Thursday, March 10, 2011

2201 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA The Electric Factory: Concert List July-December 1969 (Philadelphia IV)

[this post continues the series about rock concerts at and presented by the Electric Factory in Philadelphia in the 1960s]

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of America's great cities, but its proximity to New York has always made an unfair comparison. Philadelphia has an exciting music history, and an exciting rock music history in the 1960s, but that history can only be documented in the most fragmented of places. These posts about the Electric Factory marks the beginning of my effort to organize and analyze Philadelphia rock history in the 1960s. There are probably more dates to be found, but these posts will make a good starting point (thanks to Bruno for some fantastic research).

The Electric Factory, 2201 Arch Street
The Electric Factory, a former tire warehouse, opened in early 1968 at 2201 Arch.  The owners were the Spivak brothers, all experienced bar owners in the Philadelphia area. Their booker was Larry Magid.  They rapidly dominated the concert scene in Philadelphia, and the Electric Factory were the most important promoters in Philadelphia until they ultimately were purchased by larger corporate interests in the 1990s.

The Electric Factory was a critical stop on 60s concert tours, and an integral part of the "Premier Talent" (Booking Agency) circuit that included both Fillmores, the Boston Tea Party and Chicago's Kinetic Playground. Philadelphia was a big, important city and Philadelphia fans were not shy about showing their appreciation or displeasure (a trait that has endured). However, since the Electric Factory did not generally use posters with collectible art for advertisements, the venue has been somewhat lost to 60s rock history. There were many relatively trivial 60s venues that had a famous poster or two, often printed in The Art Of Rock or otherwise promulgated, that are recalled much more often than the Electric Factory. Outside of Philadelphia, the early history of the Electric Factory is largely ignored, and I am attempting to begin to correct that here.
This post presents the lists of Electric Factory concerts from July through December 1969, as well as major Philadelphia rock events during that period. The list is almost certainly not complete. Our knowledge of shows at venues like the Fillmore, the Avalon or Detroit's Grande Ballroom comes from the wonderful (and collectible) posters that lived on in dorm room walls long after the venues ceased operating. However, the Electric Factory rarely used colorful, artistic posters to advertise the shows. I think the Electric Factory advertised on the radio and with print-only ads in various newspapers, making it harder to discern their schedule.
This post represents my best efforts at determining late 1969  shows at the Electric Factory, as well as shows promoted by Electric Factory concerts. Anyone with additional information, insights, corrections or recovered memories (real or imagined) is encouraged to Comment or email me, and I will update the list accordingly. 
(For earlier efforts at psychedelic ballrooms in Philadelphia as well as the first half of 1968 for the Electric Factory, see here, and for the second half of 1968 see here, and for the first half of 1969 see here)
Electric Factory Concerts in Philadelphia, July>December 1969
By the second half of 1969, rock concert promotion was big business, and Larry Magid and The Electric Factory were the dominant promoter in Philadelphia. Ironically, however, the market had gotten so big that many of the concerts were now held at the much larger Philadelphia Spectrum. The Electric Factory was also the primary promoter at the Spectrum (at 3601 Broad), though not the only one. I have tried to include all the major rock events at the Spectrum from this period, even though I am not always certain that the events were promoted by the Electric Factory. 

At the same time, the Electric Factory was under pressure from police commissioner Frank Rizzo, who managed to get the Electric Factory shut down for most of the Summer of 1969. The Electric Factory was busy promoting events at the Spectrum as well as the Atlantic City Pop Festival, but the Factory itself was closed for some portion of the Summer.
July 11-12, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Spectrum Pop Festival
>July 11, 1969:  Sly and The Family Stone/Mothers of Invention/Ten Years After/Jeff Beck/Savoy Brown
>July 12, 1969: Blood, Sweat & Tears/Edwin Hawkins Singers (afternoon show)
>July 12, 1969: Led Zeppelin/Johnny Winter/Al Kooper/Jethro Tull/Buddy Guy’s Blues Band

Many of the acts who played the Spectrum Pop Festival had previously headlined at the Electric Factory. The Summer of 1969 was the Summer of Rock Festivals, however, and bands had started crisscrossing the country.

July 16, 1969: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Blind Faith/Delaney & Bonnie & Friends/Taste
The Blind Faith tour was probably the biggest National rock tour up until this time. Taste featured Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher.

July 19, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Tom Rush
July 23, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Crazy World Of Arthur Brown/Sweet Stavin Chain


July 25-26, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: AUM/Sweet Stavin Chain

July 29, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Dr. John The Night Tripper

July 30, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Lothar and The Hand People
Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo managed to get a judge to close the Electric Factory ("corrupting the youth" seemed to be the charge) for the rest of the Summer.

