Season 3, Episode 7: Summer Jam At Watkins Glen 50th Anniversary


Season Three of The JamBase Podcast continues to celebrate music festivals with a look back at Summer Jam At Watkins Glen on the 50th anniversary of the landmark event. JamBase’s Scott Bernstein spoke to best-selling author Alan Paul, who covered Summer Jam extensively in his newly published book, Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the ’70s.

Several chapters of Paul’s book Brothers and Sisters are devoted to Summer Jam at Watkins Glen. Along with The Allman Brothers Band, the lineup for what was supposed to be a single-day event on July 28, 1973 included the Grateful Dead and The Band. An estimated 600,000 people showed up to Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway in Upstate New York, making it one of the largest gatherings of people on record. With the size of the crowd growing, the July 27, 1973, soundchecks performed by the bands on the lineup ended up equating to a full second day of music.

Digging into Paul’s book and research, he explains how Grateful Dead manager Sam Cutler (who recently passed away) and The Allman Brothers Band’s manager Bunky Odom played important roles in making Summer Jam not only happen, but a logistical success. Paul shares some of the rock ‘n’ roll details of what went down behind-the-scenes at Summer Jam. Listen for a cameo by Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann who chimes in with memories of Summer Jam.

The episode touches on how the nearby Woodstock festival in 1969 might have impacted attendance, dives into the performances of The Allmans and the Dead, the circumstances that might have led to Summer Jam being the last time the Allmans and the Dead played together and legacy of Summer Jam 50 years later.

Alan Paul’s insightful new book, Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the ’70s, is available via all major retailers, including audiobook format. Paul’s band, Friends of The Brothers, will take the stage for the book release show at City Winery NYC on July 30. Friends Of The Brothers will be joined by special guests Duane Betts, Lamar Williams Jr., Vaylor Trucks, Johnny Stachela and Peter Levin. Paul will also perform with End Of The Line at City Winery Atlanta on July 28.

Stream this episode and other past episodes of The JamBase Podcast via all major podcast services including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcast.