This Festival Was Bigger Than Woodstock – But There’s A Strange Reason No One Remembers It Now

Image: Barry Z Levine/Getty Images

It’s upstate New York in summer 1973, and hundreds of thousands of music lovers have abandoned their cars, creating one of the biggest traffic jams the U.S. has ever seen. Worried they will miss the start of the festival, they complete their journey on foot. But this isn’t Woodstock; this music festival is a much bigger deal. And yet hardly anyone will remember it.

Image: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The festival, Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, was held on July 28 that year at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway, nearly 250 miles northwest of New York City. It was scheduled to last just one day, with three acts confirmed on the lineup – The Band, Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band. However, in an interview with the blog Alanpaul.net, the Allman Brothers Band’s tour manager, Willie Perkins, recalled a scene of “armageddon.”

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