Pop musician Brian Hyland has been curious about the Clovis Music Festival for years being a friend with return act Bobby Vee.
“I always had been asking him about it,” Hyland said. “What it’s like, what the studio is like. This year, I got to do it.”
Hyland is one of the national names performing at the annual festival held Sept. 8-12 along with Vee and Starship’s Mickey Thomas.
Hyland is best known for his 1960 song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and 1962’s “Sealed With a Kiss.”
Hyland is slated to play on the second night of concerts that will be held at the Curry County Events Center with $20 admission.
Queens, New York-born Hyland said he is looking forward to attending the festival that he’s heard so much about and learning more about Buddy Holly, who died before Hyland got into the music business.
“Buddy Holly and the Crickets, they carried on something that Elvis started. They would go into the studio and keep working on it until they got it perfected. That’s different than in New York, you get a three hour session and that’s it. They were breaking new ground by doing it that way,” he said.
Hyland said he remembers Holly’s music standing out on the radio.
“At the time, it sounded pretty revolutionary even on the little bitty radio. Even compared to things out at the time. Back then, stations played everything, it was real eclectic. They’d play Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and then Buddy Holly would come on and it would stand out,” the 66-year-old musician said.
Hyland credits Buddy Holly as one of the biggest influences on his music along with Elvis, the Everly Brothers, Fats Domino and Franky Lymon and the Teenagers.
“Where I grew up in New York, they played everything but they focused a lot of attention on doo wop groups,” Hyland said. “I appreciate all kinds of music.”
The Clovis Music Festival is an annual celebration of Norman Petty and Buddy Holly, according to festival chairman Randy Petty. After 23 years, Petty said the festival is gaining more momentum and international attention.
Petty said the festival seeks out music from the 1950s and 1960s. He said adding a big name like Starship from the 1980s will help draw a younger crowd to the event.
“We really try and have a good variety,” he said.
Also, the addition of the Buddy Holly musical had added excitement about the festival, Petty said.
“With its direct connection to Buddy Holly and Norman Petty Studios and it’s gotten rave reviews in England and New York so it’s a pretty big deal to have in Clovis,” he said. “Tying it to the festival is a plus.”