Tag Archives: Festival

1969 Vancouver Pop Festival

1969 Vancouver Pop Festival

Paradise Valley Resort
1969 festival #28
August 22, 23, and 24 1969

Vancouver Pop Festival

Each year as I post a short piece about the many rock festivals that took place in 1969, I seem to find a few more. On my latest list, the Vancouver Pop Festival is number 28.

Paradise Valley Resort (now the Cheakamus Centre) is about 40 miles north of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Promoter Bert Gartner had planned on selling 30,000 tickets for each of the three days. He sold 15,000. The MC was well-known radio DJ Terry Mulligan. Bikers showed up and “did” security.

1969 Vancouver Pop Festival

Dead or not?

There is some dispute as to whether the Grateful Dead played the event. Some sites state they did; others dispute it. Unusual is that there is no recording of their performance, something that almost always occurred.

The Jerry Garcia’s Middle Finger site comes down on the “did not play” side with the following information:

Here are the listings from the great San Francisco Express Times, vol. 2 no. 32 (August 21, 1969), p. unk. There’s lots of interest here, of course. But I have circled the item that interests me most greatly. It’s under the listings for Sunday, August 24, 1969, and reads as follows:
Hippy Hill: Trans-Cultural Rip-Offs, Inc. presents Steve Gaskin & the Grateful Dead in concert with Shiva Fellowship. Bring dope (the sacrament) and good vibes. noon. free.
“Hippy Hill”, a.k.a. Hippie Hill, is apparently at the far eastern edge of Golden Gate Park, close to the entry from the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. It seems like a perfectly good place to go share a sacrament and a free show by the Dead.

I show the listing referred to below. It is too small to read, but if you click on it you will likely be able to see a larger view:

1969 Vancouver Pop Festival

1969 Vancouver Pop Festival

MC Terry Mulligan

In 2011, MC Terry Mulligan wrote his biography, My Life…So Far. In it he included his memories about the event. He felt it had held much promise, but failed to deliver.  He also said that the Grateful Dead did not play. Among the several paragraphs about the event, Mulligan includes…

I had my own experience with an unruly music event when…I introduced the acts at the Vancouver Pop Festival–three days of rain, cold and miserable hippies….
Nobody was ready for the pissing rain and cold. People were in sleeping bags on the wet ground in a mountain valley that was mostly shielded from the sun.
I was the guy who promoted the event on the air, so many people thought it was my event. Every half-hour there was somebody loud and angry in my face, spittle flying. “My old lady just got robbed.” “These are bogus tickets.” “You took my money, man!”
1969 Vancouver Pop Festival

Vancouver Sun report

Yet like any event, perspectives change with who one was and where one sat. Vancouver Sun reporter Eileen Johnson wrote:

…the music was excellent, the sound system worked fine, the weather couldn’t have been been better, the light show was a delight, and there were so few people…no one could have suffered from overcrowding
1969 Vancouver Pop Festival

Attendee David Chesney

And yet another statement from the same article by attendee David Chesney,

It was like every outlaw motorcycle gang in the Pacific Northwest came to this thing….The bizarre part was when Little Richard came on. All these bikers right up front. …Little Richard was mincing it up big time, and questioning their sexuality while flaunting his.
1969 Vancouver Pop Festival
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Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969

August 22, 23, and 24
Pelletier Farm, St Helens, Oregon

1969 festival #26

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969

The Bullfrog 2 Festival

It is not a typo that this blog piece is about “The Bullfrog 3 Festival” and the poster pictured above refers to “The Bullfrog 2 Festival.”

#3 was actually the impromptu festival that happened when, facing local opposition, the Bullfrog 2 Festival fell apart a few days before its scheduled August 21 start.

It is important to keep in mind the often angry and hatefully divisive opposition there was toward young people who wanted to get together and listen to what had come to be called “underground music.” The residents of Wallkill, NY had successfully evicted Woodstock Ventures from their original site, forcing the festival to unexpectely find another venue.

Luckily for 400,000 + people, Max Yasgur said “Yes.”

While festivals of this time did sometimes have some people who threw off their clothes, some who used illegal drugs, some who sold illegal drugs, and some whose view of the Establishment was simply anti-Establishment, most young people were simply working part-time for the summer, working full-time since high school, home on military leave, or about to be drafted.

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969

No chaperones!

Scott Laird wrote of the days before: According to original articles published in The Sentinel-Mist Chronicle newspaper in the week prior, Bullfrog II was booked by Walsh and Moquin Productions at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in St. Helens and was scheduled to include national acts Taj Mahal and the Grateful Dead along with local performers “Portland Zoo,” “Sabatic Goat,” “The Weeds,” “New Colony,” and several others.  The plan called for twenty-four hour a day entertainment for two days.   Advertising for the concert also called for “petite mall lites, space balloons, rides and fireworks.” Tickets were $6 in advance, $7 at the gate.

The day before the scheduled start of the event, Circuit Judge Glen Heiber ruled that the facilities at the fairgrounds were not adequate for overnight camping and sanitation and adequate traffic control was not available. He had agreed with Columbia County District Attorney Lou L. Williams who contested the original contract and stated a fear of  “…narcotics, intercourse in the open, and parking on private property, as well as a severe traffic congestion problem.”

