Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Happy birthday
August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

Jerome John Garcia was born in San Francisco, CA. His father was Jose “Joe” Garcia, his mother, “Bobbie” Garcia. Brother “Tiff.”

Joe Garcia loved music, especially jazz, and played woodwinds and clarinet.

In the spring of 1947 when Jerry was four, his brother Tiff accidentally chopped off a large part of Jerry’s middle right finger. Later that year, Joe Garcia drowned  while on a fishing trip.

Jerry and brother Tiff moved in with Bobbie’s parents, Tillie and William Clifford. While living with them the boys enjoyed great autonomy. It was also during this time that Jerry’s third grade teacher encouraged the artistic side of Jerry. Jerry started to play the banjo.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Bobbie remarries…

In the early 50s, like so many other young Americans, Jerry discoverd early rock ‘n’ roll: Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, BB King,  and others.

In 1957 for his fifteenth birthday, his mother and step-father gave Jerry an accordion. He complained that that was not what he wanted until they exchanged the accordion for an electric guitar.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Brief military career and 1961

He joined the Army  in April, 1960, but the Army and he realized they were incompatible. He left that December.

In 1961, Jerry met a couple of people who would have a big impact on his future: Robert Hunter and David Nelson.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

More people & Mother McCree’s

In early 1962 Jerry met Ron “Pigpen” McKernanBill KreutzmannPhil Lesh, and, in December, Bob Weir.

Jerry continued to play and by 1964 Jerry, Pigpen, and Weir formed Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions (with Dave Parker, Tom Stone, and Dave Garbett).

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Warlocks > Dead

In 1965, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann joined Jerry, Pigpen, and Bob to form The Warlocks. Their first show is at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park, CA.

In December, The Warlocks changed their name to Grateful Dead and performed their first of many shows as the house band at a Ken Kesey Acid Test in San Jose, CA. . Garcia was 23; Lesh, 25; Pigpen, 20; Weir, 18; and Kreutzmann, 19.

Remembering Loving Jerry Garcia

Long strange trip

The Grateful Dead would play over 2300 shows, their last on July 9, 1995, at Chicago’s Soldier Field. A month later, on August 9, 1995 Jerry Garcia died.

Over his life, Jerry Garcia was addicted to several things. Luckily for us, one of those addictions was music. In addition to the 2300 Dead shows, Jerry seemingly played continuously with his own band (Legion of Mary, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Jerry Garcia and Friends, Jerry Garcia Band, and many more) or sat in with other bands (Mickey and the Heartbeats, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and many more).

Happy birthday Jerry. We thank you for your eternal music.

And of course there are places to listen:

Atlantic City Pop Festival

Atlantic City Pop Festival

August 1, 2, & 3, 1969
Atlantic City Racetrack

1969 festival #30

1969 Atlantic City Pop Festival

Atlantic City Pop Festival

Atlantic City

The Atlantic City Pop Festival of 1969. The penultimate festival. This was 1969’s 30th festival, the first occurring back in May with the Aquarian Family Festival. On my list of festivals for that summer, Atlantic City’s was the last before THE Woodstock Music and Art Fair in mid-August.

Herb, Allen and Jerry Spivak, Shelley Kaplan and Larry Magid produced the event and not unlike Woodstock Ventures, they envisioned an event that featured top-flight entertainment along with about 70 craft and food booths in a relaxed, outdoor atmosphere.

According to a 2011 Atlantic City Weekly article, “The festival was a sellout with 40,000 in attendance each day…. 
In the end, the musicians were the glue that kept the festival together with their performances. Procul Harum’s show on the first was a highlight, spotlighting the guitar work of guitarist Robin Trower and organist Matthew Fisher.”

Atlantic City Pop Festival

Nice mixed line-up

There are not many criticisms about the Woodstock line-up. The typical statement both from those who were there and those not  is that it was the greatest lineup ever. Of course, that’s not true. And greatness is in the ear of the listener.

For all the great acts that appeared at Woodstock, it did not have the mix that the Atlantic City Pop Festival had.

Friday 1 August

  • Biff Rose*
  • Aum
  • Lothar and the Hand People
  • Booker T. & The M.G.s
  • Chicago Transit Authority
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Iron Butterfly
  • Johnny Winter
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Procol Harum
  • Santana Blues Band
  • The Chambers Brothers*
  • Tracy Nelson & Mother Earth

Saturday 2 August

  • The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Hugh Masekela
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Lighthouse
  • Cass Elliot
  • Tim Buckley.

Sunday 3 August

Atlantic City Pop Festival

No Shows and walk offs

The reason a few band’s names are crossed out is that although scheduled, they did not appear. Crosby, Stills, and Nash because of Nash’s illness; Johnny Winter because his equipment didn’t arrive on time; and though Joni Mitchell did sing a few songs, the audience was not as receptive as she wanted and she walked off. Biff Rose, the festival’s MC, filled in and so became part of the list.

Joni was certainly not going to compose an ode to Atlantic City after that experience!

Notice the names like Buddy Rich, the Mothers of Invention, BB King, Hugh Masekela, and Procol Harum. Great choices and there were no equivalents at Woodstock.

The differences

The differences between the two events are even fewer than the differences between it and other similar festivals that summer. Most had great line ups. Most were multiple days. And AC was in the NY media’s circle of coverage: a great advantage that Woodstock also had.

The Atlantic City Pop Festival was in a race-track. No camping as at Woodstock, thus much less an opportunity for attendee to bond and become part of a whole weekend.

Though, in the comments below, a Norman Gaines writes: “No camping as at Woodstock”. Wrong, bad research. We camped ON THE GREENS  at Atlantic City Friday and Saturday nights at the invitation of the racetrack owners and it was announced over the PA system. We had running water, real restrooms and were able to get cleaned up each morning before the show started on Saturday and Sunday. We had real food available. Also, we had direct bus shuttles from the AC bus terminal to the track when the festival ended. And shaded seats. I was at Woodstock and AC. AC was the better of the two because it wasn’t a disaster, like we all know Woodstock was. And respectfully, it had a much more eclectic lineup.”

I’ll defend my research by saying that

  • the organizers did not provide the camping (as Woodstock Ventures had), but were invited by the racetrack owners.
  • Woodstock had running water. It was an amazing system of pipes and faucets surrounding the area.
  • While Mr Gaines Woodstock experience may have been a “disaster,” mine certainly wasn’t. Discomfort and disaster are two different things.
  • And re the AC lineup, see above, but I’ll repeat: “For all the great acts that appeared at Woodstock, it did not have the mix that the Atlantic City Pop Festival had.”

And as far as other differences, I’ll mention two more:

  1. Estimates are about 100,000 people attended each day. A great number, but far less than the “astronomic” half-million in Bethel.
  2. Finally, like nearly every other festival that summer, there is no official audio or visual record of the event. Over the years, various people have written their impressions, but the organizers did not do more than create a great weekend.

There is this brief home movie and sound of Janis:

A March 8, 2020 article from relates a bit more about the concert including a few photos by Peter Stupar who hitchhiked to the concert from Potomac, MD.  Stupar’s site has many more of his pictures from that weekend.


Woodstock Ventures did not set out to create a legacy by filming and recording their event, but in my opinion, their festival would simply be another one on that summer’s long list of festivals had they not done those things.

Atlantic City Pop Festival

Next 1969 festival: Ann Arbor Blues Festival