Sections Above and Below This Page:

premieres, to be played on the dew-laden leaves of the park's trees as a light show. The Grateful Dead, Country Joe and the Fish, and Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company were invited to play, and they said they would. More different-colored lights were arranged to be strung throughout the area, and someone came forward with a half dozen strobe lights to be played on the people as they danced.

All through the organizing, Bill Graham, who let Emmett use a storefront warehouse below his Fillmore dancehall to stash materials and several boxes of fruit for the event, insisted that the nighttime rock and roll party, which was called the "Outlaw Mutation Boogie" among other things, was never going to come off the way it was planned, because he felt the people were incapable of achieving that kind of organization themselves, and he kept telling Emmett that, every time they met during those few days prior to the free dance-concert, adding that he was prepared to pay the Beatles any amount to book them for a free concert which he himself wanted to present in Golden Gate Park. Graham asked Emmett how he felt about the idea of him presenting the Beatles free, and Emmett replied that it would be terrific, but if he really wanted it to be free, totally free, he should leave out the "Bill Graham Presents" part and just let it happen without anyone knowing who was responsible.

Anyway, the Panhandle Park Dance was a phenomenal success, with the giant spotlights lighting up the trees and glistening the tiny dewdrops on the leaves into a sparkling rainbow of a light show, drawing thousands of people towards the strobe-lit area where they danced and hollered and laughed and had a good time. Soon after everything got started and was well under way, working smoothly, Bill Graham showed up with some of his Fillmore auditorium staff and gave out apples to the crowd and helped Emmett and the other Diggers inflate balloons which were being strung around the stage and told them that it was obvious now, and he could see, that he underestimated the people and their power to get it on without professional help and he was glad they were successful. Bill Graham's straight that way.

The park permit read that the gathering had to be dispersed by 11:30 P.M. or be subject to arrest by the police who had been assembling in force two blocks away since nine o'clock that evening, obviously hoping that the permit would be ignored so they could wade in with their nightsticks and incite a riot and fill their empty paddy wagons with bloodied longhairs. Emmett was fully aware of this, as [end page 364]


Creative Commons License
The Digger Archives is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Cite As: The Digger Archives ( / CC BY-NC-SA 4.0