Sunrise to Sunset Festival

Sunrise to Sunset Festival

May 31 – June 2, 1969

Stanley Carlson farm in Duvall, WA

(after the Tulalip Indian Reservation in Marysville, WA cancelled)

1969 festival #10

Duvall is a city in King County, Washington, located on SR 203 halfway between Monroe and Carnation. The population was 8,034 at the 2020 census.

As a  myopic Woodstock 1969 alum, I always thought that Woodstock was the only 1969 festival other than in the infamous Altamont at the end of the year.

I’ve learned repeatedly how wrong I was and am continually astounded at how many other 1969 festivals there were: at least 49, most of which were in the United States.

In October 2022, Glen Beebee, a reader posted a comment under my post about those other festivals. He pointed out that I had missed (yet) another one: the Sunrise to Sunset Festival in Duvall, Washington. He provided the jpegs of the concert poster as well as the newspaper article. Thank you Glen.

Otherwise,  I find very little about it. I did find a reference to two nearby 1968 events: a piano drop and a festival. Here’s a bit about them.

BTW…Glen also points out that there was also the Spring Flush (Santana, It’s a Beautiful Day, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Spring,Alice Stuart (Thomas), Gazebo, Juggernaut, Retina Circus (light show) at HEC Edmundson Pavilion 5/3/69.  Very subjectively, I’ve limited my accounting of 1969 festivals to multi-day events, so will not include the Spring Flush on my list, but it does point out two things: one, there was a lot of outdoor rock music happening by 1969 and two, the Northwest played (literally and figuratively) a big part in that cornucopia.

Sunrise to Sunset Festival

Great Piano Drop, 1968

Sunrise to Sunset Festival
This photo of Joe McDonald, shot by “Helix” editor Paul Dorpat at Sea-Tac International Airport, was used to advertise a weekend of shows, including the Piano Drop, by Country Joe and the Fish. Above: An ad for two benefit events (including the Piano Drop) for the “Helix” and radio station KRAB.

Duvall had already experienced another counter-cultural  event. On April 28, 1968 there was the Great Piano Drop on musician Larry Vanover’s farm in Duvall. A helicopter dropped an upright piano into a field just so everyone could hear what it would sound like. Organizers thought if they could get people out to a rural spot to watch a piano drop, then they’d come out to a festival, too.

If you are a Northern Exposure fan, a piano drop will sound familiar as in the February 3,  1992 episode Burning Down the House,  Chris initially decided to fling a cow, but did a piano instead.

And (of course) that plot was likely inspired by Monty Python who occasionally used the idea in episodes. A video game also uses the concept:

Sunrise to Sunset Festival

Sky River Festival, 1968

Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair opens a ...

Over Labor Day weekend that year, the Great Piano Drop yielded its fruit: the Sky River Festival. It was likely America’s first outdoor, multi-day hippie rock festival on an undeveloped site. Think Woodstock, but a year earlier.

From an April 23, 2015 article by Ben Marks in Collectors Weekly:

…the organizers of Woodstock may well have taken their cue from the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair, held over Labor Day weekend of 1968,… At Sky (short for Skykomish) River, some 20,000 people descended on Betty Nelson’s organic raspberry farm in Sultan, Washington, to turn on, frolic naked in the mud, and tune into the music of 20 or so bands and performers, playing everything from folk and blues to jazz and rock. A young Richard Pryor was there (his debut comedy album would be released that November), as was the Grateful Dead, whose unscheduled appearance on the last day of the festival was as big a surprise to the concert’s exhausted and bewildered promoters as it was to the appreciative crowd.

But I digress. “What about the Sunrise to Sunset Festival,” you ask.  I digress for a good reason: I can find very little about the festival other than it did actually happen. The above referenced AP article is The Daily Chronicle from Monday 2 June 1969. The headline reads: Hippies Take To the Hills.

The articles first sentence reads …hippies and some of the not-so-hip took to the hills during the Memorial Day weekend to follow the Sunrise to Sunset Rock Festival as it moved from Marysville to this tiny King County community, scene of a piano drop last April.

Sunrise to Sunset Festival

30 Bands

Click on picture to see full size…easier to read

The article says that there were 30 bands, but does not mention one of them. Apparently the biggest local issue was a traffic jam when a  parking area flooded, The site shows it was somewhat a chilly weekend that had had rain some rain in the days before.

Sunrise to Sunset Festival

Sky River Rock Festival  & Lighter Than Air Fair, 1969

Sunrise to Sunset Festival

Tenino, Washington is nearly 100 miles south of Duvall and on August 30, 31, and September 1, 1969 was the Sky River Rock Festival and Light Than Air Fair. Besides have what is likely the longest name of any fair that year (or ever?).

Follow my link above to read all about it.

Or follow this link to 1969’s festival #11: The Mississippi River Festival.

Sunrise to Sunset Festival


And a shout out to Glen and his associates for their book: Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969.

