View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: Summer Festivals

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Summer Festivals

This summer my 14-year-old went to his first summer rock shows. The Vans Warped Tour at Fitchburg Airport and LocoBazooka at the Tweeter Center, the former Great Woods in Mansfield.

Thousands of sunburned, sweaty kids jammed into an open-air facility listening to a parade of bands.

It’s good to know that some things don’t change.

I went to a few of those festivals in years gone by.

And I watched others on TV or closed-circuit or in the theatre.

I saw the Concert for Bangladesh on warm 70’s summer night at the Nickelodeon Theatre in Hatchville, Mass.

I saw one of the legendary US Festival shows at some venue in New Hampshire. That was back when Steve Jobs looked like a weirdo geek burnout. I mean, less than he does now.

Who remembers that it was the Hooters who opened the Live Aid concerts? You like the Hooters? No, not the restaurant with the chicken wings. Anyone remember Casey Kasem’s bumpers? “Live Aid! We’re Comin’ Together!” It didn’t seem ridiculously hokey back then, though it probably should have.

I saw Albert Collins and the Icebreakers in one of his last shows at the Great Woods Bluesfest in the late 80’s. Albert was fantastic, though worn down from the lung cancer that would later kill him. It really was a chance to see a legend.

And one of the best festivals I’ve ever seen… the Great Northeast Arts and Energy Festival in the summer of 1981 at Mount Watatic in Ashby, Massachusetts. That show had David Bromberg, the McGarragle Sisters, Jimmy Tingle and Arlo Guthrie, all on an open stage at the foot of an old ski area. I drove home with a sunburn and a laid-back music buzz that lasted till Labor Day.

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