August 1-3, 1969 Atlantic City Racetrack, Mays Landing, NJ: “Atlantic City Pop Festival”
Although held outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey, about 50 miles to the Southeast of Philadelphia, this show was promoted by the Electric Factory. During this time, the Electric Factory was holding “Be-Ins” at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park, but the city would not have allowed a rock festival outdoors.  Even in freewheeling Atlantic City, the event still had to be called a “Pop” Festival.

Like most 60s festivals, it is difficult to determine who actually showed and who played, much less in what order. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 1, 2004, the festival was a commercial and musical success.  It was promoted by Philadelphia’s Electric Factory (who could not get a permit for anywhere in Philadelphia), and crowds of about 40,000 showed up all three days.  There was a campground next door, and adequate facilities (as well as a fence) at the horse racing track.

The advertised acts appear to have varied significantly from who actually played. I am unable to determine even whether bands appeared for two days or three. My guess is that three days were planned, and after a series of cancellations the show was scaled back to two days. A program circulates with only two days of acts, differing dramatically from what was advertised. Such changes were common occurrences in late 60s' festivals. I suspect that the first night featured Philadelphia area bands, since many people would have started camping out on Friday August 1.

Poster courtesy of the collection of Ed Galm

Atlantic City Pop Festival: Advertised Acts
Friday, August 1: Iron Butterfly/Johnny Winter/Crosby Stills Nash & Young/Chicago Transit Authority/Procol Harum/Joni Mitchell/Mother Earth/Santana Blues Band/Booker T & The MGs

Saturday, August 2: Jefferson Airplane/Creedence Clearwater Revival/Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Tim Buckley, B.B. King/Butterfield Blues Band/The Byrds/Hugh Masakela/Lighthouse/American Dream

Sunday, August 3: Janis Joplin/Canned Heat/Mothers Of Invention/Moody Blues/Three Dog Night/Sir Douglas Quintet/Joe Cocker/Little Richard/Buddy Rich Big Band/Dr. John The Night Tripper

The actual reality of who played seems somewhat different. CSNY canceled, apparently because Graham Nash had vocal nodes, insuring that he would be well enough to sing at Woodstock two weeks later. Johnny Winter was unable to play because his equipment did not arrive, although it appears he borrowed a guitar and sat in with Janis Joplin.

A program exists listing acts only on Saturday (Aug 2) and Sunday (Aug 3). It includes some of the acts scheduled for Friday night. Did some bands play twice, was Friday's billing re-organized or was it canceled? My guess is that there was a concert Friday night, but it featured mainly local bands.

Atlantic City Pop Festival: Programmed Acts
According to a circulating program (above), these were the acts on Saturday and Sunday, in order of appearance, from 1:00-9:30 pm.

Saturday, August 2: American Dream/Tim Buckley/The Byrds/Booker T and The MGs/Hugh Masakela/Butterfield Blues Band/BB King/Lighthouse/Creedence Clearwater Revival/Jefferson Airplane

Sunday, August 3: Sir Douglas Quintet/Santana Blues Band/Canned Heat/Three Dog Night/Joe Cocker and The Grease Band/Mothers Of Invention/Buddy Miles Express/Johnny Winter/Janis Joplin/Little Richard
Janis Joplin is actually listed on the program twice. I assume this was just a misprint, and some other act came on between Joe Cocker and The Mothers (I don't envy them). Johnny Winter was reputed not to have made it, but of course I can't be sure. Keep in mind that many of the big names booked for these days were not big names at the time. Acts like Santana, Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night and Joe Cocker would have just released their first albums at this time, and would have been big surprises to the Festival audience.

Anyone with more specific memories of the acts playing the Atlantic City Pop Festival is encouraged to Comment. For a more general picture of the Atlantic City Pop Festival, there is an interesting website by one of the promoters of the event.

September 5-6, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Spooky Tooth/Chicago Transit Authority

September 9-11, 1969 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Tyrannosaurus Rex/Chris Smither
I suspect that the Electric Factory was closed for most of August 1969, just like the Fillmore East. I don't really have a sense of how many 1969 shows I am missing from the Electric Factory itself, as I'm not sure if they tried to be open every weekend no matter what.

Although Tyrannosarus Rex featured Marc Bolan, it was not the hard rocking glam of "Bang A Gong," but a hippie folk duo featuring Bolan and a conga player. They would have been a sort of cult act at this time, a clear indicator that the bigger acts were playing the Spectrum or elsewhere, at least in the Summer.

