BANDS listed on the poster Child, Gabriel, Good Clean Fun, Big Brother, Barry Melton & The Fish, Joy of Cooking, Music Projection Quartet, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, Kwane and the Kwan-Ditos, O.K. Rhythem Kings, Smith Bros., Wayne Silversonics, Boz Scaggs, A.B. Skye, Beggars Opera, Mike Atwood, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, Aum, Red Bone, Luther Allison, Crystal Axe, 31st Street Blues Band, S.F. Mime Troupe, S.F. Mime Troupe Rock Band, Dry Creek Road, Rhythem Dukes, One Hand Clapping, Snail, Factory, Peece, Bluebird, Cannon Ball, Jeff Jaisun, Grizzly, Corky Segal's Happy Ear Band, High Voltage, and many more. Light Shows: Retena Circus, Doctor Zarkov
IMPRESSIONS FROM SKY RIVER
UNDER CONSTRUCTION last update 2/8/07
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-Sky River changes at night. The dust and glare and sweat of day are gone or at least hidden by darkness. And only the smells and sounds of thousands of turned on people remain. The hills rising up around the stage form a bowl, and at night the bowl is a sea of yellow campfires. Smoke from the fires drifts across the glen, clouding around the stage spotlights and settling over the people listening to acid rock. The smoke mingles with the aroma of marijuana and hashish and wine, giving the night an erotic taint. Multitudes of bodies lie on the ground, huddled in blankets or sitting on chairs. Others wander about, hawking drugs, begging for spare change, or just looking. Most of the crowd is tripping on some kind of drug, or at least drinking wine. Many of them are happy and boisterous, many of them are sedate and dreamy. Floating through the darkness, under the music, come words like "spaced out" and "stoned" and "far out." Some people just lie on their backs facing the stars and say "wow", over and over. The music is hard rock, with a driving beat and a strong organ and guitar rhythym. The sound blasts out over the crowd and carries through the dark outlines of the firs around the glen. In the crowd, couples under blankets make love to the beat of the bass drum. A spirit of optimism, of peace, of togetherness can be sensed among the throngs. During lulls in the music a shout will go up in a far corner of the crowd. Another voice will take it up, then another, until everyone there, men and women and children, has joined the howling, screaming shout of joy or pain. And from a distance, it makes an eerie spectacle. The campfires, the outlines of tents, and that howl coming from thousands of throats, makes it seem almost as if some primitive, savage nation has sprung up two miles north of Washougal. - RICK, Vancouver
-We drove up to the festival and parked my car in a ditch and just left it there and walked into the site. I was 24 years old and I had just gone through a breakup with my wife and so I took any drug that was given to me. Mostly acid and Mescaline. My friends were making bets on how long I would survive. I took off my clothes and went naked most of the first weekend while it was hot. We swam in the river to keep cooled off during the days and partied to the music at night. I don't know where my clothes went but I had some spare clothing in the trunk of my car. It was great that first weekend but when the rain started we left for home. - JACK, Camas
-A rock festival at 4 o'clock in the morning is an interesting world. To get into the site at that time in the morning you don't have to fight the massive traffic jams that have, at times, plagued festival visitors. As you enter the site you wonder how the people can stand to stay on the property since it's been raining for two days, and you have to slip and slide in the mud to get to the camping area, the stage, and concession stand booths.The first visit is to the stage- and you're awed by the size and beauty of the platform. No wonder it took so long to build. It's excellently constructed. The stage itself is a large platform with five or six microphones here and there. It is covered by a huge plastic tarp to keep the rain from trickling in on the performers. Immediately behind the stage is a huge screen used for light shows while musical groups are playing. And, even though no music is playing at 4 a.m., you can imagine how impressive a show it must be. Two huge towers rise to the left and right of the stage and there are two more in back of the screen. The two to the side are used for spotlights and have massive speakers pointing toward the camping area. You can only imagine how loud and ear shattering it could be. The two towers in back hold up the screen. The slide area for the light shows is about 35 feet in front of the stage and it, too, is well covered by plastic to protect it from the rain. Additional spotlights are also found in this area. A large group of people- about 50 - are assembled at the base of the stage clapping their hands and chanting to music. You try to make out what instuments are being played and you can detect a flute and a harmonica. You know there's something else but can't tell what it is. Most people are walking or dancing around to the music. Some are beating tin pans together to the beat of the music. You are impressed by their loneliness. A girl with no coat on dancing