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Sky River Rock Festival

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Title: Sky River Rock Festival  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Rock festival, Sue Draheim, Music festivals established in 1968, Air Pirates, Un disco per l'estate
Collection: Music Festivals Established in 1968, Rock Festivals in the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sky River Rock Festival

Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock
Dates Labor Day Weekend
Location(s) Skykomish River, Sultan, Tenino, Washougal, Washington
Years active 1968-1970
Attendance unknown
Capacity 13,000 (tickets)

The Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair was a historic rock festival held on a raspberry farm on the Skykomish River outside Sultan, Washington. First held Aug 31-Sep 2, 1968, it was the first multi-day outdoor hippie rock festival at an undeveloped site. The line-up included bands such as the Grateful Dead and Santana.[1] The festival was held the next year on Aug 30-Sep 1, 1969 in Tenino, Washington, and finally on Aug 28-Sep 8, 1970 in Washougal, Washington.[2]


  • Overview 1
  • Line-ups 2
  • See also 3
  • Further reading 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


On April 28, 1968, nearly 3,000 fans attended a rock concert at a farm in Duvall where an upright piano was dropped from a helicopter. Performances included Country Joe and the Fish. This concert is well-known to locals as the Piano Drop. This event inspired the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair which occurred later that year.[3]

In 1968, the town of Sultan, Washington was visited by more than 20,000 hippies during the festival.[2] Though the event was ticketed, many thousands of people showed up without tickets and snuck in. Proceeds were donated to the Mexican American Federation of Washington, the Foundation for American Indian Rights and the Central Area Peace and Improvement Cooperative.[1] The Camlin Hotel hosted performers for the festival.

In 1970 Air Pirates cartoonist collective attended the Sky River Rock Festival and met Shary Flenniken and Dan O'Neill at the media booth, where Flenniken was producing a daily Sky River newsletter on a mimeograph machine. Before the festival was over the four of them produced a 4-page tabloid comic, Sky River Funnies, mostly drawn by London. [4]


In 1968 Billy Roberts played at the Sky River Rock Festival, and jammed with Big Mama Thornton, James Cotton, and members of Grateful Dead.[5] His friend Dino Valenti was also on the bill.[2] The event took place on a farm near town. The line-up included Santana, Grateful Dead, The Youngbloods, Country Joe and the Fish, It's a Beautiful Day, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Muddy Waters, Buffy St. Marie, John Fahey, guitarist Sandy Bull, Seattle psychedelic band Easy Chair and others. Also on hand was the young comedian Richard Pryor.[6] Due to the muddy surroundings of the stage, Pink Floyd were unable to put up their gear and had to cancel the gig.

Colby Street performed with Sue Draheim (Tenino, Washington in 1968 and 1969), called themselves "Dr. Humbead's New Tranquility String Band and Medicine Show". The band consisted of Sue Draheim, Jim Bamford, Mac Benford, and Will Spires.[7][8]

See also

Further reading

  • article on the festivalSeattle Times


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Sky River poster. SKY RIVER ROCK FESTIVAL AND LIGHTER THAN AIR FAIR - III. The Sky River Story
  3. ^ Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 110-112, 255.
  4. ^ Patrick Rosenkranz (2002). Rebel visions: the underground comix revolution, 1963-1975. Fantagraphics Books.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ WA, Seattle area Pinback 1968 SKY RIVER Rock Festival. WorthPoint Worthopedia - Premier Price Guide. Accessed: 2010-05-28.
  7. ^ "North California Groups - Dr. Humbead'S New Tranquility String Band And Medicine Show". 1966-10-15. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  8. ^ Malone, Bill C. (2011). Music from the True Vine: Mike Seeger's Life and Musical Journey. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p.153. ISBN 0807835102

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
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