Chris Smither was a Cambridge, MA based folk blues guitarist. 

September 12-13, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Junior Wells/Mandrake Memorial


September 19-20, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Buddy Miles Express/The Stooges


September 26-27, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: MC5/American Dream

October 3-4, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Mountain/Lonnie Mack

October 10-11, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: War featuring Eric Burdon/The Raven/Lee Michaels
Eric Burdon was a big star, but his collaboration with War was a new venture. Lee Michaels was shy of his first big hit as well. This was probably a terrific show, but the bands were not major acts at the time.

October 17-18, 1969 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Aum/Elvin Bishop
Aum and Elvin Bishop were both managed by Bill Graham's organization, and they both had new debut albums.

October 19, 1969 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: The Who/American Dream
There were two shows at 4 and 8 pm, where The Who memorably played all of Tommy. The Who had probably been booked prior to the album, which broke The Who into another level of stardom. The band would not play venues this small again.

October 24-25, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: The Byrds/Litter/Elizabeth/P.I.L.T


October 26, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Benefit For Burned War Children


November 7-8, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Lee Michaels/The Flock


November 14-15, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Joe Cocker/Holy Modal Rounders


November 21-22, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Youngbloods/Rockin' Foo

November 21, 1969 The Palestra, U. Penn, Philadelphia, PA: Jefferson Airplane/Lighthouse/Sweet Stavin Chain
The Palestra was Penn's basketball arena. I'm not sure whether Electric Factory promoted this event, but I thought I would include it for completeness.

November 25, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Rolling Stones/B.B. King/Ike & Tina Turner/Terry Reid
The Fall '69 Rolling Stones tour eclipsed the Summer's Blind Faith tour as the biggest rock event so far. This was near the end of the tour (Altamont was only 11 days away).

November 28-29, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: The Sons/Jacobs Creek

November 30, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Jethro Tull/The Sons
This date is from the Jethro Tull list.  If this is accurate, Tull would have been opening for someone else, as they were not yet at the level of Spectrum headliners.

December 5, 1969 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA: Chambers Brothers/The Kinks/Spirit/American Dream
The Kinks, having settled their issues with the American Musicians Union (Ray Davies had punched someone important in the face in Los Angeles in 1965), had begun to join their peers in touring across America.

December 7, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA “Benefit For Help”
Elizabeth/Stone Dawn/High Treason/Stock Yard/Sweet Stavin Chain/Hard Road/Edison Electric/The Max/Maholo Reigns/American Dream  (Sunday afternoon show)
I'm not sure whether this concert benefited the Electric Factory itself or some other cause. All of the groups were local Philadelphia bands who had probably played the Electric Factory many times.

December 12-13, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Edison Electric Band/Sweet Stavin Chain/Max

December 26, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Cold Blood/American Dream/Pookah
December 27, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Grand Funk Railroad/American Dream/Pookah

December 31, 1969: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA: Lighthouse/Catfish/Elizabeth

Although my concert list is not entirely complete, the general trend makes it clear that the rock market had outgrown the Electric Factory venue. In fact, 2201 Arch Street would remain open through November 1970, but Electric Factory promotions increasingly moved to the larger Spectrum. Even when the Arch Street facility closed down, Electric Factory promotions remained active in the Philadelphia area. Electric Factory was far and away the biggest promoter in Philadelphia through the 1990s, when it was ultimately merged with larger corporate interests.

35 comments:

  1. Corry,

    As I already said in my comment on your "Sons Of Champlin Performance List" (and you correct this after my comment) the band never played at the Electric Factory on November 28-29, 1969 with Jethro Tull, because the latter played in that same two days at The Riviera Theater in Detroit with Chicago Transit Authority. The only show that Jethro Tull and SOC played together in Philadelphia was on November 30, 1969 at The Spectrum.

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  2. Thanks Bruno. Was someone else on the bill besides Tull and The Sons?

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  4. Missed gigs:

    July 19, 1969: Tom Rush

    July 23,1969: Crazy World of Arthur Brown / Sweet Stavin' Chain

    July 25-26, 1969: Sweet Stavin' Chain / Aum

    July 29, 1969: Dr. John The Night Tripper

    July 30, 1969: Lothar and The Hand People

    September 3, 1969: Incredible String Band

    September 5-6, 1969: Spooky Tooth / Chicago Transit Authority

    September 12-13, 1969: Junior Wells / Mandrake Memorial

    September 19-20, 1969: Buddy Miles Express / The Stooges

    September 26-27, 1969: MC5 / American Dream

    October 3-4, 1969: Mountain / Lonnie Mack

    October 24-25, 1969: Byrds / Litter / Elizabeth / P.I.L.T.

