Raven at 1968 Sound Festival

August 28th, 2009
Marty Angelo's Raven

Raven circa 1968

On August 21st Marty Angelo, the manager of Raven, a Buffalo-based group, e-mailed Weston Blelock to say that Raven played the Woodstock Sound Festival in 1968:

“I am not sure exactly what the event was called when Raven played Woodstock. 

We always thought it was the Woodstock Folk Music Festival. As I started to refresh my memory on this event I was surprised to find on the internet so much more information than was available when I first wrote my book. 

What I do know for sure is Raven played an event in a field, on a stage with a sound system. They appeared to be the only electric band there and were made to wait until the very end of the show to perform. We stood around all day and half the night waiting. The audience was not thrilled to see and hear a loud “electric” band.  🙂  Gee, I wonder why?

I remember this event because we actually tried to drive back to NYC after it and almost crashed a few times because we were so dead tired.

I’ve tried to find a poster, ticket stub, etc. that lists Raven’s name as part of any pre-’69 Woodstock event and have found nothing. The band’s agent at the time, Ira Blacker from Associated Booking Corporation, was the one who arranged this date for Raven.  He is no longer in the business.”

 Another interesting part of the Raven story—at least for Woodstockers—is that fact the group’s roots reach back to Stan Szelest. In 1961 Stan returned from a year-long stint with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks (comprised of Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Will Jones and Szelest). Stan rejoined the Ravens and brought in Gary Mallaber on drums and Tommy Calandra on bass to replace Sandy Konikoff and Pete Haskell. In 1967 Stan departed and his former band mates joined up with members of Tony Galla and the Rising Sons (Tony Galla, John Weitz and Jim Calire) to form Raven in 1968.

 Marty has written about his fascinating life and times as rock ‘n’ roll manager of Raven and Grass Roots in his book, Once Life Matters: A New Beginning. In the late sixties Raven was promoted by Jimi Hendrix and courted by George Harrison for the Beatles’ fledgling Apple label.

2 Responses to “Raven at 1968 Sound Festival”

  1. Raven Fan says:

    An interesting fact that I just gleaned from Angelo’s book was the attorney representing Woodstock Music Festival organizer, Michael Lang introduced the two in his office back before the ’69 festival. Lang offered Raven a spot on the upcoming festival but only if they first signed a production agreement with him. Angelo states in his book that because of Raven’s bad experience at a local Woodstock festival the year before they felt it was not worth signing away production rights to Lang just to play another non-proven music gig. Angelo does not express any regrets in his book. It is too bad they had such a bad experience the year before. Maybe things would have turned out differently for the band.

  2. ted lotring says:

    point of interest – they played in ACI RI at the end of dec ’72. were terrific
    riled up some of te prisoners tho. burnt much of the main prison complex

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