Posts Tagged ‘Allman Brothers’

There’s a three day concert that starts today in Watkins Glen, not too far from where I live, featuring three shows from the band Phish.  They have a large and faithful following and they’re expecting around 40 -50,000  folks to hear their jams at the racetrack there.  Watkins Glen is used to serious influxes of people into their little village tucked into the glens at the base of Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes.  The track has a rich history of hosting Grand Prix and NASCAR races, with crowds often reaching 150,000.  The narrow two-laned roads leading to Watkins Glen are packed tight at these times.

But none of these crowds rivaled the one that came to the Glen back in July of 1973.   Organizers put on a concert featuring the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and The Band and sold about 150,000 tickets.  Little did they know but 600,000 fans turned out.  All roads were impassable and people were parking on Rt. 17, around 15 miles from the track, and heading out on foot.  My brother and a friend took bikes and were able to make their way to the show on two wheels.  It was considered the largest crowd for a concert for some time.  One stat showed that one out of every 350 US citizens at the time were in attendance.

Of course, the organizers were not prepared for such a crowd, almost four times their largest estimate.  Food was scarce as were bathrooms.  There were several overdoses and a skydiver was killed when the flares he was holding set his jumpsuit ablaze as he descended.  People  were trying to recapture the magic of  Woodstock that had taken place a few years before but never quite succeeded, this show never attaining anything near that same aura of myth.

But for a couple of days, our local hills were filled with music of these three iconic bands.  Here’s a little taste of the Allman Brothers to put you in the mood of the time:

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