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Paul Mann: Relive Woodstock at West Fest

Many of the original legends will return for Sunday's free 40th anniversary tribute in Golden Gate Park

Anyone who has ever been remotely interested in the historic 1969 Woodstock festival in upstate New York and the phenomenal lineup of rock musicians who played there, take note. West Fest, Sunday’s free music festival in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, may be the last chance to see many of the original music legends who performed then.

Organized and paid for by San Francisco musician and activist Boots Hughston — and joined by Artie Kornfeld, one of the producers of the original Woodstock concert — West Fest is set to be a musical gathering of epic historical importance. In addition to some of the original Woodstock musical alumni, many of the Bay Area’s finest surviving rockers will be on hand. But the festival will be more than a concert, with many historical figures of the 1960s peace and human-rights movement to speak.

Some highlights of the festival include three stages with more than 40 bands, 26 poster artists, solar domes, alternative energy and vehicle exhibits, a native American Tipi Village, Sustainable Living Road Show, Conscious Art Gallery, Light Temple, Holistic Healing Section, Hooper Heaven, Rock’n’ Green Kids Zone and Eco Village vendors.

Some of the legendary musicians and activists scheduled to appear include Jefferson Starship; Leslie West of Mountain; Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads with Ronnie Montrose; Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers; Country Joe McDonald; Denny Laine of Wings with Paul McCartney and The Moody Blues; the original Lowrider Band with Lee Oskar; Greg Errico, Jerry Martini and Cynthia Robinson of Sly & the Family Stone; David and Linda La Flamme of It’s a Beautiful Day; Michael McClure of Beat Generation; Ray Manzarek of The Doors; George Brooks; Kai Eckhardt; Jay Lane; Lydia Pense and Cold Blood; Terry Haggerty of the Sons of Champlin; Annie Sampson and her band; Nick Gravenites Band; Harvey “The Snake” Mandel and band; Barry “The Fish” Melton of Country Joe and the Fish; Jerry Miller; Jim Post; Lost Creek Gang; the Merry Pranksters with Ken Babbs, George Walker and Mountain Girl; El Chicano; Alameda All Stars (Gregg Allman Band); Edwin Hawkins and the new Edwin Hawkins Singers, “Oh Happy Day”; David Denny of Steve Miller with Prairie Prince of The Tubes), Diana Mangano, formerly of Jefferson Starship; Greg Douglas; Carlos Reyes; P.F. Sloan; Jim McCarty of The Detroit Wheels; Peter Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane; John York of The Byrds; Leigh Stephens of Blue Cheer; Kathi McDonald & Friends; Cathy Richardson Band; Joli Valenti and Tony Saunders; Mitchell Holman of It’s a Beautiful Day; Miles Schon Band; Jose Neto and Friends; Rock Hendricks; George Michalski; and others.

Some acts can’t be advertised because of contractual obligations, and rumors abound as to who else may show up. Adding to the historical significance of the festival is the fact that many of the musicians haven’t played with their original band mates in decades.

Well-known poster artists to be on hand include Stanley Mouse, Arnold Skolnick (original Woodstock ‘69 poster artist), Chris Shaw, Mike Dolgushkin, Wendy Wright, David Singer, Mark Henson, Carolyn Ferris, Dave Huckins, Lee Conklin, Bob Masse, Andrew Annenberg, Victor Moscosco, Michael Moss, Thomas Yeates, Chrissy Costello, Gilbert Johnson, Dusty Hughston, Michael Rios, Burry Olsen, Pat Ryan and Ron Donovin of the Firehouse Crew.

In honor of Jimi Hendrix, who headlined the festival in 1969, Narada Michael Walden featuring Vernon Ice Black will lead 3,000 guitar players in attempting to break the world record for the largest guitar ensemble playing “Purple Haze.”

The festival will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. In keeping with the spirit of the original Woodstock, the event is free. Click here for more information.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributor.

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