    October 26, 1969: Benefit for War Burned Children

    November 7-8, 1969: Lee Michaels / The Flock

    November 14-15, 1969: Joe Cocker / Holy Modal Rounders

    November 21–22, 1969: Youngbloods / Rockin’ Foo

    November 23, 1969: Incredible String Band

    November 28-29, 1969: Jacobs Creek / The Sons

    December 12-13, 1969: Edison Electric Band / Sweet Stavin’ Chain / Max

    December 26, 1969: Cold Blood / American Dream / Pookah

    December 27, 1969: Grand Funk Railroad / American Dream / Pookah

    December 31, 1969: Lighthouse / Catfish / Elizabeth

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  5. Re: September 9-11, 1969 Tyrannosaurus Rex
    .....also on the bill: Chris Smither

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  6. Bruno, thanks for this fantastic research! It's going to take me a little while to get it onto the site.

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  7. I recorded a Johnny Winter/Seals and Croft concert there sometime in 1970-71 I think. Was it still open then or does my memory fail me?

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    1. I was at that one. It was Johnny Winter AND. They gave out free LPs to the first so many in the door. The LP was released September 1970. So it was just after that.

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  8. I haven't done the final chapter of this series. but the Electric Factory was open through most of 1970. Johnny Winter And headlined the Electric Factory on October 30-31, 1970, shortly before it closed.

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  9. Hey if you are going to use my "Atlantic City Pop" poster with out permission. I would like a credit."From the collection of Ed Galm" with a link to my email egalm@comcast.net.

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  10. Ed, I had no idea you were out there. I put in the credit--I'm happy to take the scan down if you want.

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  11. I saw the James Cotton Blues Band there. I think Elizabeth, amd possibly the Amboy Dukes opened for them. Don't remember exactly when, probably in 1970.
    Also, the first time the Allman Bros. played there, I remember actually going to see another band (can't remember which). After the opening band played, someone came out and said that the band couldn't make it, but that they were able to get another band, who had just played New York, to substitute. It was the Allman Bros., who no one seemed to have heard of at that time. They played basically the same set as the Fillmore East album.

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  13. @Jack G

    The dates of James Cotton Blues Band, Amboy Dukes and Elizabeth shows at the Electric Factory were: September 27-28, 1968

    Allman Brothers Band played at the Electric Factory on January 9-10, 1970, filling for The Blues Project. The opening band was Stockyard

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  14. Thanks to a research made by my friend Greg Vick, a great rock historian, we finally known that the Jethro Tull and The Sons show on November 30, 1969 was not held at The Spectrum (as every JT shows list wrongly said) but actually at the Electric Factory. Another mystery solved!!

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  15. I have a handbill given out at the Festival (same one you pictured)on which I noted the Byrds and Tim Buckley flipped their times. Janis Joplin did not perform at 4:50 (crossed out). I do not remember Johnny Winter sitting in with Janis Joplin. I seem to remember Janis introducing them as the Full Tilt Boogie Band, although that does not square with Wikipedia. The one performer that surprised me the most was Little Richard who closed the show. By the end of his set he was dancing on the piano and the whole crowd was boogieing in the aisles.

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  16. MGA, thanks for the eyewitness account. I suspect that Janis called her group "a" full tilt boogie band" at the time. By 1970, with some personnel changes, they had become "The" Full Tilt Boogie Band.

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  17. Wow, am I glad I came across this discussion. Not that I have any programs or ticket stubs or anything, just hazy-- wonderful--memories. I attended lots of shows from '68 to '71 (were they still open in '71; most bands had moved "up" to the Spectrum, Civic Center, etc). Also, let me know if you're focused just on late '69. What I'm hoping is that my spotty memories might spark your spotty memories--and Hey, we might just remember enough to... well, anyway... Some of my favorite Factory production moments: The original Fleetwood Mac opening for Pink Floyd at the Factory. When the Mac was done, some guy we thought that might have been a roadie stepped up, plugged in his guitar, and played blues riffs that totally put the Mac to shame. It was David Gilmour. Another fantastic show was The Small Faces where they did several encores--including a glorious It's All Over Now. Rod still hadn't dyed his hair. The Kinks once played, I think, every single song they ever knew—and the last song was as energetic as the first. I remember sitting on the Spectrum floor enjoying Little Richard opening for the Stones. The Stones, all full of themselves, started late and played about 45 minutes. Instead of calling them back out for an encore, we demanded Little Richard come back. He who looked so happy, he was magnificent. How about the Spectrum crowd booing another lousy performance of Chicken Shack (that's not exactly what we called them), before Rod Stewart came out--and, as I recall, a spinning woman dangled from a line in the ceiling. Or, remember when Seatrain opened for The Youngbloods, at the Spectrum, and Richie Havens was the headliner just after the Woodstock movie came out. The idiots in the place derided the Youngbloods and someone threw something and hit one of the guitars. By the time Richie came on, there was like a polarity happening. I was on the floor and people were chanting for peace and actually crying, while the jerks in the balcony were angry and wouldn't stop bothering Richie until he played Freedom. Years later, I actually spoke to both the Youngbloods and Richie Havens about that show, and they both remember it. Or how about Seatrain at Belmont opening the first Earth Day, or Big John Hodge with Catfish jumping up and down on the Belmont platform and the amps all rockin', or Doctor John in full Nightripper Regalia hypnotizing the whole Spectrum audience, or even the Nazz rockin' the Factory on a Sunday afternoon. And was that Joshua Light Show, or am I thinking of the Fillmore? Anyway...Good, GOOD Times. Or hey, how about Edison Electric, Hot Tuna, and It's A Beautiful Day at the Academy of Music?

