I was listening to KWMU’s local interview program that Don Marsh hosts last week. There’s a new book written by Steve Schankman and Dick Richmond. It’s the history of Contemporary Productions.
Contemporary was always The Enemy to me and Schankman and Irv Zuckerman were the big bosses. They took outdoor events to new levels of corporate control.
I never really blamed Schankman personally. I saw him as a carny. Money was his art. In the interview he confessed his crowning achievement was Pope John Paul II’s visit to
Corporate control of rock events goes against the very idea of rebellion. Just look at the Riverport dinosaur. No coolers allowed with alcohol. Draft beer is $8.00 and you have to rent lawn chairs if you want a lawn seat.
My first show was Joan Baez at
It used to be an outdoor festival was an instant counter culture city. A utopian existence defined by drug consumption and free love. We were young and thought we could keep our shit together. We couldn’t of course. Imagine a kid’s first apartment especially if they’ve never had to cook or clean up after themselves.
In 1974 three friends and I hitched to
I think Camdenton was a town of 2000 that we made swell to 20,000. There were no facilities, no drinking water and no food. We didn’t care much because we were speeding. The show was being held in a rodeo arena and we were herded through cattle stalls. It was appropriate. Young entrepreneurs were selling ice cubes. Wandering around the grounds at night people kept asking me if I’d seen Dave. “I’m Dave,” I told them. I learned this was how people sought LSD. The whole scene was total chaos. The only bands I remember were the 2 openers—Brownsville Station and The James Gang.
Years later my friends Annie, K and I went to a several day event at a place called The Armory. You could get in for canned food donations. Acid Rescue was always set up for kids that couldn’t handle their drugs. I still think this was incredibly humane.
We were tripping on something called Space Tabs. I have a feeling it was PCP. At one point we hitched back to Annie’s to steal a bottle of wine from her mother’s wine cellar. We didn’t have a cork screw so we brought an arrow we found in the basement.
We hitched back to the show. When we were finally exhausted we left. As we stood hitch hiking it began to snow. K still had the arrow in a pocket of her bib overalls. Annie and I watched as a laughing K opened her mouth wide and the arrow’s tip went up into her throat. The next stop was an emergency room.
I guess it was inevitable that society would clamp down on this kind of behavior. I miss it but have to confess I would never want my kids exposed to it.
Check out this list of banned Rock events:
I found the photo at flickr