AP , Associated Press
Sep. 6, 1986 10:45 PM ET

LUBBOCK, TEXAS LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ Fans of rock legend Buddy Holly celebrated the 50th anniversary of his birth Saturday, winding up a 5 1/2 -hour “Budfest” that featured the Crickets, the late musician’s original band.

About 2,500 people heard performances Friday and early Saturday by the Crickets and 10 other bands and performers in memory of Holly, who died at age 22 in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959 – “the day the music died.”

Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin and Niki Sullivan, the original Crickets, were inducted into the Lubbock Musical Walk of Fame. Songwriter Sonny Curtis, a member of the Crickets who never toured with Holly, was also honored.

“Standing here, I just happened to think Buddy Holly and The Crickets are together,” Sullivan said after choking back tears as he approached the podium. ” … I love you for caring enough to remember.”

Other performers at the concert in the Lubbock Civic Center exhibit hall included Carl Perkins, Del Shannon and Bo Diddley.

“This is one night that can never be repeated again,” said rockabilly star Buddy Knox. “You’ll never see all these people, all these stars, on the same stage. This is phenomenal.”

“I grew up at a time when Buddy Holly was on top,” Gov. Mark White told the crowd. “He’s still on top. His music hasn’t died.”

Holly, who was born Sept. 7, 1936, in Lubbock, discovered his last name was misspelled without the ‘e’ on his first record and adopted the misspelling in his musical career.

Holly’s greatest hits included the rock ‘n’ roll anthems “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll Be The Day” as well as many other rock standards that have been recorded since by other artists.

The concert was the main event of the week-long Lubbock Music Festival, which began on Labor Day.

“Lubbock has never seen the likes of this before,” said promoter Robert Gamble (aka P. J. Belly). “The people who really appreciate rock and roll were all here tonight, and they will be telling their kids about it for years.”

The festival was to have been named after Holly, but the idea was scrapped after conflicts developed between the musician’s widow, Maria Elena Holly, and the West Texas Music Association, said Jeff Klotzman of the festival’s organizing committee.

The celebration featured Knox, who earned a gold record for “Party Doll” in the late 1950s, followed by The Rockin’ Ricochettes of Minneapolis and 1950s teen idol Bobby Vee.

Vee’s first major appearance was when he and his band were hired to fill in for Holly after the Clear Lake, Iowa, plane crash that also claimed the lives of The Big Bopper and Richie Valens.

The Ricochettes backed up additional sets by Shannon, Diddley, Perkins and the Crickets.

The Crickets performed 15 songs, and were joined by Curtis, Knox and the Ricochettes in singing “That’ll Be the Day.”