Tag Archives: Festival

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

1969 festival #17
July 5 and July 11 -12
Spectrum, Philadelphia

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

The Spectrum was an indoor arena that opened in the fall of 1967. Like any modern indoor arena, the venue hosted many things. For Philadelphia it was used for  basketball, ice hockey, arena football, indoor soccer, indoor lacrosse, and, of course, concert events.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Festival-filled summer

On July 5 and on July 11 and 12, during that festival-filled summer of 1969, there was a three day event there. It was divided into four shows: one evening show on Saturday 5 July; one evening show on Friday 11 July and two on Saturday 12 July–an afternoon and an evening show.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Saturday 5 July

As you can see from the above advertisement,  the first show featured black artists, with the James Brown Show headlining. Chicago’s Young Holt-Unlimited, with their hit Soulful-Strut.

Tyrone Davis, with his hit…

and the comedian Nipsy Russell.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Friday 11 July

Friday’s line-up was an impressive one with future Woodstock performers Sly and the Family Stone and Ten Years After along with Jeff Beck, the Mothers of Invention, and Savoy Brown. I would have like to have been there that night!

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Saturday afternoon 12 July

The Saturday afternoon show only had two bands: Blood, Sweat and Tears and the Hawkins Singers.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival
from a Led Zeppelin fan site
1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Saturday evening 12 July

Saturday evening was the stronger line-up: Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Al Kooper, Jethro Tull, and the Buddy Guy Blues Band.

As you may notice, there was a heavy emphasis on soul music and the electric blues whether played by blacks or whites.  Though there were some blues-influenced bands at Woodstock such as Johnny Winter and Ten Years After the following month, the absence of such artists as Buddy Guy and James Brown leave some scratching their heads. Young whites’ interest in the original blues artists had already returned and such artists were regularly featured in many other festivals that summer.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

So Long Spectrum

A little more than a year after the arena’s final event (a Pearl Jam concert) took place on October 31, 2009.  the Spectrum was demolished (between November 2010 and May 2011) .

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival
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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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Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

June 24, 1966
Not from June 1966: Beach Boys live, “God Only Knows”
Beach Boys Summer Spectacular Beach Boys Summer Spectacular
Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

1 or 2?

Today’s blog confused me a bit as I thought this “festival” was a one-day event, yet some sources suggest it was two days in two different places with nearly the same line-up. I am going to treat it as a two-day event, but with a grain of salt. The second poster with the “KRLA Presents” (as opposed to the first day’s “KFRC Presents”) suggests the two-day two-venue possibility. And I can find no information to distinguish things.

Here we go!

Friday 24 June (San Francisco)

  • Beach Boys
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Chad & Jeremy
  • Percy Sledge,
  • The Outsiders
  • The Leaves
  • Sir Douglas Quintet
  • Jefferson Airplane,
  • The Byrds
  • The Sunrays
  • Neil Diamond
Saturday 25 June (Los Angeles)

  • Beach Boys
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • Chad & Jeremy
  • Percy Sledge
  • The Outsiders
  • The Leaves
  • Sir Douglas Quintet
  • Love
  • The Byrds
  • Captain Beefheart
Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

Station-sponsored

First of all, this was not a 1969 festival and perhaps was not even a festival, but it was a rock music event that was held by an FM-rock radio station in San Francisco that featured some groups that were emerging on the new FM-rock scene.

The sponsor of the event, KFRC-FM (and RKO-owned station) had joined the growing number of FM stations that saw rock music as a profitable format. Bill Drake, the RKO General’s national program director, created a system that meant a fewer records, but heavier rotation of the biggest hits, very short jingles, and less DJ talk.

Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

Seeds of future outdoor festivals

One can see the seeds of the “underground” style and album-oriented selection in Drake’s so-called “Boss Radio” style.

The selection of groups that perform is an interesting mix of styles: the jug band bent of the Lovin’ Spoonful, the soul of Percy Sledge, the San Francisco Jefferson Airplane, the LA folk-rock of the Byrds, some British Invasion with Chad and Jeremy, Cleveland rock with the Outsiders (their big hit, “Time Won’t Let Me,” a bit of Texas/San Francisco mix with the Sir Douglas Quintet,  and of course the surfin’ Beach Boys.

Beach Boys Summer Spectacular

Hey Joe 

The Leaves are historically interesting as they were the first rock group to release what would in a year become Jimi Hendrix’s signature song, “Hey Joe.”

I am surprised to see Captain Beefhart and his Magic Band (and you should be, too), and Love.

With so many bands (either way), the sets must have been short to accommodate so many groups in what was likely a 3 or 4 hour window.

The ticket prices were $2, $3, $4, and $5 for the first night; $2.75, $3.75, $4.75,  and $5.75 for the second night. The more expensive tickets seem too expensive for 1969. I assume there was no meet-and-greet with the highest priced tickets.

Beach Boys Summer Spectacular
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