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|THE HOLLYWOOD FESTIVAL.
May 23rd and 24th 1970.
A Deadhead dances next to the giant tit , taken from 8mm film of the festival.....
The festival was going to be filmed in its entirety, according to this article from the NME of 4-25-70.
So what ever happened to the film ? There was a TV crew there on the Sunday from the BBC who were dosed by the Deads crew, so that footage was a write off , but presumably the plans for the film of the entire festival fell through . Am I wrong , and cans of film of this historic event are at this moment moldering away quietly in a vault, once again never to see the light of day ?
Greg Bailey fills us in on the fate of the film
I know about the filming.
As I remember it there was a meeting of Deadheads from my film partnership Solus and a couple of likeminded BBC chums. Our agenda was to find the ways and means to film the Dead at the forthcoming Hollywood gig.
We managed to wangle a budget from the BBC to film the whole weekend for BBC2. I think it was Bob Edwards a BBC staff Producer and fellow D.H who accomplished this. I booked the Pye Mobile with it's magnificent 4 tracks to record the festival and our company provided 3 16mm cameras.
The crew were Dick Pope (cam) who today shoots all Mike Leigh's films, John Metcalfe (cam) who was a famous rock and roll cameraman and who embraced the lifestyle equally enthusiastically. A lovely guy. Andy Carchrae one of my partners was the 3rd camera. Now lives in Ireland and makes films on the environment. I'm a bit hazy about camera assistants, sound men and sparks. I think John Davy (asst.camera) was there. Now a famous cameraman. Mike Lax was one of the soundmen. He's still around and working. Julian Harvey cam asst. went on to become a producer. Ivan Sharrock was a feature film recordist I roped in because I was unsure about synching multiple cameras to the sound truck.
There also was a much respected cameraman called Aubrey who was around but I'm not sure if he was actually involved in filming.
We filmed the 1st day and all went well. The BBC got their Mungo Jerry so they were o.k.
Shortly before the gig a rather nice girl backstage was walking around offering purple pills from a cowboy hat. So I took a handful for me and my chums.
Most of us techies were dopers and had tried a bit of relatively gentle mescaline but we certainly weren't ready for Owsley's finest. "They looked so small."
A spark (electrician) spent most of the afternoon being a dog and attempting to bite policemen. The police in fact were very laidback but eventually got worried enough to call an ambulance to take this bloke (who ever after was known as Johnny Rainbow ) to the local hospital. There was an interview with the Dead attempted in the group's caravan. The acid was kicking in and Uncle Trips recognised the signs and was suitably cryptic. I wasn't there for the interview but watched it in wonder afterwards.
Bob Weir : still taken from 8mm film of the festival.....
The boys gamely attempted to film the gig but as I remember it all falls apart during the 2nd number. The BBC still own and occasionally show clips from the festival. We had in fact filmed some other material with the Dead viz. the group arriving at Heathrow, interviews and a rehearsal at the Roundhouse.
We did in fact make a rough cut of the material when the final clincher came from the the M.U via the BBC. The Dead had no work permit , so all the rushes came back stamped "not for transmission under any circumstances". In those days there were very strict reciprocal arrangements with the American M.U and the Dead's management had arranged nothing!
Eventually Dick Pope took all the material including the 4 track tapes to San Francisco and deposited it in the Dead archive.
I do however still have 1/4" mono tapes of some of the gig.
So we could have a doco of the first day and a half of this festival if the Beeb decided to go ahead. Write them and ask , it certainly can't do any harm and it may motivate them to get their act together and release something .
The BFI archive lists the following bands as beinga " on screen participants"
José Feliciano, Grateful Dead ,Black Sabbath ,Black Widow ,Mungo Jerry ,Traffic ,Family ,Colosseum ,Free ,Quintessence
but whether all these were filmed or not is questionable.
Sad news received recently
came across your site today whilst looking for mentions of my Uncle –
Mike Lax. I’m sad to report that he passed away last year on April 20th.
So if you could update your information with this, I’d be most grateful.
If you require any information about Mike, please let me know and I’ll
be happy to help you with whatever I can.
Latest film news July 2007
Just thought you might be
interested in the attached correspondence. I emailed David Lemieux at the GD
Vault suggesting that he puts up Dark Star from Hollywood in the Vault Tapers
Section when May comes around. This was his response.
Oddest thing: while sorting through the 1974 Grateful Dead Movie outtakes, all 16mm film, I came across several unlabeled cans of 16mm film. It turns out they were from 5/24/70, as apparently a camera crew followed the band for the 3 days they were in England, including 40 minutes of footage arriving at the airport, band and crew; an excursion to a river where the band had loads of promo photos taken; shots at the hotel learning how to convert US money to pounds; walking around London; 30 minutes of footage of the band at a Warner Bros. party for the band (hilarious. Pigpen when confronted with a camera and mic: "I ain't sayin' nothin'!"); the band rehearsing at a beautiful little theatre, where they jam an electric Man's World and an amazing version of Candyman; and, best of all, two songs from 2 cameras from the show, Good Lovin' and Casey Jones. I am very eager to do something major with this material. Being on film, it has held up quite well. I'll see about getting the Dark Star up in May, but I do recall the master audio tapes had some sonic issues.
Does anyone know whether there is anything else in existence ?
Hollywood festival menu
Many thanks go to Garry Marsh for his fantastic archival material which has enabled us to construct most of the site. Also to Martin Williams for his oral history and colour photo of the stage and site ,Simon Phillips for all the Grateful Dead archival material and Bob Colover for the film footage .
We have been endeavoring to collect audience or sbd tapes of the performances at this festival , so we can effectively review the performances, provide set lists and band line-ups. The intention is to also display as many personal histories of the festival as possible.
If you can contribute in any way, with tapes, reviews from the music press, photos or personal histories, please Contact us.