Museum, festival draws rock ‘n’ roll fans

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Jay Parmenter of Clovis and a guide at the Norman Petty Recording Studio provides information about the control center Thursday afternoon during one of the scheduled tours of the studio during the Clovis Music Festival.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Laser pointer in hand, Kenneth Broad pointed to several records hanging on the wall to a dozen visitors taking a tour Thursday of the Norman Petty Recording Studio.

As the red dot on the wall shifted from record to record, singers who recorded at the world-renowned studio such as LeAnn Rimes, Waylon Jennings and, of course, Buddy Holly were mentioned.

Part of the Clovis Music Festival, the tour included visitors from San Francisco, Arizona and England. Tours are scheduled at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. throughout the festival.

While the festival’s first concert was Thursday, organizers expect performances today and Saturday to bring in the biggest crowds.

Chris Rees of England said he’s attended the festival 14 times.

“Firstly because of the music and secondly because of the friendship,” he said of other festival attendees he’s met over the years.

He said he is looking forward to Bobby Vee’s performance tonight.

Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ernie Kos said about 3,500 tickets have already been sold for festival concerts. She said she anticipates the concerts tonight and Saturday to sell out.

Sheena Dupree, Hampton Inn marketing and sales director, said the hotel wasn’t fully booked Wednesday but anticipates the hotel to start filling up with festival guests today for Saturday’s performance titled “The Buddy, Roy and Elvis Show.”

In the middle of the tour at the Norman Petty Studio, Broad introduced Gary and Ramona Tollett, who sang back up vocals on Holly’s demonstration record for “That’ll be the Day.”

Broad is the curator of the studio, which is no longer in use, and was a personal friend of Petty. Petty is known in musical circles as the creator of the “Clovis Sound” that helped shape rock ‘n’ roll.

The couple, who reside in Arizona, said they attend the festival every year.

“We come back because of our love for Buddy,” Ramona said. “We want to try to keep his music alive.”

The two expect to perform a song with Holly impersonator John Mueller on Saturday.