From their site: The 60’s Seattle area poster scene has been chronicled in this new, hardcover, 150 page volume titled: Split Fountain Hieroglyphics: Psychedelic Concert Posters from the Seattle Area, 1966-1969. With help from Glen Beebe (design/production), Ben Marks (editor) and a foreword by Art Chantry, I’ve published a limited edition of 500, signed and numbered books. With almost 200, full color illustrations of concert art, artist interviews and essays covering topics such as the Piano Drop and Sky River,

Sunrise to Sunset Festival

Next 1969 festival: Mississippi River Festival

Tulsa Race Massacre

Tulsa Race Massacre

The Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma had earned the nickname America’s Black Wall Street. By 1921, it was a 35-block neighborhood with a bustling retail scene, as well as two schools, two newspapers and a hospital. Dozens of successful black-owned, black-run businesses were there. Hundreds of Blacks lived within walking distance of  grocery stores, hotels, nightclubs, billiard halls, theaters, doctor’s offices and churches.

It was a city within a city.

Tulsa Race Massacre

Post Civil War

According to a New York Times article, “Many African-Americans migrated to Tulsa after the Civil War, carrying dreams of new chapters and the kind of freedom found in owning businesses. Others made a living working as maids, waiters, chauffeurs, shoe shiners and cooks for Tulsa’s new oil class.

In Greenwood, residents held more than 200 different types of jobs. About 40 percent of the community’s residents were professionals or skilled craftspeople, like doctors, pharmacists, carpenters and hairdressers, according to a Times analysis of the 1920 census. While a vast majority of the neighborhood rented, many residents owned their homes.”

Though Blacks enjoyed success within Greenwood,  as with all areas in the United States, the majority white Tulsa community continued to deny them access to society in general.

Tulsa Race Massacre

May 30 and June 1, 1921

On  May 30, 1921 there was an elevator incident. As with nearly all such incidents, the truth is likely not close to the stories that were told.

The incident involved Dick Rowland, 19, a young Black shoe shiner, and Sarah Page, 17, a white elevator operator and likely was that Rowland tripped and grabbed onto the arm of Page while trying to catch his fall. She screamed, and he ran away, according to the 200-page 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission  report released on February 28, 2001.

Tulsa Race Massacre

May 31, 1921

Authorities arrest Dick Rowland the following day and jailed him in the Tulsa County Courthouse. As usual, the white-owned newspapers inflamed white Tulsa residents with the headline: “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator.”

While any report, however spurious,  of any Black person’s “disrespect” of a White  person was cause for revenge, the interaction between a Black male and a White female was particularly provoking.

A lynch mob showed up outside the Courthouse. Twice, a group of armed Black Tulsans, many of them World War I veterans, offered to help protect Rowland but the sheriff turned them away.

As the men left the second time, a white man tried to disarm one of the black men. His weapon discharged and that sparked the always-simmering excuse to teach “them” a lesson.

Later, authorities would drop the charges against Rowland and concluded that he had most likely tripped and stepped on the Page’s foot, but that conclusion came far too late.

Tulsa Race Massacre

2-days of Destruction

Tulsa Race Massacre

A white mob descended on Greenwood.

Again according to the NY Times article, The mob “…indiscriminately shot Black people in the streets, ransacked homes, stole money and jewelry.

“They set fires, “house by house, block by block,” according to the commission report.

“Terror came from the sky, too. White pilots flew airplanes that dropped dynamite over the neighborhood, the report stated, making the Tulsa aerial attack what historians call among the first of an American city.

“The numbers presented a staggering portrait of loss: 35 blocks burned to the ground; as many as 300 dead; hundreds injured; 8,000 to 10,000 left homeless; more than 1,470 homes burned or looted.”

Another article speaks about members of the Oklahoma National Guard arresting Black victims and detaining 6,000 Greenwood residents at the Convention Hall and the Fairgrounds, some for as long as eight days.

Tulsa Race Massacre

Silent Aftermath

Though some Black residents attempted to stay and rebuilt, it never again was America’s Black Wall Street.

Tulsa passed a fire ordinance intended to prevent Black property owners from rebuilding on their own and insurance companies that refused to pay damage claims.

Tulsa hid the story.  Decades later when some young Black college students from Tulsa learned of the Massacre, they responded with disbelief how effective the secret keeping had been.

No one was ever prosecuted or punished for the Massacre and in 2005, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by massacre victims, who appealed the decision of two federal court judges who said the victims waited too long to file their lawsuit.

July 9, 2023: there had been a lawsuit regarding compensation but on this date Oklahoma Judge Caroline Wall threw out the lawsuit.

August 16, 2023: the Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of July 9 dismissal of the lawsuit filed by the attack’s last at the time three living survivors.


Here is a link to many photos related to the Massacre.

And here a link to an excellent Smithsonian Magazine article entitled Artifacts From the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Tulsa Race Massacre