The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Music festival, Draggin' Main have found 'great marriage'


June 24, 2018

CLOVIS — Back in 2017, the people organizing the Draggin’ Main Music Festival and the people organizing the Clovis Music Festival thought they could be better together.

“That was a huge test for both sides,” Draggin’ Main co-founder Gene Porter said of last June’s festivities. “What we discovered is it was a great marriage.”

Now, in 2018, that’s exactly what it is, as they plan everything together and share the same name. There’s plenty to do during the anniversary party, with three concerts, tours throughout city landmarks and classic drive-ins, a car show for all types of motor enthusiasts and a parade of memories to close it all out.

Porter had always said the impetus for Draggin’ Main during its 2014 inaugural year was the fact that Clovis had plenty of car guys but no real outlet for them. Now they’ve got it — plus a few concerts if they’re so inclined with Doug Stone on Wednesday, Tommy Vee and the Killer Vees on Thursday and Warrant with special guest Steelheart on Friday.

“The music festival brought some aspects Draggin’ Main had desired,” Porter said, “and Draggin’ Main brought the festival back to the music festival. They were really hunting for the festival to come back. It’s worked out great, and it was amazing how much it involved.”

Derek Cockrell, who chairs the committee that planned out the upcoming week, said the Draggin’ Main crowd was a big reason the committee decided on Warrant for its Friday headliner.

“Whenever the music festival committee and Draggin’ Main combined into one committee,” Cockrell said, “we felt like revisiting some of the harder rock stuff would fit well with a lot of the people who would be in town for the Saturday cruise. We also keep in the Clovis sound that was recorded at Norman Petty Studio.

“In Clovis, and in our area, we haven’t had a good outlet for rock. There’s a lot of access to stuff in big cities, but around here it’s a pretty long drive to see rock acts. We thought it was going to be a great fit, and that’s why we timed it in for Friday night.”

Naturally, the Killer Vees were brought in for the sounds of the Buddy Holly era commonly known as the Clovis Sound. Cockrell said Gail Tarson, the chamber of commerce president, found a way to get Doug Stone in as a country act.

“I think it’s awesome,” Cockrell said of the lineup. “We’ve got all kinds of different genres of music covered. We’ve got something for almost everyone. Doug was a big artist in the early ’90s. As far as trying to nail down an exact demographic, I don’t know, but there are a lot of country fans. A lot of people haven’t heard of Doug Stone, but they’re probably familiar with some of his songs. I think people will be kind of the same way with Warrant and the Bobby Vee songs.”

The week will feature touring opportunities at the Norman Petty Music Studio on Thursday and Friday, plus a tour of Clovis’ classic drive-ins Monday through Thursday.

Once the final note plays on the festival, it’s soon on to the Draggin’ Main events, starting with a 9 a.m. Saturday “Gearhead Gathering” at the Marshall Middle School practice field.

“Our event is designed not to be restricted just to classic cars,” Porter said. “If you’ve got any kind of car hobby at all — cars, pickups, motorcycles. The gearhead gathering is the best description of what it’s about. It’s about getting car guys together, car guys and gals.”

The event ends with a 5 p.m. to midnight parade on Saturday, with the participants pretty much anybody who wants to cruise down Main Street. There will be entertainment like top-fuel funny cars and dragsters, plus a 9 p.m. dragster startup, but the cruise is why most people come.

“The cruise is really it,” Porter said. “We as a committee discuss how to promote the cruise, and we don’t need to promote it. That’s the icing on the cake, that’s the finish of the deal. I liken it to the final scene in a movie. It’s the most action-packed, the most exciting, and that’s how we finish.”


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