to the music wanders up and says, " Do you love me, brother?" You're now depressed with the loneliness. A trip up into the camping area proves interesting. Some people are in tents while others are camped in the open. Some are sleeping, but many are awake, standing around campfires. You walk by a crackling fire where a group of people are standing around. No one is talking; they just seem to have assembled around somebody's fire. Some people have their cars parked in the area with plastic tarps off to the side. They're sleeping there. A large fire sends a sweet smelling smoke into the air and you're attracted by the sound of drums to the fire site. The warmth feels good. About 50 people are sitting around the large fire pit while two Negroes play bongo type drums. You glance at their faces and your first impression is that they're high on drugs. As you look closer you begin to believe you're wrong. They're lonely faces and you figure that the only reason they're around this fire is because they have nowhere to go. No one speaks. the only words come from a man behind the drummers. "You gotta love everybody," he shouts. "You gotta love your brother; you gotta love your sisters. Everybody gotta have love. There's a new day comin'." As you walk back toward the stage area, somewhat disenchanted, a man walks by and questions, "Lids?" Your first opportunity to buy marijuana and you turn it down. Back at the stage area you're surprised to see that the number of people has increased. There must have been at least 125 now and some start pounding on the wall by the stage. As your attention is attracted, you see a sign painted on the wall that reads, "The spirit of Angela Davis is alive at Sky River." You hope not. You decide to leave. Your exit path takes you by the concession area. At that time in the morning most of the booths are closed. Some, however are still open. You notice coffee, hot dogs, wine, and many soft drinks. You see lots of signs for drugs, but most of those booths are closed. As you near the end of the concession area, which reminds you of the midway at a carnival or fair, a man cries out, "Does anyone have any spare dope?" It's more of a plea than a question. Someone else cries out, "Who has the lids? I want to buy a lid. Where are the pushers?" As you slosh up the hill through the mud and back to the parking lot, you have lots to think about. You wonder why people are there. You wonder what they're searching for. You wonder, too, how they can live in that environment. They're questions that probably will never be answered, but somehow you feel somewhat richer for the experience. The thing that really eats at your insides is the loneliness. That'll bother you for the rest of your life. You know the're lonely, but they're still there. -LYNN,Washougal
-Owners of cabins and homes along the Washougal River near the Sky River Rock Festival are in a state of shock. The quiet and peaceful stream they once knew has been transformed into a sea of naked bodies, and the far shore, according to nearby residents, is little less than a rampant orgy. "I'd like to see the truth about these rock festivals get out," one home owner said. "I'd like the people to be able to see what goes on, like we can see it here. They should see the mass nudity, the fornication on the beach, the drugs, the pollution of the river. If they laid on the beach next to your place think how you would feel. I don't care what they do up in the bushes. But, my God, right out there 20 feet from my picture window?" he said. The river was especially crowded over the weekend, when the Sky River population was at its peak. There was reportedly as many as a thousand bathers at a time in the river, stretching along a half mile section near the entrance of the Little Washougal. "We could'nt even see the rocks out there for the bodies," another resident said. "I've chased at least 100 off my back yard, and they go peacefully enough, but five minutes later they're back. If this keeps up we will have to call the Sheriff." The Clark County Sheriff's office has deputies stationed near the homes around the clock but the deputies gave up trying to keep people off the west shore Saturday when the floods of people began. "For the first few days, the deputies could at least keep them in the river and on the far shore," one resident said. "But about Friday they had to give up. Chief Deputy Cotton told us to keep cool, and maybe if we let them use the river, they'd keep cool too." Some of the sights the residents relate are bizarre. One incident was related to the drowning of a festival swimmer Sunday. "You won't believe this," a lady resident said. "But when divers were pulling out the body, a couple was standing about five feet away watching and had complete intercourse at the same time." "I've always considered myself fairly liberal," the first resident said. "But this thing is going too far. The things I've seen, and with little children there, are just plain perversion." The people living along the river are also worried about pollution. "They take baths, they wash their clothes, they do everything right there in the river," the same man said, "You could not pay me to swim in there now." Dr. Donald Champaign, district health officer for the southwest Wasington Health District, said water samples from the area were taken Monday, and that tests were being made. He said if the bacteria count is high, there could be a threat of hepatitis or typhoid. "We knew there was already some contamination in the river from animals further up, and didn't recommend the people swim in the river, "Champaign said. "We recommended that they take baths, but not to use soap so fish and wildlife are not killed." The property where most of the swimming goes on is not included in the 160 acres of the festival site. The land along the river is privately owned. "The owner tried to keep them off at first," a resident said. "He came down several times and kicked everybody off, but they kept coming back. Finally he just said go ahead , use it if you want to." As the man spoke, a festival attender waded across the river with a fishing pole in his hand. "Where's a good place to fish along here?" he asked. The resident looked incredulous and shook his head. "If I were you, I'd get as far away from here as I could," he said. "Go upstream five or ten miles, and maybe you'll have a chance. The fish are smart enough not to come around here." - RICK, Vancouver
-Impressions: Good security in assuring that people pay admission, with ample opportunities to buy tickets before arriving at site. Five checkers asked to see our credentials and tickets. Dusty road, dusty cars, lack of space to park were slight aggravations. Most people heading for the festival are typically long-haired, and carrying a jug of wine. Tents are scattered throughout the area. Food booths, like a carnival, are lined up along one side, and there is a carnival, circus air to the setting. Anyone will trade with anyone else, and two people unabashedly begged for pennies as people walked in. Others traded a sip of beer for a smoke. Marijuana was smoked in groups. Signs advertised mescaline, beer, wine, and food, as well as loincloths. At 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, crews were still working on the stage, and attempting to get the loudspeaker system running smoothly. The greatest number of people were assembled around the front of the stage, some singing. Swimming down at the river is just that- down- way down. We didn't go that far. Nudes? Yes, we saw a few, but not many- say about six? Probably many more at the river. Local people? Yes, we saw about a dozen people we could identify by face. Several, like us, were trying to determine what a festival is all about. Faces of many were blank, not expressing anything. Others were bleary-eyed, serious, or poker-type, not many with happy or gay expressions. With thousands of people milling around idly, lying on the ground, rubbing each other's back, sleeping, there were few workers trying to complete the stage or other facilities. 'Cycles started arriving as we did. Jack Ryan, former classmate at UW, now covering rock festivals for the Seattle P-I, said they are a status symbol. Jack worked in Alaska about the same time as Stan Borjesson. We picked him up on the way to the festival. He had been out to get something to drink. Jack covered Tenino and Eatonville, and said the backers and organizers usually meet their commitments. He said Eatonville wasn't much of a festival. He anticipates the Sky River affair will reach its goal. The real "behind the scenes" people never come near the festival. They could be arrested, usually for contempt of court. He observed that, in most instances, the people in charge are trying to comply with the rules. That is, those rules that are in the new ordinance, but not those dealing with drugs, booze, etc. Unanswered questions: Who pays the sales tax to the state for the things sold here? How about the admission tax? - HAL, Camas
-We braved the weather conditions on Sunday evening and paid a visit to the site to see what it was like when the acid music rolled from the big stage and mammoth speakers. We had little trouble getting into the music and concession area as the well-beaten roads leading in and out of the festival were fairly solid, in contrast to the gooey mess when we visited in the wee hours on Sunday morning. The music blared from the big speakers as a group named "Good Clean Fun" blasted out a heavy sound. In the background, an impressive light show provided a somewhat fitting backdrop as the group cranked out its "acid" music. "Got any spare change?" a young man questioned as we worked our way toward the stage area. Several hundred people were gathered around the stage listening to the heavy sounds of "Good Clean Fun." They all seemed to be in their own private worlds. A heavy set man in a long army surplus coat and big boots swayed back and forth to the beat of the music. Others, too, are caught up in the driving beat and rhythm and swing their arms or bend their knees to the beat. We moved away from the stage into the tent area and found some relatively dry ground to sit and watch the light show. You're somewhat taken by the tents as you turn and look to see how far they go. They extend as far as the eye can see in the darkness as they snake up the slope into a wooded area to the top. "Last week the tents weren't this close to the stage," someone