Organizers anticipate thousands at music festival

File photo Buddy Holly Tribute artist Johnny Rogers performs for Mesa Elementary students as part of last year’s Clovis Music Festival schedule. Rogers will perform Friday at the Curry County Events center alongside other tribute performers.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Yes, “Peggy Sue” will be at the Clovis Music Festival, and so will the nightly performances. But complementing events from “Early in the Morning” to the “Midnight Shift” are in store.

Organizers for the annual festival celebrating the music of Buddy Holly and others recorded at Clovis’ Norman Petty Music Studio are excited for the five days of events coming up.

“I have to say this is one of the best-organized (festivals),” Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ernie Kos said. “The anticipation’s very high. Lots of people are in and out of here getting tickets.”

About 1,200 are expected each night at the Curry County Events Center, hosting the trio of 7 p.m. concerts for the first time.

“I feel every show is going to be fantastic,” festival organizer Dan Stoddard said. “Everybody’s worked hard, they’ve put together a great lineup.”

Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs lead off Thursday’s concert, while Johnny Rogers plays Buddy Holly in a tribute Friday, and Matthew and Gunnar Nelson present “Ricky Nelson Remembered” Saturday.

Each 7 p.m. showing is $20, with tickets available online or at the Chamber of Commerce.

Stoddard said the events center offers more options than Marshall Middle School, the festival’s previous host.

“The events center’s going to give us a lot more room,” Stoddard said. “We’ll also be able to offer dancing. That was one thing we couldn’t do at Marshall.”

But other events have Kos and Stoddard excited as well. Kos said she looks forward to Friday public school assemblies, where children get a small concert and dress up in ‘50s wear.

Other events include a recognition of the Norman and Vi Petty Rock and Roll Museum by the national Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland, a panel discussion of Clovis music history and a meeting of the New Mexico Tourism Commission.

Clovis was set as a meeting place after the commission saw the first few minutes of a new documenatry on New Mexico music legends.

The documentary aired in June, but Nancy Laflin of the New Mexico Music Commission, which created the 27-minute documentary, said it would reair at 7 p.m. Thursday on KENW.

“There’s so many New Mexicans who have no idea of the music history and what Norman Petty did,” said Laflin, who noted current local musicians like Johnny Mulhair and the Kene Terry Band. “There’s just some really talented people in that part of the state.”

Stoddard said he was looking forward to a High Plains Harley Davidson motorcycle rally and the Desert Cruzers car show at Hillcrest Park on Saturday, and Kos said Sunday would feature a free gospel singalong featuring George Tomsco and Stan Lark of the Fireballs.

Tours of the museum and the studio will take place throughout the week.