Arrangements for the 1968 Swarthmore Rock and Folk Festival were completed Tuesday night when committee chairman Warren Phinney confirmed the booking of the Group Image, a New York rock band.
Previously, Phinney had booked the United States of America, Joni Mitchell, John Fahey, and Jeremy Steig and the Sartyrs.
The Festival will take place the first week after spring vacation and concerts will be held at various times between Monday, April 1, and Saturday, April 6.
In discussing plans for the fest, Phinney said that he was attempting to "emphasize up-and-coming artists" with a wide diversity of talents who bring different approaches to the rock and folk idioms.
Monday afternoon, April 1, in Clothier, the United States of America, a Los Angeles group, will give the opening concert. The band, which has recorded an album for Columbia due to be relased [sic] in mid-March, is composed of "very serious musicians attempting to bring the influence of Indian, western classical, and electronic music, as well as jazz, into rock." Their performance at Swarthmore will mark the end of their first eastern tour and will be their only performance in the Philadelphia area.
Admitting the difficulties of the Monday afternoon concert time, Phinney pointed out that it was the only free spot on the group's schedule, but he felt that the quality of the band merited the irregular performance time.
Friday night, April 5, two "folk" artists will give a concert. Joni Mitchell, a singer and composer who wrote two of the songs on Judy Collins' Wildflowers album, will perform along with John Fahey, a highly-regarded folk guitarist.
Joni Mitchell has appeared many times in the area - at the Main Point, the Second Fret, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival - and has recorded an album for Reprise Records.
Fahey, well-known by cognoscenti of "country blues" has started to gain recognition in folk-music circles. The Bay-Area-based solo guitarist has been around the Folk Scene for many years - he started out even before the "Folk Boom" got underway and, in Phinney's words, "has absorbed many native American styles" of guitar playing. He has made several albums for Tacoma Records and recently released an LP for Reprise.
Saturday night, Jeremy Steig and the Sartyrs will perform in concert with the Group Image. Steig is an ex-jazz flutist who recorded with a jazz quartet before going electric. His band is composed of ex-jazzmen, all of whom, according to Warren, are "excellent musicians." The group ranges from "electric jazz" to "earthy blues" and has received very favorable notices in Playboy, Newsweek, and the New York Times. They record on the Reprise label.
The Group Image is an East Village-based group which has performed successfully for several months at New York's Palm Gardens. It features about twenty-five members all together, six or seven of whom are a "solid, hard-rock band." The rest of its performers are either dancers or engaged in putting on a light show which has been labelled "the best in the East" and which features a "tremendous" strobe light. They are recording for Scepter Records.
It has not yet been decided what events will take place on the days between the Monday and Friday concerts, although Phinney has been thinking about several ideas, including a rock-dance concert of college and local bands, a college hootenanny, and workshops in which there will be discussions and demonstrations of various kinds of music. He adds, however, that the committee has no more funds to spend, the allotted funds having all been used to pay the performers. Again, he welcomes any suggestions.
In about a week, tickets will be distributed to Swarthmore students at dinner. Afterwards, about three weeks before the festival, tickets will be sold to outside people at $2.00 for each concert which, says Warren, "is a small price to pay for such quality entertainment."
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