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Fillmore West

Fillmore West
The Fillmore West in 1970; note the billboard advertising Workingman's Dead
Former names 'The Carousel Ballroom', 'El Patio'
Address 10 South Van Ness Avenue
Location San Francisco, California
Opened July 5, 1968
Closed July 4, 1971


Building is now a Honda Dealership

Fillmore West was a historic rock and roll music venue in San Francisco, California which became famous under the direction of concert promoter Bill Graham from 1968-1971. Named after Graham's original "Fillmore" location at the intersection of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard, it stood at the southwest corner of Market Street and South Van Ness Avenue. There is now a Honda automobile dealership at that location.


  • History 1
    • Events 1.1
    • Closing 1.2
  • References 2
  • External links 3


The Carousel Ballroom, was originally a big band dance palace. Later, Fillmore West booked primarily African American performers as part of the Chitlin Circuit, prior to 1967. Blues legend B.B. King played before his first primarily white audience there in February 1967, with Bill Graham promoting.[1]

The Carousel Ballroom was for a few months in 1968 operated by a collective formed by the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company, as a social/musical "laboratory experiment". The "six-month run may well have corresponded with the height of the whole '60s Haight-Ashbury/San Francisco thing."[2] Bill Graham then took it over.

After two years at the Fillmore Auditorium, because of a deteriorating neighborhood and the modest capacity of the hall, Bill Graham moved his prime concert location in July 1968 to this larger venue, which was less than one mile from the original Fillmore at 1805 Geary Boulevard. He called this venue as Fillmore West (in contrast with Graham's Fillmore East auditorium in New York City).


The Celestial Synapse was a musical event held at the Fillmore West on the evening of 19 February 1969. At least 3,000 people attended the event, hosted by the Frontiers of Science Fellowship. The performance began with a Tibetan Buddhist monk playing Tibetan gongs, and Grateful Dead played a set.[3]

The Grateful Dead were among the regulars at the Filmore West, having played a total of 64 concerts from 1968 through 1971.[4] Of those the first 18 were billed under "Carousel Ballroom".


After three years, Graham closed the Fillmore West on July 4, 1971 with five nights of shows featuring such San Francisco bands as Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service,[5] and a poetry reading from Allen Ginsberg. A documentary film of the last several concerts, called Fillmore, and a three-disc album, called Fillmore: The Last Days, were released in 1972.


  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ "Big Brother And The Holding Company (Featuring Janis Joplin) Live At The Carousel Ballroom 1968". Music Direct. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Good vibes in the name of science". Rolling Stone, April 5, 1969.
  4. ^ View archival newsfilm featuring scenes from a rock concert at Fillmore West (outside, inside and on-stage), shot by a KPIX-TV news crew on 1/28/1969:
  5. ^ "Bill Graham Closes Fillmore., Marking The End Of An Age" - Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Jul 5, 1971

External links

  • "Fillmore San Francisco" official website
  • Chronology of San Francisco Rock 1965-1969
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