Wanda Jackson Joining Stellar Cast In Rockabilly Fest 2000

Gathering of rockabilly pioneers and newcomers to benefit planned hall of fame.

Wanda Jackson, family and friends of Buddy Holly, and a batch of up-and-coming and veteran rockabilly stars will gather in Jackson, Tenn., April 14–16 for Rockabilly Fest 2000.

Proceeds from the celebration of this unique country/blues hybrid will help construct the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson.

"Jackson is the home of rockabilly music. Rockabilly is a combination of country and blues, and we are located halfway between the traditional homes of [blues pioneer] W.C. Handy and [country legend] Roy Acuff," Jackson businessman Henry Harrison, who created the project, said.

Harrison also points out that Jackson native Carl Perkins, best known for his classic "Blue Suede Shoes" (RealAudio excerpt), helped popularize rockabilly. "Whenever Paul McCartney and George Harrison discuss how they developed the Beatles' sound, they always say they created it from Carl Perkins' sound in Jackson, Tennessee," Harrison said.

Such veteran rockabilly artists and musicians as Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Billy Lee Riley, Big Al Downing, Ace Cannon and Narvel Felts will perform during the festivities, as will Elvis Presley backing group the Jordanaires. W.S. Holland (longtime drummer for Johnny Cash), Buddy Holly's original band, the Crickets, and Holly's widow, Maria Elena, will also take part.

Also on the roster are such rising U.S. and international rockabilly acts as former Fleetwood Mac member Billy Burnette, Eric Heatherly, Flash and the Retro Rockets, Marco DiMaggio (from Italy), Red Hot (Finland), Rod Lyle (England), Brigitte Handley (Australia) and Lesley Baker (Canada).

The International Rockabilly Hall of Fame and Museum is scheduled for completion by summer 2001.

"We know we can build a place here, where in five years or 50, people can come and know a true sound that was born in Tennessee and remains here today," Harrison said.