Events honor Clovis’ rock ‘n’ roll history

CNJ staff photo: Gabriel Monte Norman Petty Recording Studio Curator Kenneth Broad said he donated a sizable amount of artifacts including musical equipment and photos to the Norman and Vi Petty Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum. The museum has an inventory of about 400 items.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Sitting in a beach chair Saturday afternoon at Hillcrest Park, Larry Ward was admiring the cars at the Desert Cruzers car show.

There was the 1957 Chevy, which was his first car. Ward, a 58-year-old retired postal employee from Plainview, Texas, also spied a 1965 Ford Mustang, a 1967 Chevelle SS 396 and a 1970 Dodge Charger, all classics he owned and later sold.

Ward was also enjoying listening to Elvis Presley tribute artist Tom Burkhead at the city park. It was the music he grew up with.

Ward, and his wife Dianne, are spending the weekend at the Clovis Music Festival, which pays homage to the city’s rock ‘n’ roll heritage.

“We’ve loved everything,” said Ward, who was especially looking forward to a performance Saturday night that included Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley tribute artists.

Ward is one of more than 1,200 fans who attended the annual music festival’s nightly concerts.

Music festival chairman Dan Stoddard said he was pleased with how smooth the five-day event was running.

Stoddard said the event’s three concerts netted $30,000 in ticket sales. He said it was the biggest box office to date.

Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ernie Kos said the festival has made about $100,000 from ticket and merchandise sales and sponsorships.

She said Saturday night’s concert was sold out.

Also included in Saturday’s lineup was the grand opening of the Norman and Vi Petty Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum, located in the basement of the chamber’s office.

The museum featured more than 400 items, including newspaper clippings, photographs, records and clothes from Norman and Vi Petty, Holly and others who recorded at the Pettys’ Seventh Street Studio.

Norman Petty gained fame as the producer for such artists such as Holly, Roy Orbison and Waylon Jennings at his recording studio on Seventh Street.

Kenneth Broad, curator of the Norman Petty Recording Studio, said the museum was beneficial to telling the Pettys’ story and their importance to music history.

“I think it’s such a lasting tribute,” he said. “It’s something everybody can enjoy.”

The Desert Cruzers Car Show included between 260 to 270 cars made in 1972 and earlier and were displayed at the park, according to car club president Jerry Bailey.

Members of the Fireballs and Peggy Sue Gerron, the subject of Buddy Holly’s song “Peggy Sue,” signed posters and autograph books.

Today’s Clovis Music Festival Schedule

10 a.m. — Rockin’ Gospel Sing-a-Along, featuring George Tomsco and Stan Lark of the Fireballs, Norman and Vi Petty Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum, 105 E. Grand Ave.