Shreveport, LA (KMSS) — 58 years after Elvis Presley made his first television appearance on the show, the Louisiana Hayride is celebrating its 65th anniversary this weekend.
The Louisiana Hayride premiered on April 3, 1948 and was a hit from the start. It quickly gained a national and then even global following.
Sometimes considered the original American Idol, the show discovered many great stars and legends. From Elvis Presley to Hank Williams and even Johnny Cash.
Because of the show's legacy, the Louisiana Office of Tourism and the Oxford American Magazine decided to celebrate the Hayride as part of the statewide Louisiana Soundtrack Experience.
From a film and even a concert with a guest appearance by Shreveport's own Willie Jones, the event is completely free.
It will be held Saturday, February 23 at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium and will feature will feature a 2 p.m. panel discussion featuring local music experts and moderated by music writer and Oxford American guest editor Alex Rawls, as well as a 4 p.m. screening of the LPB-produced documentary film Sunshine by the Stars and a 7 p.m. concert featuring performances by local rock group Dirtfoot and the legendary Louisiana Hayride Band.
Along with Jones, tributes will be made to iconic radio station KWKH, blues legend Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, Louisiana Hayride announcer Frank Page, record store owner Stan Lewis and others. Guest performers who will be joining the Louisiana Hayride Band onstage include honky-tonk artist Kenny Bill Stinson, songwriter Tony Ramey, Maggie Warwick, Bobby Cyrus, Debbie Money, Airheart, Denny Fontaine and more. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and representatives of the Louisiana Office of Tourism will also be in attendance. Ken Shepherd will host the Louisiana Hayride portion of the program
“From Elvis to Hank to Johnny: Celebrating 65 Years of the Louisiana Hayride” is the first of five Louisiana Soundtrack Experience events scheduled to take place throughout Louisiana as part of a year-long celebration of Louisiana’s rich musical heritage. For information on upcoming events in Natchitoches, Lafayette, Ferriday and New Orleans, visit www.louisianasoundtrack.com.