Fifty years to the day after the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, and The Band gathered nearly 600,000 people for Summer Jam at Watkins Glen International race track, Dark Star Orchestra, Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country, and The Weight Band will celebrate the historic concerts with Summer Jam 50. The two-day music festival will christen Wonderland Forest with the inaugural concerts at the new LaFayette, NY campground and outdoor venue.
Slated for July 28th and 29th, 2023—the exact 50th anniversary of the legendary 1973 festival—each band will perform on both days. Each group has special tributes lined up, with Dark Star Orchestra offering a two-set performance of the Grateful Dead’s original show at Watkins Glen on July 28th, 1973 on night one. For his sets, Nashville firebrand Daniel Donato will recruit pianist Peter Levin (Gregg Allman Band) along with “many more friends,” while The Weight Band honors the timeless songbook of The Band.
Related: Daniel Donato Conjures 45-Minute “Dark Star” With Bill Kreutzmann In New Orleans [Watch]
For many years, Summer Jam at Watkins Glen held the Guinness World Record for “largest audience at a pop festival” with an estimated crowd of 600,000 fans. Only 150,000 tickets were sold in advance, with the other nearly half-million attendees showing up for what eventually became a “free concert,” in the same vein as Woodstock, which was held four years earlier and some 150 miles away in Bethel, NY. Per the Los Angeles Times, Summer Jam was the last concert event held at Watkins Glen until Phish‘s Super Ball IX festival in 2011.
Located less than 80 miles from Watkins Glen, Wonderland Forest is a new 500-acre venue 15 minutes south of Syracuse. The nature-focused location in New York’s Apple Valley is set among rolling hills with a natural landscape of forests, waterfalls, ponds, and scenic vistas. Wonderland Forest offers onsite primitive camping as well as RV spaces.
A portion of the proceeds from Summer Jam 50 will benefit the Allman Brothers Band Museum in Macon, GA, a.k.a. The Big House. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit is dedicated to preserving the Allmans’ musical legacy through educational programs and exhibits.
Tickets for Summer Jam 50 are on sale now. See below for a promotional teaser featuring the music of Dark Star Orchestra.
Summer Jam 50 @ Wonderland Forest July 28 and 29 in Lafayette, New York