Williams had also contended that “…sanitation, parking, and the lack of sufficient law enforcement personnel to cope with a large influx of people, estimated to be about 6,000.

And no chaperoning arrangements!

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969
Bullfrog 2 Festival

On Wednesday 20 August, the day of the cancellation and the day before the festival’s scheduled start, some young fans  gathered in front of the St Helens’s Courthouse. Local people gawked at the peaceful assembly.

On Thursday 21 August 21 the group grew and that afternoon, the Portland Zoo, a local band on the festival schedule, performed. All remained relaxed. Gawking continued. Business owners enjoyed the extra commerce the crowds brought. Fans cleaned up.

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969

Mrs. Melvina Pelletier

Again from Scott Laird: Around 9:00 PM on [that] Thursday evening Mrs. Melvina Pelletier of St. Helens offered her property in the Happy Hollow area of Yankton for the festival. Details of the newly created Bullfrog III were  worked out on Friday. Original promoters Walsh and Moquin had already pulled out of the event, and Bob Wehe of Faucet International Promotions took over as promoter, agreeing to provide sanitation and security.

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969

August 22 – 24, 1969

The truncated festival finally got underway on Friday night and continued until Sunday morning.

Cars crowded the roads, but many reported that local residents were among the jam trying to see these drugged kids with long hair, shoe-less, bra-less, or even (heaven forbid!) topless.

And chaperone-less, of course.

Fortunately for the festival, the Dead headlined and fortunately for us, the set is available on a soundboard recording (SBD) or a matrix if you prefer a little more audience in the mix. And this wasn’t their first concert since their August 16th Woodstock performance. They’d already played in Seattle on August 20 and would play in on August 24…but where? Was it the Vancouver Pop Festival or in San Francisco?

There isn’t much more available about the actual music at Mrs Pelletier’s place, but we should thank her. A west coast Max Yasgur.

Bullfrog 3 Festival 1969
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1964 Teen Age Music International Show

1964 Teen Age Music International Show

October 28 – 29, 1964

1964 Teen Age Music International Show

At first glance the 1964 Teen Age Music International Show and the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair are two very different events, but they do have a few things in common:

  1. the live show was free
  2. the show was recorded
  3. a movie was made of the concert
  4. many of the day’s top stars performed
1964 Teen Age Music International Show

Moondog Coronation Ball

The first rock concert that wasn’t

The idea of a rock and roll show was not new. The honor of the first rock and roll show belongs to Alan Freed who on March 21, 1952, produced the Moondog Coronation Ball at the Cleveland Arena. It attracted nearly 25,000 young people to a hall that only held 10,000. Police shut down the show, 9which featured artists such as the Dominoes and Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams) after one song when thousands of ticket-holders, denied entrance, broke through the lines and charged into the venue.

1964 Teen Age Music International Show

New Wave

As I have mentioned in other blog entries here, 1965 was a turning point in American pop music. In 1964 the Beatles became the avante garde of the British Invasion, but Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, simply Bob at the time of course, wasn’t working on Maggie’s farm no more, telling her as he left, “It ain’t me, babe.”

After Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to Mary Jane in 1965 and the Beatles realized that music could be personal, poetic, and still please their fans, they went in a whole new direction.

The 1964 Teen Age Music International Show captured American pop just before that change.

The show itself was free because those who attended were simply extras for the movie that director Steve Binder and television producer Bill Sargent were making with a high-tech method called ‘Electronovision.’ Transferring the video to a movie using this system allowed for greater clarity.

1964 Teen Age Music International Show

Line up

Binder and Sargent held the show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The two gathered quite a line-up, that in my opinion, featured a greater variety than Woodstock would 5 years later:

  • The Barbarians
  • The Beach Boys
  • Chuck Berry
  • James Brown and The Famous Flames
  • Marvin Gaye (with The Blossoms)
  • Gerry & the Pacemakers
  • Lesley Gore
  • Jan and Dean (MCs as well)
  • Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas
  • Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Supremes

And the house band was no other than now-famous so-called  Wrecking Crew, under the direction of Jack Nitzsche with drummer Hal Blaine,  Jimmy Bond electric bass, guitarists Tommy Tedesco, Bill Aken, and Glen Campbell, upright bassist Lyle Ritz, pianist Leon Russell, and saxophonist Plas Johnson.

1964 Teen Age Music International Show

Rolling Stones Regrets

The Rolling Stones were still looking for the type of big time name recognition and record sales that their friends John, Paul, George, and Ringo were wallowing in. To James Brown’s dismay and to the Stone’s insistence, the Stones followed Brown who put on his usual spectacular performance. In 18 minutes he blew away the crowd.

The Stone’s set was fine, but even today they voice regret at having to follow one of the people whose music put them on the map to begin with.

1964 Teen Age Music International Show

Movie

The movie came out on 29 December 1964. Howard Thompson’s New York Times review was light on the accolades and heavy on the sarcasm: For two solid hours, against a blend of musical din and ear-splitting shriek; from a boby-sox audience, a procession of young performers parades before the poor camera, all but shattering it. Here’s the menu, for the squares who never heard of the popular recording artists: Meet the Barbarians, Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Lesley Gore, Jan and Dean, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and the Supremes.

1964 Teen Age Music International Show
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