Giles to headline Festival
By Jeff Whitten
The Rockabilly Festival is set to take place on Saturday, June 11, this year, Russell Ingle told the Selmer Mayor and Board of Aldermen at last Tuesday’s meeting.
Ingle is the Director of Chamber Programs for the McNairy Regional Alliance (MRA), a combination of the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission.
“We are moving forward,” Ingle said.
He said they are working on sound equipment for the event and have signed the headline act, Brandon Giles.
“If you close your eyes, you would swear you were listening to Jerry Lee Lewis,” Ingle said.
Giles, who is based in Nashville and plays with the Tricky Two band, sent a message through his agent to the town of Selmer, “saying he hoped it was not attached to any of its trees because there wouldn’t be one left standing when he was through playing,” Ingle told the meeting.
Ingle continued, “We’re really looking forward to having him here this year.”
Over the years, Giles has developed his own unique sound by taking the influences of rock ‘n’ roll artists such as Elvis, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Hank Williams, Jr. and Jerry Lee Lewis and combined that musical energy with a newer, harder rocking beat, according to his web site.
“It’s kind of like Little Richard meets AC/DC on steroids,” says Giles.
Brandon can showcase his style best when playing his original music. However, his live shows are infused with a mix of hard rocking honky-tonk classics, electrifying blues and boogie-woogie standards which will bring the audience to their feet and leave them wanting more, according ot his web site.
Former Johnny Cash drummer W.S. “Fluke” Holland will again be playing the festival with the WS Holland Band.
Holland’s musical career began in 1954 at Sun Records as drummer for Carl Perkins and his brothers, J.B. and Clayton. He played on all of Carl’s Sun releases, including the original “Blue Suede Shoes.”
During his career with Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three, Holland played on most of their records including the mega hits Folsom Prison Blues, Walk the Line, Ring of Fire, Boy Named Sue and others.
Ingle said that during his travels throughout the region as a part of WestStar, a leadership program sponsored by the University of Tennessee-Martin, “People are hearing what’s happening here.”
He said people are noticing the event’s growth.
He noted that there are efforts to extend the Rockabilly Highway all the way to Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
“We are hoping that this year’s event will be bigger than the previous two,” Ingle said.
He said that the first two festivals combined drew around 10,000 people.
“When that is funneled into downtown, that’s good,” he concluded.
That gives downtown businesses the opportunity to “get creative to market themselves,” Ingle said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to promote their businesses.”
One example Ingle cited was the Village Coffee House, which created rockabilly themed drinks.
On behalf of the Rockabilly Revival Committee, Ingle asked that Selmer again sponsor the event.
Mayor David Robinson replied, “We have you in the budget this year.”
According to Ingle, the event barely broke even its first year, but made about $2,600 last year.
“We anticipate this year being even better,” he said.
It will start around noon and end around 8:30 p.m.
This will be the third time the event has been held. It will again be sponsored by MRA, the City of Selmer, the Selmer Business Alliance and Arts in McNairy.
In other news from the 18-minute meeting:
• In response to a request for an update “on the wagon trail out here where we cross the creek,” referring to the Mulberry bridge, by Jeff Sisk, the Mayor said they are waiting for “Redmon Asphalt to fire up. Hopefully, we’ll be done pretty quick.”
• Passed on second reading, an amendment to the zoning ordinance that adds transportation uses to business and industrial districts. Robinson explained that this is “just a clean-up of use around the UPS building.”
• Set a personnel hearing for Joe Wyatt for May 2 at 6 p.m. Wyatt had filed for worker’s compensation and wished to return to work with the Street Department but they said they could not find suitable work for him.
• City Attorney Terry Abernathy said closing on the Dixie Property should be complete within a couple of days. Mayor Robinson said Monday it had been closed.