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  18. What was the date that Steppenwolf played The electric factory on Arch Street, and who else was on the bill. Reply migoncat@gmail.com

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  19. It is all covered in the first part of the Blog Sea Jay:
    tinyurl.com/6u2npl7

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  23. The Electric Factory could not have been shut down by the Philadelphia Police at the time of the Arthur Brown Concert, July 23 1969, because I was at that concert. I can spin back to it in time just listening to some of the some of the vid's from the late '60's on YouTube. Even made my own outfit for the occasion. Never a big follower of rock in the large, Arthur Brown left an impression. Yes, the Factory was open then.

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  24. This blog has a wealth of information that I've been searching for quite awhile now. Thanks for creating this.

    I remember coming home on leave from the service either early 1967 - 1968 or mid 1969 and seeing Elton John along with The Ultimate Spinach. Perhaps you could confirm the dates they were there at the Electric Factory? I would appreciate that. Thanks again.

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  26. @usaveteran

    Elton John played at the Electric Factory on September 11-12, 1970 (with Lighouse, American Dream) and on November 6-7, 1970 (with Mother Earth).

    Ultimate Spinach played at the Electric Factory on March 5-7, 1968.

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  27. At the Chicago Transit Authority's concert they announced that they had just finished cutting their 2nd Album the day before in NYC.

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  28. At the Chicago Transit Authority's concert they announced that they had just finished cutting their 2nd Album the day before in NYC.
    On another note, I do not see any mention of Derek and The Domino's performing at the Electric Factory. My wife (then girlfriend) and I sat in the front row, not more than 10 feet from Eric Clapton. I know that had to be some time after February 1970 (after our 1st date).

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  29. @Steve Hacker

    Thanks to share with us your memories of the good old rock and roll days! BTW, you do not see any mention of Derek and The Dominos' show at the Electric Factory here, only because this post was only about the show that happened in 1969, while the Dominos show was on October 16-17, 1970.

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  30. Great Electric Factory memories of seeing, Arthur Brown, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and Elton John in his bright yellow coveralls jumping up on his piano and playing from above, while never missing a note. Watched Jethro Tull on a Sunday afternoon there playing to a less than half full house. Ian Anderson put on a show that was fantastic, you would have thought the place was packed to SRO. Pink Floyd's surround sound system was a little unnerving when they produced the sound of a motorcycle touring around the inside of the Factory at top speed.

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  31. I remember seeing Santana at the Factory, march (9th?) '70. Ten Wheel Drive opened, can't remember the group before them. Also in summer of '68 Pink Floyd played Fairmont Park. Can't remember dates clearly...some of the names you brought up bring back a lot of memories! In the summer of '70 there was a weekend festival in Doylestown - Illusion/American Dream/Granny...just to name a few bands. It was organized by Scott Tutt, who now lives in Nashville. AFAIK he's still in the music industry. His dad was police chief of Doylestown back then, kinda funny when you consider what went on at music festivals then!

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  32. Forgot to mention, The Amboy Dukes played my high school, Central Bucks West, in the spring of '70. They'd just released Marriage on the Rocks, Rock Bottom. Since Doylestown is so close to Philly, thought this might pertain. I believe Scott Tutt organized this as well. That spring we had a moratorium at the Bucks Cty Courthouse. American Dream, as well as several local bands played.

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  33. I'm certain I saw Big Brother open for Steppenwolf at the Factory in the late sixties, before Big Brother was well known enough to headline.

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