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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sound Storm Echoes

The Grateful Dead played a legendary gig at the Sound Storm festival on Mrs. Irene York's farm near Poynette, Wisconsin on April 26, 1970. As ever, Corry is on the case, as is LIA over at Deadsources.

I have a couple of obscure followups.

First, three years after the fact, a program called "Studio None" on cable channel 4 in Madison apparently broadcast footage of the Dead and Baby Huey from the gig. The listing refers to "the 1969 Poynette Rock Festival", but I think this must be 4/26/70. Mmmm ... wonder where that tape might be? (! listing: Wisconsin State Journal, November 26, 1973, sec. 3, p. 3.)

Second, the Little Brothers of the Poor, a lay group from Milwaukee, asked the Columbia County Board for permission to host a "Festival of Christ" on the York Farm August 6-8, 1971, expressing hope that Joe Cocker and the Dead might perform. Seems unusual entertainment for a religious festival planned to include prayer and meditation, with prospective participation by evangelist Billy Graham and Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, but Jesus Freaks will Jesus Freak, I guess. (! ref: "Charity May Hold Poynette Rock Fest," Capital Times, April 24, 1971, p. 13.)

Third, Sound Storm '72 happened in August of that year. The promoter accused advertised headliners the Grateful Dead of backing out of agreement to play the Festival, which the Dead denied, with Gail Hellund telling local radio stations and newspapers that they had never accepted Don Bobo's offer to play the gig. (! ref: Cosgrove, Howard. 1972a. Rock Fair Set to Swing. Capital Times, August 3, 29; ! ref: Cosgrove, Howard. 1972b. Poynette 'Rock Fair' Falls Apart. Capital Times, August 10, 27.)


  1. Film footage! My goodness. This show just keeps getting more "lost"... I guess the TV footage went into the same dark hole of oblivion that KQED's 1970 live Dead broadcasts went.

    Interesting to hear about the later festivals, too. It's a good reminder that many of the announcements that the Dead would play this or that festival were often more promoters' hype than an actual agreement by the Dead (which in turn makes it difficult to tell how many potential Dead shows were actually "canceled").

  2. Some stuff about April 26, 1970
    This was Jerry's first appearance in Wisconsin. He has no beard and plays a '62 Gibson Les Paul SG with sticker in upper left corner.[3][4]

    Rockford's Fuse, which evolved into the better-known band Cheap Trick, also played.[1]

    It was, however, a financial disaster — during the Grateful Dead's performance someone stole the suitcase containing gate receipts.[1] There were approximately 30,000 people in attendance. It's unknown if that was each day or total tickets sold. Tickets were sold for the entire three-day festival, or just Saturday and Sunday or Sunday only. Taking an average of about $7 per person per day, the total receipts were somewhere between $210,000 and $630,000.

    "I know there was a photo of my grandfather and Jerry Garcia, both wearing Indian headdresses."[2]

    2.)^Smith Joe, Irene York's great grandson, 2013-02-05
    3.)^Wright, Tom, 2014-01-21
    4.)^Pulling, Robert, photographer, 1970-04-26


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