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Rockabilly Weekend in Jonesboro will feature ASU Museum’s first Boogiefest, March 2

02/14/2013

JONESBORO – In honor of Arkansas State University Museum’s first “Rockabilly Boogiefest,” Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin has proclaimed the first weekend in March to be “Rockabilly Weekend,” inspiring many Rockabilly-related activities to take off in Downtown Jonesboro.

The concert will be Saturday, March 2, starting at 6 p.m. in the ASU Military Science Building (formerly the National Guard Armory) at 1921 Aggie Road in Jonesboro. Tickets are available through the ASU Central Box Office on-line at http://www.astate.edu/tickets/ or by calling (870) 972-2781.

“The purpose of Rockabilly Boogiefest is to preserve, promote, and celebrate the rich Rockabilly heritage of Northeast Arkansas,” said Dr. Marti L. Allen, ASU Museum director. “The concert will be a benefit to raise money for development and production of a new and permanent museum exhibition on the history and heritage of Rockabilly in Northeast Arkansas.”

The Museum’s Rockabilly Boogiefest line-up will include Narvel Felts, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers, Stan Perkins, and The Stunning Cunning Band—all acclaimed regional names. Terry Wood, well known in the region for his upbeat emcee style, will be the master of ceremonies for this fun-filled concert.

Sonny Burgess and Narvel Felts hail from the original Rockabilly era (mid 1950s) and continue to perform regularly, both regionally and abroad. Stan Perkins, who started out backing his father, Rockabilly legend Carl Perkins, grew to become an artist in his own right. The Stunning Cunning Band represents a second generation of Rockabilly musicians dedicated to perpetuating this unique style of music.

“Rockabilly is a distinct style of nascent Rock “n” Roll that got its start at the intersection of rhythm & blues (R&B) and country in the Memphis-West Memphis area. It was first widely broadcast on radio by Sun Studios and KWEM in the mid-1950s and soared on the charts through the end of the decade,” according to Allen.

By 1960, Rockabilly was on the wane in American mainstream music. Yet, Rockabilly music, including new compositions, continued to thrive as a genre in Northeast Arkansas well into the 1960s -- notably in Jonesboro on the Alley Records label owned by Joe Lee and on many other independent labels in the region.

“Rockabilly persisted in Northeast Arkansas long enough to influence The Beatles and it was carried to Europe and the United Kingdom, where the style of music surged to new highs in popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s,” Allen continued. “Rockabilly has made a full circle back to the United States.”

Today, said Allen, Rockabilly enjoys a resurgence on American soil through live performances and new “Rockabilly style” productions, especially during “Rockabilly Weekends” in such music oases as Las Vegas, Chicago, and Coney Island.

Allen also thanked the sponsors of Rockabilly Boogiefest who are helping making the concert possible: East Arkansas Broadcasters, Suddenlink, KASU, Cavenaugh Hyundai, and Cromwell Architects Engineers of Jonesboro.

“Pending funding, the Rockabilly exhibition will open at the ASU Museum in 2016. In the meantime, let’s all celebrate the music that tells the story of Northeast Arkansas, at Rockabilly Boogiefest on March 2!” she added.

For more details, interested individuals may contact Marti Allen or Valerie Ponder at the ASU Museum, (870) 972-2074 or mallen@astate.edu.

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