tells you. Here and there a scattered campfire crackles and people gather around them. Somehow you realize how it must have been to be with Sherman during the Civil War. Was it like this, you ask yourself. You move farther up the hill to watch the light show and listen to the music. Off to the right a girl is dancing. She's engulfed with the music and begins to lose herself to the beat. The next time you look she's stripped to the waist. A little cold for that sort of thing, you think, then the realization that she's probably high on drugs takes over. You look back a few minutes later and she's completely naked, her body writhing to the music and her arms waving in the air. A group of people gather around her and lock their hands and begin dancing a circle around "the girl that's way out." They dance off into the darkness and you wonder if the girl will catch pneumonia from the wet ground. You move farther up the hill and find a broken bundle of hay. You sit and watch the light show and listen to a new group called "Red Bone". Needless to say they're Indians. The weather worsens and the rains come pouring down. For some reason it seems ironic that an Indian group would get on stage and start chanting and dancing and it starts raining. Indians doing a rain dance at the rock festival just doesn't seem right. "Where's Joe?" some guy asks as he stumbles by. As the pace of the rain begins to quicken a man offers his plastic tent and three of you scramble under to escape the increasing raindrops. A joint of marijuana comes by and you find yourself staring at the hand making you the offer. You ignore it and tap the guy on the shoulder sitting next to you and say, "It's for you." Later you crawl out of the tent and work your way back to the stage. You find yourself wondering if the girl who was dancing naked got her clothes back on before the rain really hit. You take one last look at "Red Bone" and while doing so a young man with no shoes on walks by. You find yourself wondering if he will get sick, too. You have to go by the concession stands to get out. Most are doing a brisk business. A man stands with a portable microphone and yells at you as you walk by, "Mescaline, Cocaine." A girl, not more than seven, with no shoes on slides in front of you in the mud. You wonder where her parents are and you wonder if she even has shoes. You pick your way through the mud and goo to the upper parking lot. A pickup truck is stuck trying to get out so you give the guy some help. "Get in," he says. "You guys will give me traction in the back." He stops three or four times and picks up other people. As you reach the main gate you're stopped by Sky River Security. "If you've got any dope," a voice said, "you better have it well stashed because the cops are checking everybody. They're busting everybody they can," the voice warns. As the pick-up begins to increase its speed you begin to think back about Sky River and what its all about. You're snapped back to reality when a Negro sitting beside you says, "You want some Sherry? Man, it's bad. It's pure rot gut." - LYNN, Washougal
-The tent was made of a black sheet of plastic draped over a pole. Inside, the floor was filled with sleeping bags and tired people. Allen shared a sleeping bag in one corner of the tent. "I think it's important that people really know what Sky River is," he said. "If they think it's just a muddy field, or a bunch of doped-up people, they're missing the whole point." Allen was leaning on his elbow as he spoke. Even in the tent, the morning dampness made the ground wet beneath his elbow. "What this really is, is the start of alternative world," he said. "It's going to be a world based on cooperation instead of competition." Allen's sleeping partner was asleep, her face buried in the warmth of the padding. Beside them lay a half-full lid of marijuana and a package of Rizla cigaret papers. "This is going to be a community here, when this is all over," he said. "It's going to be a community where people don't just talk about freedom and all them other overstuffed words, but really practice them." Allen's face, covered by a dark beard and shaggy hair, was earnest. He meant what he was saying. Lying in a sleeping bag on the ground on a misty morning, it's hard to say anything you don't really mean. "I know this sounds like idealistic kid's stuff," he said. "But it can work. I know it can. I've seen it. I've seen it in communes and houses all over the country. We want to make it work here, but on a larger scale." Allen said he is a graduate of the University of Washington. He is about 25, his hair is thinning on top, and he plans to move to Sky River permanently. "Cooperation is a hard thing for the people to learn," he said. "It's against everything they're taught, from parents and in school. All they get is compete, compete. But they can change, and if there's any place where they will, it's here at Sky River where everybody can get together." Outside the tent by the stage, an appeal was being made. "Brothers and sisters," said a voice over the loud speaker, "we need $30. We need it so we can go to town and buy food to give free to the people. This man is going down among you and we ask you to give so that we can buy food." A young man came down off the stage with a tin can in his hand. He walked through the rows of people who were listening to a harmonica player do a solo. Fifteen minutes later, he was back on stage, the can stuffed with $32.41. "Brothers and sisters, we thank you," said the announcer. By that time, Allen was back asleep in his sleeping bag. - RICK, Vancouver
