Big Rock Pow Wow
May 23 -25, 1969
The third of the 1969 Memorial Day weekend festivals is perhaps the most interesting of all. It wasn't filmed so pictures of the event are hard to come by. It wasn't recorded either. Well, mostly. Fortunately for us today, the Grateful Dead played the Big Rock Pow Wow that weekend (twice) and as they typically did recorded themselves. Today that recording (and an excellent one it is!) is available as Road Trips Vol 4 #1. Both shows are available to listen to via the Internet Archive: Friday 23 May 1969 & Saturday 24 May 1969. The shows were recorded by the legendary Owsley “Bear” Stanley.
The festival attracted only a few thousand people, but the line-up was a solid one. One of the performers I want to point out is Johnny Winter. The reason I want to do that is because as we move through the calendar and I blog about the many other 1969 festivals, one should note how many times you see his name. He is all over the place. Actually at the end of April, Woodstock Ventures had signed him ($7,500) to play at their upcoming middle-of-nowhere festival in Wallkill, NY.
Big Rock Pow Wow
Sweetwater would also appear at that august event. Here is advertised line-up by day:
According to the Grateful Dead site: "There was Seminole dancing and chants onstage and off—and the adjacent restored Seminole village was bustling with native crafts-makers (and sellers), as well as various hippie merchants peddling their wares. Because the festival took place on Seminole land, there were no police or conventional security. Timothy Leary’s “people” were somehow involved in putting on the event and Dr. Tim wandered the grounds and occasionally spoke from the stage. “Orange sunshine” acid was everywhere."
The band Aum from San Francisco played also. Another of those pretty good bands that came and went but had the eye of people like Bill Graham who put Aum on his record label for their second (and last) album. It is their "Mississippi Mud" you hear a piece of at the top of today's entry.
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