Posted on July 28, 2013
Watkins Glen, New York, is famous for its Grand Prix auto racing.
At least, according to my husband.
It is not all that famous for its huge rock concert on this date in 1973—even though the concert was way bigger than the very-famous Woodstock!
About 150,000 people bought concert tickets and went to the raceway venue to see The Band, the Allman Brothers Band, and the Grateful Dead. But people without tickets came, too.
A lot of them.
All told, about 600,000 people poured into the raceway venue to see what was, for most of them, a free concert! For the Guinness Book of World Records, it was a record-breaking audience (the world's record has since been broken). For the concert-goers, it was a huge traffic jam that caused many to abandon their vehicles and walk 5 to 8 miles on a hot summer day.
As you can imagine, many of the audience couldn't see the stage, they were so far away. But there were 12 huge sound amplifiers spaced about, so they could hear the music. Which is, after all, the important thing.
There was a violent thunderstorm and drenching rain during the concert, so many concert-goers became covered in mud. Just like people at Woodstock.
There were no reports of violence. This was a peaceful gathering—just like Woodstock.
The thing that really got to me were these statistics:
“Many historians claimed that the Watkins Glen event was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States. In essence,that meant that on July 28, one out of every 350 people living inAmerica at the time was listening to the sounds of rock at the NewYork state racetrack. Considering that most of those who attended the event hailed from the Northeast, and that the average age of those present was approximately seventeen to twenty-four, close to one out of every three young people from Boston to New York was at the festival.”
Wow! One out of three! That's what we call a good turnout!
Now, onto my ulterior motive...
The real reason I chose to talk about this huge concert is because I love-love-love-love Watkins Glen State Park! My husband and I took a long full-of-awe, wonder-some walk along the gorge, both sides, looking at the pools and waterfalls and delighting in every water-worn rock and all the translucent colors of water. Go there!
One of a million photos we took of Watkins Glen.
Also on this date: