By request of Mike Edwards, who's making a documentary on this unique, memorable festival at Pyramid Lake. If you were there, tell us about it...
I was the promoter of Ranch Rock. When Jerry was taken ill in 1986 I felt that a healing, comforting gathering was in order. Having never done anything like this before, there were many snags. While a good time was had by all, the changes to our nations political make up and the rescue of the Paiute Tribe's water rights are the real story! Ranch Rock sent a ripple effect outward that most are not aware of. Every year the Paiute still sing about the hippies gathering in the desert whose efforts saved their people. It was called Ranch Rock because of the California Ranch in Sierra County that was the original location. With only 28 days before the concert the Sheriff pulled our permit against the unanimous vote of the County Board of Supervisors who wanted the event to go on as planned. Lacking the 29 days for public notice for permit anywhere else we approached the Paiute Tribe as their Reservation is sovereign. The rest, as they say, is history! Would love to share the dramatic backdrop to this wonderful music happening! - Sela
if only you could track down that film crew today!
My friend and I arrived at Pyramid Lake a couple of days before the concert and car-camped there with some of the other early arrivals. We had a two-person tent for shade, but that was about it for cooling relief, so when I noticed on a map that there were some hot springs up on the north shore of the lake, I suggested that we take a drive, if only to make our world breezier. I was driving a Honda CRX that summer that was front wheel drive and had a five speed transmission, but the unpaved road we found ourselves on soon gave way to loose sand and it wasn't long before I had the thing buried up to the axle. I was pretty sure that we were screwed. We were in the Nevada desert in summer at noontime; we had a cooler full of beer and ice, but the nearest town was about a twenty mile walk away. Then I noticed something strange on a rock formation a couple hundred yards away from where we stood: it looked like hippie girls clad in diaphanous clothing posed on moonscape boulders. My eyes tracked downward from the place where this vision suddenly appeared and that's when I noticed what looked like a film crew near the base of the rock formation. It turns out they were students from San Francisco State who were out there shooting a video and after we established our premise--stuck in sand, beer on ice--they helped lift us out and got us safely back on our way. So, Ranch Rock 86 at Pyramid Lake was a parched moonscape, no doubt, but it's also, for me, clearly a case of Once-In-A-While-You-Get-Shown-The-Light Syndrome.
clearly never saw the place!!!
let's just say there was nothing green for miles. The Playa to come had nothing on that parched moonscape...
My friends and I scoped out the situation and opted for a campground in the mountains an hour or so out. Which had actual running water and bathrooms and showers. This was wise, as far as we were concerned.
I've found scans of two posters so far:
I went to that show. It was really fun being able to jump into Pyramid Lake to wash off the dust and cool down. There was a pretty small but enthusiastic crowd that day, probably due to Jerry recovering from the coma. Bob Weir couldn't play guitar that day because of an arm injury. The Paiute tribe was very gracious to allow the Deadheads to assemble on the shore.
My best memory of the show was that Kathi McDonald can belt it out!
I still have the promotional poster too.
Freddy Hahne, of the Black Rock Arts folks. Send me a PM and I'll put you in touch.
Hey, I was at the Greek. Burning Man, not my scene! Freezing at Baker Beach, also not my scene!
There are no errors on this playing field, marye, only events and their potential interpretations. What you call an error, I call the thing that helped me to see this more expansively, so thanks.
Who's Dr. Really? Sounds like a specialist I might need to consult.
that was me, so I don't mind a good error in a good cause.
you're right, one thinks of Burning Man as starting out in its current form, but of course it did not!
Dr. Really will probably have a lot to say about this.