closed.”

Acaster said he plans to tell everyone back home he got a taste of Southwestern hospitality. “There are two things I will take away with me. The optimism and old-time values of Clovis.”