-I was 16 years old and worked Stage Security with the Free Sasquatches of America. I was in charge of equipment security and got to camp in an area right behind the stage. The festival was memorable in many ways. I hitchhiked to Washougal from Seattle (getting two tickets on the way)and arrived early. When I got there I was one of probably 60 people there. We camped, partied and had good fun while working on the stage and large quantities of controlled substances. I remember watching a stoned biker lose control of his Harley and drive through a tent (luckily it was empty) early in the morning after my first night there. I remember a herd of cows walking through the pasture that we were camped in. What a trip! The highlight came on Sunday when I got to perform with the "Steaming Noogies Jug Band" as the first band of the morning, with a rousing rendition of "Long Tall Texan", and some wild blues jams. Later I was able to work as one of the "heads" of Stage Security at Satsop, getting to be onstage for almost the entire Festival, but that is another story... NORM
-I was 16 and hitchhiking through the Northwest during the summer of 1970. I hitched a ride out of Portland. The driver was recruiting help for his concession stand at the festival. He got us in for free. Our job was to sell Gatorade to the masses. It was pretty hilarious trying to sell a sports drink to people looking to get high. It was a great experience that I have cherished ever since. -MARK
-I was a little runaway chick from Reno and I was staying in Tacoma-crashing on peoples floors etc. in 1970 after having been stranded in the town on my way hitchhiking to Vancouver B.C. I don't recall how I heard about the festival, but a woman friend and I hitched there and got there early and sneaked in during the night.I remember a brief image of us being marched off the Buffalo site a couple of months before. We set up a little camp and when we woke up in the morning found that we'd camped right in the center of where the bikers were. We moved. I was there for 13 days.I remember laughing at the notion of workshops. From there it's pretty much a drug-addled blur. Drugs,sex,music. No workshops. But I do remember seeing these strange colorful characters- a woman in a vintage see-through dress, men in vibrant colors, with glitter in their beards. It was a group called Ze Whiz Kidz and it was their "debut", actually. I missed their "show"- apparently it was a stunning debacle which ended in the aforementioned bikers, crazed and on acid, trying to get on stage to kill them after being squirted with whipped creme coming out of a hole in a paper mache phallus. And it speaks volumes about me, but that is what resonated with me at SRIII- I saw these wild creatures and imprinted like a baby chicken. I followed them to Seattle and infiltrated, where I dropped my hippie moniker of Cheshire (because I took a lot of acid and smiled a LOT)and became Cha Cha Samoa.I don't know if you remember the Whiz Kidz- our reign was from 70-74, along with our sister group in San Francisco, The Cockettes. Since, I have had lots of musical projects, to varying degrees of success. I am also a painter. I am mounting a one-woman show later in the year (2003)with the Annex Theater, touching upon my checkered past. As I've been known to say, when I left Sky River, I had dysentery, pneumonia,clap,crabs and a glmpse of my destiny. -CHA CHA SAMOA
-Sky River III was a watershed event of my life. I arrived early without bucks on Wednesday, August 26th, and ended up working security and traffic control at the main gate. I didn't leave until the Tuesday after Labor Day. I started out parking cars, and then as the festival went on, I moved up the ranks of main gate security, working for Milt Wright, Bruce Cameron and Ed Miller. The attrition in festival staff was quite heavy and towards the end I ran the main gate for a couple of days (before the bikers took over security). Sky River III was a beautiful mess- anarchy at its finest hour. Amazingly enough, it all held together and everything worked, despite the anarchism. After the bikers took over security at the main gate I hung out mostly on stage. One of my fondest memories is from the last day: one of the vendors was giving away a U-Haul truck load of wine -free. Everyone was taking away arm-loads of the stuff. I got my 5-6 bottles of wine and went back up on stage. I think Flash Caddillac or someone was playing. I sat there with my friends, drinking my wine and rolled a 27 paper joint with the remains of the main gate stash. We smoked the joint as we watched the band and eventually passed the joint down into the surging crowd dancing below us. I left the next day. Through the next year I worked with the Sky River IV / Sasquatch Family (Jack Grimes, Ed Goehring, et al) people. We put on a few concerts and fund raisers. It's a crying shame we couldn't put the festival together. I worked security at Satsop and had the pleasure of escorting Gary Friedman off the property not long after he'd been smacked in the face by a wine bottle. Satsop was a real fucking downer.- MIKE, Tacoma
