Music festival hits silver mark

The Clovis Music Festival turns 25 on Thursday, and according to Randy Petty, its almost quarter century of existence offers proof of the city's significant influence on rock 'n' roll.

The Clovis Music Festival was started in 1987 by Vi Petty, widow of Clovis musician and record producer Norman Petty. It offers live music celebrating the city's rock 'n' roll heritage.

Each year recording artists of national acclaim perform at the festival.

The lead act this year is Chubby Checker. He performs at 7 p.m. Saturday. Event coordinator Courtney Gano said the festival's musical performances on Friday and Saturday typically have about 6,000 in attendance.

"I think Clovis has a rich music history," said Petty, who chairs the Clovis Music Festival committee. "There are still a lot of folks in Clovis who don't realize what mark Clovis has made in rock 'n' roll history."

Petty said many of the classic artists making up the genre highlighted at the music festival have died or no longer perform. He said his committee hopes by attending the music festival, citizens of Clovis will learn about the city's rich music history as it is preserved.

The music festival started at the old Mesa Theater on Main Street, moved to Marshall auditorium, and relocated to the Curry County Events Center in 2009.

"I think getting more and more people involved and letting the venue grow a little bit and bringing more known artists has helped bring it back to life," said Petty, who started volunteering for the music festival in 2006.

Petty said the music culture in Clovis has had stronger input from acclaimed artists since the late 1990s, more national exposure through such artists and ties that have boosted Clovis' rock 'n' roll popularity.

"I think we're geared up to have a big hit," Petty said.

"Chubby Checker is very entertaining. He was recently on 'Dancing with the Stars.' He may be 70, but he certainly doesn't act like it."

Carl Melinat, a member of the Clovis Music Festival committee, said he was impressed Clovis had a music festival when moving to Clovis from Michigan about 10 years ago.

"I think there is a good music culture here in Clovis," said Melinat, president of Desert Cruzers car club of Clovis.

"We've got the museum now. A lot of places don't have this kind of background or history to share."

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