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Fall Festival 2000

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L. V. Bryant

 

Fall Festival 2000
Van Buren, Arkansas
By Fan Club Member, Essie Shell


I was fortunate enough to spend several days with a niece in Greenwood,
Arkansas during October and attended two of the many festivals being held in
the state. First was the October Fest in Columbus Acres outside of Ft.
Smith, which benefits children who are terminally ill. Although it was a
fairly small festival, attendance appeared to be very good and everyone was
having a great time dancing under the pavilion.

Second was the Fall Festival in Van Buren, which started on Friday, October
13 and ended Sunday, the 15th. My niece from Greenwood took me to Van Buren
on Friday and we spent the afternoon browsing in the antique shops and
boutiques up and down the approximately 6 block, beautifully restored,
Victorian Main Street. We stopped by the Calico Goose to buy our tickets for
Saturday nights show featuring the legendary Rockabilly and Country music
super star, Narvel Felts. Before going back to Greenwood, we made our way to
the historic Old Frisca Train Depot to see where they were setting up the
outdoor stage, seating and sound equipment for Friday and Saturday's evening
entertainment.

Finally, Saturday was here and although rain was forecast for the evening, it
never materialized. A light jacket or sweater was comfortable in the outdoor
theater setting. Vendors were set up in tents on both sides of Main Street
with arts and crafts. There were rides and games for the kids. There was an
aroma of smoked turkey legs, gator on-a-stick and onion blossoms in the air.
The show started at 7:00 PM with 14 year old Myranda Noelle Weese, who sang
music from the Sock Hop era. Then Sonny Burgess and the Pacers took the
stage, a band which was formed in 1955 at Newport, Arkansas and performs 50's
music, including Kansas City and My Bucket's Got A Hole In It. Next on stage
was the legendary Ace Cannon. Among the songs he entertained us with were
Cotton Fields, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, and Yakety Sax.

Around 9:00 PM, Narvel took the stage to a standing ovation. His program
included Rockabilly songs My Babe and Great Balls Of Fire. Top hits, Funny
How Time Slips Away and Drift Away brought screams and cheers from the
audience. At one point, he had some of the people on their feet dancing. He
introduced another of his Top hits by saying "Imagine the one you love is
marrying someone else and you're at the wedding," then he swung into Somebody
Hold Me (Until She Passes By). The Pacers did an
outstanding job backing Narvel throughout the show and also as the Shoobie
Doo Wah's when he sang Lonely Teardrops. Requests were pouring in from the
audience. Most of the songs were already in the script, but someone
requested Raindrops and Narvel said it wasn't in the script. There were some
sighs of disappointment, but then true to form, Narvel sang it anyhow,
accompanied only by himself on guitar. His voice was beautiful and the song
couldn't have been any better! Narvel sang Even
Now in memory of his only son, Bub, who was killed in an automobile accident
5 years ago on September 14, 1995. The words "When will I see you
again....come to my arms where you belong" brought tears to many in the
audience. He sang My Prayer, Pink and Black Days and ended the show with his
1975 Single of the Year, Reconsider Me, following with "May The Good Lord
Bless and Keep You."

Time had gone by so fast.......surely the show wasn't over! Tonight Narvel
was at his very best. The audience gave him a standing ovation, wanting an
encore, and he teased them with almost putting the guitar strap back over his
head until everyone was yelling "put it on, put it on." So he did, but not
before he called Sonny Burgess and Ace Cannon back on stage to help him with
a lively rendition of Shake, Rattle & Roll. It was a Grande Finale to an
outstanding show.

As always, Narvel promised to stay until the last person had gotten through
the autograph line. It was almost 2 hours later when he joined fan club
members Judy Standige and daughter Amy from Muldrow, Oklahoma, myself from
Kemp, Texas and Narvel's longtime friend and fan club member Huey P. Long
from Kansas City, for snacks and autographs. Several of my nieces and a
great niece joined us as well. The time Narvel spends with us after a show
is always a "special bonus" and something we never take for granted.......
but we always look forward to it. We all appreciate him sharing himself and
his love of music with us.

As the festival was beginning its last day Sunday, the rain had started. We
knew Arkansas needed the rain and we were glad to see it, but also happy that
it had waited until then. Narvel and his fan club members had breakfast
together, said our good-byes, then we all went our separate ways home. I'm
never quiet ready to say "good-bye."

 


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