Festival’s final night brings music legends to stage

By Gabriel Monte: Freedom Newspapers

Shane Cooney, of Clear Lake, Iowa, grew up listening to Buddy Holly as a kid.

“I grew up in Clear Lake (where Buddy Holly crashed), so it’s hard not to be a Buddy Holly fan,” he said.

Cooney toured the Norman Petty studios for the first time this week and saw where his idol recorded many of his hits.

“It’s been great touring the studio,” he said. “It was unbelievable. It was like stepping back in time.”

Cooney also volunteers at the Clear Lake Music festival and was excited Saturday to see Bobby Vee perform again.

“The shows have been great, really well produced,” he said.

Cooney was one of thousands who came to the Clovis for the Clovis Music Festival. Chamber of Commerce Executive director Ernie Kos said the fair has drawn in about 200 people from abroad and about 300 people from around the country.

“Definitely, this is the biggest one,” said festival organizer Liz Eisenbraun.

The festival was revived three years ago, according to Eisenbraun. This year’s festival has included more activities in the day than just nightly shows.

“These people traveled a long way,” she said. “So we wanted to give these people more stuff to do in the day.”

The first night’s show, billed “The Legends of Clovis,” brought together about 20 artists, including Buddy Holly bandmates Tommy Allsup, Jack Neal and Larry Wellborn, that recorded at the Norman Petty Studios, said show producer Scott Porter.

“It was really great to see some of the people from the past that are still active,” said Lloyd Walkup, who grew up listening to the music recorded in Clovis. Walkup and his wife, Wanda, went to last year’s festival.

“It’s possible it’s getting better and better every year,” said Wanda.

Impersonators performed at the “Buddy, Roy and Elvis tribute show Friday night. The tribute show drew too big of a crowd that some people were turned away, Eiesenbraun said.

“John Mueller (who impersonates Buddy Holly) is always a Clovis favorite,” Kos said. “They rocked the Civic Center last night.”