-I was a 2 month old baby at the event. My mother at the time wanted to shield me from the rain and found a lady in a tent that let me sleep there while she slept under a tree. When she woke up the tent and I were gone. She looked frantically everywhere and couldn't find me. Authorities weren't any help either. After a few days, she gave up herself and hitchhiked to California. My grandmother came down from Spokane with a lawyer to track me down. It took three weeks but they finally found me in Oregon. The people said that they found me in the middle of a field. I wouldn't be the man I am today if this even wouldn't have happened, it was a total blessing to all.- CHIP
-It would be my pleasure to tell you some of what I remember about festival. I was 15 years old and was living on my own, getting in trouble and looking for fun. My parents had divorced when I was 10 and I was abandoned. It's taken a long time to recover from that. Anyway, I was running around with a few friends and we heard about the festival on the radio in Federal Way. They announced that a mass migration was expected to the festival. We decided on the spot to go. So, we gathered what little money we had and took off. Not long after we started it began to rain and it continued raining somewhat steadily for a couple of days at least. When we arrived we were allowed to drive onto the farm property at no charge and park. The drive to the gate brought many very interesting hippie type people into our company who were all calm and easy going. I never once heard a raised voice or saw anyone get angry the whole time we were there. At the gate we met a biker looking fellow who was drinking from a wine bottle that had a lot of cloudy substance in the bottom of the bottle. He offered me a drink which I took a long swig of after he shook it. I asked him what the cloudy stuff was and he said "Mescaline." Due to this I lost contact with my friends and started drifting about. I saw a few instances of open sex which was somewhat interesting, but at 15 I wasn't highly interested in that (yet) so I didn't seek any opportunities with some of the females who were obviously willing. I was very interested in smoking some pot and so I looked around for an area where people were smoking. Soon, I came upon a round pit that had a log leaning down into it, in the middle was a fire and people were standing in a circle and sitting here and there in the wet grass and mud. It was probably 3 am and dark and I just picked a place to stand. Joints were being passed and whenever one came my way I took my share. Eventually the pot stopped flowing and people meandered off. I stayed there mainly because it was warm. After the pit was almost empty a fellow standing near me asked if anyone knew how to roll. I told him I did and he handed me a baggy and some papers. It was great because I would roll joints, he would light them and I would get the second toke. I was pretty pleased with that. What I really was hoping was that I would get to hear the band "The Youngbloods" I loved their songs Darkness, Darkness and etc. and so when they finally hit the stage I was pretty awed. They played all their hits, naturally, and that made a pretty deep impression on me wanting to write songs. I played a little guitar and had written some poetry so I pretty much decided then that I would do that. And I have written a little over 250 songs and of course none of them are famous but I like them. There was a lot of slipping and sliding in the mud and it wasn't good to sit down anywhere that wasn't near a fire or in a tent and I didn't have a tent so for the rest of that day I just meandered around and talked to people. Some of the people were odd and some of them were unbelievably cool. The stage they had there was a pretty nice one and every once in a while somebody would get up there and talk to the crowd and ask them to do this or that, or warn them about something or just make some kind of statement about how cool the festival was and how much everyone was enjoying it. And even though the conditions actually sucked the place was extremely calm and I thought it was quite fun.-CRAIG
Coming up to the entrance we were already extremely excited by the thought of thousands of like-minded people being gathered in this powerful setting in the hills near Washougal.
Walking to the main site, we felt as if we were on cloud nine. The festival (we were there almost the entire 11 days) did not disappoint at all. On the contrary, it was a beautiful happening from start to finish. We didn't see the (short-lived) rain as any particular hindrance either, but just a natural event the we flowed with. Its not like it as a total washout by any stretch of the imagination.
We visited the "concession" booths often with their always lovely psychotropic wares. They didn't have smoke, but when our main man John the Baptist showed up with those dime bags (large) of the brown Mexican smoke that was cool. We got our share of those from this wonderful fellow.
As always, the most important thing that is obtained from such gatherings is/was the fellowship in being amongst like-minded people whose main objective in life was to make a better world. That was a powerful and real feeling that existed. I for one never bought the saying from some that the feelings and dreams never worked or failed. I say bullshit to that because to me the legacy of that time and those feelings by practically an entire generation cannot be so easily dismissed as that. I fully believe that that time affects this time completely. It's why the music is still so out front in many peoples' consciousness; it's why so many young people correctly observe that those times are still reverberating. Being a fully nationwide (as well as worldwide) consciousness then is why the feelings and hopes and dreams of all of us many millions did not die out or fail in any way. Any failure to carry it on with the same acute and incalculable strength that it once had had more to do with establishment assholes who couldn't possibly admit that it was a better way (also, assholes like Manson and his robots didn't help either), than it did from all of us who knew of its power and beauty. Many decisions that many politicians made then, and since then, have served to make the world a worse place as time has went by. They are the reason things didn't work out as envisioned by so many millions. Immoral, unprincipled politicians are the answer to what has happened. I believe that many of them will pay someday in a karmic leveling out of all things important.
Sky River III represented a culture that, had they had their way, would have long ago made this country into a place that we all could be proud of, instead of the kind of place that bought and paid for politicians have created.
Long live SR III and all of the other rock festivals and gatherings and happenings that we attended and thereby positively, and for all time, affected the world with. ----Craig
We drove up from Berkeley in the oldest VW around. There were four of us guys, so you can imagine the great time we made especially up those steep grades in Oregon. We arrived after dark on the second day and stayed until it was over. We stumbled out into the middle of the field and plopped down. We only had sleeping bags, no tent. One of us would stay at 'base camp' while the others roamed the site. There was Mike and Jeff, my roommates, and 'Country', a draft dodger who lived on the streets panhandling. Mike played harmonica and he was great, besides he was tall, blonde and good looking, so he was a chick magnet.
Of all the bands that played, it was the Youngbloods that set the place on fire. Not just the music, but also their defiance - for all the bands were under injunction not to play, but they played anyway and more than once. Along the left side of the field facing the stage were a number of shacks where you could get food and services. The medical services seemed pretty good and heat was a big problem at first. There was also a drug lab which tested pills being sold and warned you about dangerous ones. They had a 'pill board' with samples and analysis and blue ribbons, and the MC would announce, "Anyone selling anything, please drop off a sample for analysis at the Drug Lab."
There was child care too. I remember an announcement being made, "We need some volunteers at the child care center...", so I went. No questions asked, they just put you to work. Pretty soon I noticed that all the other adults who had been working in the center were gone. See, the person in charge was the one who had been there the longest, and that was me. So I had an announcement made and when a few new volunteers showed up, I split.
There were narcs running around the last few days taking pics. They were pretty obvious, you could see the outline of their weapons in their pants, and heck, they just didn't fit in. A crowd gathered behind two of them chanting, "pig, pig" - and finally they fled for the fence with dirt clods sailing over their heads. I didn't throw anything, but I'd been chanting - so I was a little worried they'd be waiting for us at the gate. Aha, I thought, I'll change my appearance, I'll shave my moustache! Only I didn't have a razor with me. Neither did any of my posse. So like a confused Diogenes, I set out into the crowd asking for a razor. I got some very strange looks even though I was making appropriate 'shaving gestures' to differentiate me from a garden variety slasher.
Finally, I tapped a guy on the shoulder, and lo and behold, I knew him from back home in Oklahoma. And he not only had a razor, he had a Winnebago and was headed to Berkeley. So I shaved with a sink and mirror, slid past the cops at the gate and rode home in style. - Bezerkly Bob
Hi Michael, These pics are from the Washougal site. This was my first experience at a rock festival .
It was a first in many ways for me. I was 22 at the time, and admittedly not very worldly or informed as to the ways of life and living. I had some very good friends who had been to every Sky River since Betty Nelson's farm, and they were hell bent to break me out of my cloistered shell of a life.
Cars, racing, and photography were the focus of my life up to that point, I used to go to Laguna Seca to attend the Can Am races during the 70's. My friends were originally from California and were very involved in the racing scene there. They moved to Seattle 1968, and I got to know them a year later. They left cars and racing behind and embraced the counter culture of the 60's and early 70's. I guess they saw some glimmer of hope inside of me and were not going to give up on me.
The descriptions and stories from the Betty Nelson's and Tenino intrigued me and I agreed to take the foray to Washougal with them.
