— Days Without Shea —

Shea Stadium Festival for Peace
Of all the posts I have written about Shea Stadium, the Mets, ex-Mets and our beloved section Loge13, the topic that resonated the most with readers was about an event that happened forty years ago today: the Shea Stadium Festival for Peace.

Very little was written about this concert, organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first use of a nuclear weapon in war. No movie was ever made of this gig, which starred the giant acts of the day, including CCR, Paul Simon, Poco and one Janis Joplin, in one of her last performances.

In fact, I think I've written more about the Shea Stadium festival for peace than anyone else online. Dozens of attendees to the show have commented on my posts, remembering the day and trying to confirm who was there. There is is still uncertainty as to whether or not Jimi Hendrix did appear (what was in the water that day?).

One thing all agree on - Shea Stadium literally rocked that day. So many people were dancing in the upper level that the stadium was shaking.

Photographer Ken Davidoff was there. Last May, he was kind enough to send me some photos and recollections of the day. It's worth repeating today:
I was going to The School Of Visual Arts studying photography,I was backstage, I had a press pass and had photographed Johnny Winter at the Palm Beach Pop Festival the year before.

Janis Joplin was in the corner of the dressing room all decked out in her feathers, with lots of bracelets on her arms. I walked up to her and said " Do you want to smoke a joint" "No thanks, that stuff makes me crazy" and with that she takes out a brown paper bag with a bottle and takes a swig.

At that moment Johnny Winter walks in. He sees Janice and they greet each other like long lost friends. Johnny grabs the bottle from Janis,and takes a drink, Janice grabs it back and does the same ,this goes on until it's finished.

I managed to get off a few frames, also some pics of Johnny and Rick Derringer jamming. My site where you can see all of my photos from that day is www.oldrockphoto.com/shea.html I too have memories of the stadium tiers bouncing up and down, that concert really rocked the house.I hope everyone enjoys the photos, Peace, Ken

After the jump, I have posted some samplings of other comments from folks who were there. These have been posted in the past year on Loge13.com:

andy mcbain said

I was just 15, me + My friend Louie from cliffside Park, NJ went over by subway. Our first time In NY by ourselves. We had worked that morning at Palisades Amusemnet Park + we tried to get other people to go but they weren't interested. I don't remember paying much maybe $5 to get in. It was probably our 3 rd time getting high, people were passing it around. I know Hendrix was not there, but Paul Butterfield Blues Band was there, not sure why nobody mentioned them, I remember Paul Simon, Poco, Credence, Steppenwolf + Janis, Grand Funk which I forgot about til recently. Now I realize why I have so many of their albums. I don't think the place was full, in fact it was kinda empty, but the place was rockin, I have been to hundreds of concerts + lots of festivals with multiple bands in the Pocono Speedway and in Germany while in the service, but this was the greatest one that I remember. Maybe because it was my first, Louie died and my parents never even knew I left Jersey


Armand said

Hendrix was at this event and played one or one and a half songs, he sat on the stage while his band played most of the set. Rumor circulated among the crowd that he was too wasted to play. He eventually walked off stage while his back up band continued to play.


Caryn Leschen said

The Summer Festival for Peace. I was 15 years old and in High School, and from Queens, and my friends and I worked a table for Environment! in the halls behind the seats and took turns seeing out favorite bands. By the time Janis and Creedence and Poco came on, the table was shut down and we all took a place among the seats, the place was rocking so much.I also remember John and Yoko and I can't be imagining that. Anyone know for sure? I was so certain. Anyway, I DO remember the place rocking so much I was terrified the place would cave in--this kind of thing was still somewhat new, and Creedence made everyone bounce so much it was a real combination of exhilaration and terror! I hadn't remembered--or cared at the time, i was so young--that it was the 25th Anniversary of Hiroshima. That's pretty cool.


jon said

I was there for the whole day...15 y.o. kid with my two best friends. Rascals also played (didn't see them mentioned yet.) I'd seen PG&E a couple days earlier at The Fillmore East...did Grand Funk also play Shea that day or was that just the PG&E Fillmore show? I also seem to recall that Janis and Johnny Winter came out together and ran across the field to the stage...am I mistaken? I could be just remembering the guitarist from Big Brother and just thinking of the long hair...but I thought it was Winter. Definitely recall the cement tiers shaking so bad from the dancing crowds that they stopped the show to ask people to calm down. I also recall the police themselves throwing free sandwiches up to people because it was too hard to try and get to concession stand and people were starving by nightime. And Poco....I think I was one of maybe ten people screaming when they introduced them. Poco's first album had JUST come out and almost no one knew who they were....but they KILLED!! After the first couple of songs the crowd was wild for them. One of the best concert events I've ever attended....and I've attended MANY (pro musician, radio DJ, music journalist 30+ years.) I think the Shea concert corrupted my life :)


Read more on the Shea Stadium Festival for Peace in our Shea Rocks section

Shea Stadium Festival for Peace concert

Shea Stadium Festival For Peace Revisited

Fans Remember Shea Stadium's Festival For Peace

Shea Rocked - Festival For Peace Remembered

Shea Festival For Peace - Swigging With Janis And Johnny

[August 6, 2010 7:59 PM]  |  link  |  reply
DyHrdMET said

If not for you, I don't think I would have ever heard of this festival. It sounded like a helluva show. I like how 3 of the 4 comments you posted were from people 15 years old at the time.

[August 19, 2010 8:17 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Grace said

This is the first concert I ever attended and I had not thought about it in many years. Thank you for rekindling the memories. I was 16 and had a great time. I remember the stadium shaking and Janis Joplin appearing at the end. Also - weren't there jets from Laguardia Airport flying over and making a rackett every few minutes?

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