The OTHER Watkins Glen Festival
Super Ball IX is not Watkins Glen’s first music festival. In 1973 the site hosted Summer Jam, a “one-day” concert with The Band, The Allman Brothers Band, and The Grateful Dead. As you can imagine, that lineup had some serious drawing power. The promoters sold 150,000 tickets to the event – itself an unimaginable crowd – but three times that number also got in for free. To put that in Phish terms, take the crowd at The Clifford Ball, put it next to The Great Went crowd, stir in some Lemon wheel, and then add in the heat addled Camp Oswego population, the tired Cypressians, and the muddy It and Coventry people and you’d still be an entire festival crowd population short. This was the entire population of Baltimore or Seattle put into a concert grounds. It’s an event on a scale different than anyone would ever consider now.
When four times as many people showed up for your event as you planned for, some things will have to give. Any semblance of a parking plan ended quickly as people moved to the ditch your car somewhere and walk plan. Water, food, and bathrooms were all in short supply. As if that weren’t enough, the weather decided to add to the excitement. Incredible heat led to thunderstorms – The Band’s set was delayed by them – which then turned into bitter cold; according to a review in The Deadhead Taping Compendium, someone actually burned the portable toilets for heat. Due to the size of the event, most of the crowd had no hope of seeing the bands. Stand in the very band of the concert area this weekend and you’ll be closer to the stage than 90% of the crowd was at Summer Jam and they didn’t have high definition video screens.
What they did have was repeater speakers and a sense of adventure. Woodstock was a recent memory, still non-corrupted by its sequels. Parking your car somewhere along the miles of back roads trying to find the concert, and ending up completely covered in mud was considered almost a badge of honor.
A lot of the music of Summer Jam is lost to history. Recordings of The Allman Brothers and Band sets exist but are muddy and hard to find. The Band released an album called Live at Watkins Glen but it’s largely studio tracks with crowd noise and thunder overdubbed. Fortunately you can count on the Good Ol’ Grateful Dead to have their live shows get circulated everywhere. Both of Dead’s shows can be streamed on archive.org.
Wait. Both? More than the traffic and the rain and the crowds, Watkins Glen is known for its soundcheck. When The Band came out to practice the night before they were stunned to discover that there was a crowd already. They played a few songs and then The Allmans played a few songs and then The Dead played a few sets. You couldn’t get The Dead off of the stage in the mid 70s. When presented with a chance to entertain thousands of people, they played for nearly two hours in a low pressure environment; Phil frequently reminded the crowd that, “This is only a test,” and at one point reminded the crowd that this, “means you’ll forgive us anything tonight.”
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
- Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger "The Pequod"
- Trey Anastasio with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center
- More Visions of the Hangout Music Festival 2013 (A Gallery)
- A Blowout for the So So Glos
- Portugal. The Man "Atomic Man" (Official Video)
- Prince "Fixurlifeup" (Official Video)
- Alex Bleeker & The Freaks: How Far Away
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll