Watkins Glen Summer Jam

By | Jul 28, 2013

It was at the Watkins Glen Raceway in New York that the concert Summer Jam at Watkins Glen took place on July 28, 1973. It was attended by many who hadn’t attended the Woodstock concert and they weren’t going to miss this one.

Even though there were only 150,000 tickets sold for the event, ticket price was $10 each, like the Woodstock concert four years earlier, for many it was a free concert with an audience of over 600,000.

At the time the Guinness Book of World Records awarded the show with “Largest audience at a Pop Festival”. A Rod Stewart concert held at Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro on December 31, 1994 had an estimated 3.5 million in attendance.

The Grateful Dead (with two sets) The Band (with a 2 hour set) and the Allman Brothers Band (3 hours) were the performers. Afterward their was an hour encore Jam performed by members of each of the three bands.

Like Woodstock, the event was peaceful and was held up briefly when a thunderstorm came through. The major tragedy was the death of skydiver Willard Smith. His body suit was ignited by the flares he was carrying engulfing him in flames. He was a member of a skydiving team and most in the audience didn’t even realize his danger.

So many people had arrived the day before the concert that the sound checks for the bands turned into mini performances themselves.


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1 Comment so far
  1. cheryl August 5, 2011 5:50 am

    was within 50 ft left of stage spotty memory of “course” the storm sticks in my mind it was like God playing against musicians.and found out later the person sky diving and blowing up was not on purpose, really best time& people cool have a friend who ddi film still trying to get it, was such a wonderful memory, and remember always seeing this guy in tall black hat,amidst the 10000’s of people, and people delivering water in gallons we had a teny and lots of plastic to wrap around us in rain, I was from Camillus New York then ..my journey took me far,those years are the best of my life

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