We set up a camp site in the woods while the stage and other facilities were still under construction. Some of the pics are from our camp site and the ones nearby that found the viewfinder of my camera. The grey beetle with the primered fenders belongs to my friend John, who at the time was an art student at the UW. He had marched down the freeway in the Federal Courthouse demonstration in 1970, and was involved in a lot of the student unrest that was so prevalent during those times. One of our mutual friends was one of the only women arrested at that demonstration. She had knelt down to help a person that had been clubbed by the cops and was arrested for interfering with the police.
The pictures of the festival site are mostly from the early morning of the first official day, before the throngs of people started to arrive. The stage pictures are of the Youngbloods performance. If you recall, that during the festival, there was an announcement that the Feds were taking pictures of drug transactions to use as evidence, so I thought keeping my cameras out of site was prudent since I didn't look like a "Hippie". Having short hair and being asian, I'm sure made, me stand out from the crowd. That put a crimp on the amount of pictures that I was able to take.
Reminisces from 40 years ago, hmmmm..., sometimes it seems like just yesterday, then sometimes it seems so long ago. I remember the mellowness of the gathering, how everyone seemed to get along and help out one another, the lack of most of the rowdiness that is so rampant now. I remember U-Haul trucks would arrive filled with bread rolls that they would give away. Then on the last day of the festival, the same truck arrived filled to the roof with cheap wine that they gave away for free. I think to myself, "Who would give away a whole truck load of wine?" I look at the people handing out the bottles, and even though they wear jeans and have long hair, they just look out of place. A little too clean cut and manicured for the average "Hippie". Sometimes I think it was an attempt to turn the festival into a drunken brawl by some covert agency. I didn't work, the booze was so bad, nobody would drink it. I remember seeing almost full bottles laying all over the place, just sitting there abandoned. I don't believe it would have made a difference at all, the vibe there was just so peaceful and happy, they would just have had mellow drunks.
Sometimes I wished I had taken pictures of all those folks who were passing out the wine. It may have been interesting to see who they might have been working for. I remembered that all liquor and wine sales, and distribution are controlled by the State Liquor Control Board in Washington State. Makes one wonder....
They get the light show up and running at night, after a few false starts do to technical difficulties. It was projected onto large white panels of cloth, from a tower of scaffolding set up in front of the stage.
I ventured out in the cover of darkness to attempt to capture some of the show on film. It is impressive to see such a large display coming off successfully. I set up my tripod and take a few time exposures , when a black dude comes up behind me and says, "Hey, what are you taking pictures of? We got Feds taking pictures of people to use as evidence." I tell him I'm just shooting some shots of the light show. He says, "OK, if that's all you're doin' " and them walks on down the hill towards the stage. I took a few more pictures and then decide to retreat back to the safety of the camp site to avoid anymore confrontations.
Next to our camp site were two girls from Ohio , they had hitchhiked to the west coast and heard about the Festival when they got here. One of them had her sleeping bag stolen from their tent by some bikers that were camped nearby. She recognized her bag in their camp. I loaned her some blankets we had so she could try to keep warm at night. We shared our campfire and food with them, and got to know them better as the days passed. They didn't have a lot of stuff with them living out of backpacks. The pictures of the girl with the blond pigtails is the one who got her sleeping bag stolen. Her name was Carol. A few days later she was able to steal it back when the bikers left their camp unattended.
One night it rained so we were all gathered in our tent since it was large enough to hold all of us while we passed the time talking about stuff and passed other items around, if you know what I mean. I had never, partaken in anything before for various reasons, but that night seemed different. To paraphrase another quote, "I did inhale", and I sure got hungry later that night. Chalk up another first for Sky River.
The day to leave came and we packed up the Beetle in the morning and said our goodbyes to the girls from Ohio. They had started to walk down the hill toward the stage and concessions when we passed them in the car. I look out the window at them and wave as we passed. They waved back with gentle smiles and then Carol looks right into my eyes. Her head and eyes look down for a second and then she looks up at me again. I'll never forget that look I saw that morning. It is something that I have personally known all to well in my life. Her face is distraught and filled with a look of sadness. If I had to live that morning all over again, I think I would have jumped out of the car and experienced another first. How to hitchhike, right then and there. --- Marvin Lew
Imformation for this page gathered from The Columbian newspaper, The Camas/Washougal Post Record newspaper,personal interviews, e-mails, and personal memories.