Lee Rocker and WS Holland are among the featured acts at the third Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Festival from Aug. 1 to 3 in downtown Amherst.
AMHERST – After a few early speed bumps, planning is back in full swing for the third Maritime Rockabillly Shakedown Festival in downtown Amherst.
The festival was briefly canceled in mid-June amid funding and sponsorship concerns, both the event was quickly re-established after those issues were addressed and organizer Davey Lee Goode is excited about this year’s show.
“It’s coming together nicely. We hit a bit of a speed bump there last month, but since then it’s been all ahead full with planning the third Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Festival,” Goode said. “We have some top notch entertainers coming back to Amherst this year, including a couple of legends in the rockabilly genre.”
The festival is also running earlier this year on Aug. 1 to 3. After two years of contending with poor weather on the festival’s final day in September, Goode said the decision was made to move the event to August.
Another reason for the move it to make it more attractive to tourists and to attract people to the community. Goode said holding it in September limited how many people could attend and how much the festival could grow.
“It makes sense to move it,” he said. “We want this festival to become a major attraction for Amherst and we believe it will be a major draw for the town. By holding it in early August it’s at the heart of the tourist season and it will draw more people into the community for three days and that means more business for hotels, restaurants and business.”
The three-day festival will include both free performances in Victoria Square and paid events under the big tent in the downtown. There’ll be numerous bands, vendors, tattoos and the rockabilly festival car show is also returning with numerous classic cars.
Goode said the festival has scored a major coup this year in attracting Lee Rocker, who in 1979 was a founding member of the Stray Cats and has performed with Carl Perkings, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, John Fogerty and Keith Richards.
Also coming is drumming pioneer WS Holland, who worked exclusively as the drummer for Johnny Cash, while also doing some work with Perkins, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Rockabilly pioneer Rayburn Anthony is coming back as is the Shakedown Combo, Tim Polecat and Bloodshot Bill, while among the new acts this year are the Bloodshots and the Millwinders.
“Over three days we’ll have 20-plus bands along with some circus acts, a 50s-style barber and lots of vendors,” Goode said.
Tickets for the festival are $25 are available at the Snowhite Laundry and Convenience, Victorian Motel, JG Jewellers and Connor’s Restaurant as well as at www.rockabillyshakedown.com .
The final day of the festival will be tied into part of the Amherst 125 celebrations with Victorian-era sideshow acts, including a Houdini escape routine.