Patsy Cline Festival Planned

This appeared in The Camden Chronicle on February 16, 2005

The first annual Patsy Cline Memorial Festival will be held in Camden on March 5. This event will be the 42nd anniversary of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of Grand Ole Opry stars Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and their pilot Randy Hughes. Their small plane went down just outside the city limits of Camden in Benton County on March 5, 1963. The concert will be held at Birdies (formerly the Camden Country Club), next to the Magic Valley Golf Course on Eva Road.

Unlike other sing-alike festivals held by the Chamber, this event has come about as a result of the recent January 10 visit of Grand Ole Opry Star Marty Stuart, W.S. Holland and promoter Scott Mills. The group of musicians and friends traveled to Camden to visit the crash site.

"We kicked around the idea of having a concert and we all thought it was a great idea," says Mills who said the first concert will come out of his own pocket. "We hope it will be a lead off to many others that will raise funds to build up the memorial site."

This will be a day of music featuring W.S. Holland and The Survivors (the Johnny Cash band) and Mike Walker, along with local entertainers John Austin McDaniel, the Jack Tripper Band, and the Harmons Creek Band.

Mills says that in order to plan and promote a large fundraiser or bigger show it takes about 8-10 months, getting sponsors and such.

"This first concert is mainly to start drawing attention to the tragedy of the entertainers," says Mills who wants to be sure of the area’s support before he brings in a bigger show.

"Marty has just released a new album and will be on tour in March, but does plan to be a part of future shows," continued Mills as he spoke of plans for a July 4th show for this summer.

"Mills says if this takes off it will put Camden and Benton County on the map," says Birdie’s General Manager Bobby Smith.

"People in this area are starving for good clean entertainment," says Smith who says they will probably be turning people away as they did New Year’s.

The facility will hold 350 comfortably.

Smith says the Chamber is planning to unveil the new marker at the crash site earlier that same day.

Admission to the show is $20 with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. and music starting at 6:00 p.m.. Birdies is located on Eva Road in Camden next to the Golf Course. Tickets will be sold at the door on a first come first served basis. For more information, contact Bobby Smith at Birdies Bar & Grill at 731-584-4826.

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