Fifty years ago, on July 28, 1973, some 600,000 music fans descended on Watkins Glen Raceway for what is still the largest music fest in history, the Watkins Glen Summer Jam.

This was a one-day festival that turned into a two-day because there were already thousands of people there on July 27, when The Band came out to do a sound check.  After The Band, the Allman Brothers came out, followed by a legendary two-set marathon from the Grateful Dead.

Don’t go to the Sportsmen’s Tavern on Friday, July 28, 2023, expecting that kind of soundcheck but you will definitely want to be there on Saturday, July 29,  for a Celebration of the Watkins Glen Summer Jam.  And the show at Sportsmen’s Park is a bargain; the show was $10 in ‘73 and now 50 years of inflation later, it’s only $20, in advance, for three of WNY’s greatest bands performing sets from Watkins Glen.  And two SAM Foundation members will each win a pair of tickets to the show.

The Buffalo Music Coalition recently presented a Watkins Glen show as part of the East Aurora Music Festival.  BMC had the mighty Ten Cent Howl open the show with a fantastic Howl-inspired set of The Band.  Workingman’s Dead and The Thurman Brothers followed up for a sensational day of music.

The July 29 show, at Sportsmen’s Park, will open with Buffalo’s Last Waltz Band performing the music of The Band, followed by Workingman’s Dead as the Grateful Dead, and closing the show will be The
Thurman Brothers as the Allman Brothers.

If you were there in East Aurora, I know you’ll want to be at Sportsmen’s Park on  Saturday, July 29, to be part of the Black Rock Summer Jam.  And if you missed the show at Fireman’s Field in EA, luckily for you, you’re getting a second chance!


Bob McLennan
SAM Foundation

The Last Waltz Band

Workingman’s Dead


Thurman Brothers Band

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