I received a communication the other night. It started like this:
I did the lights at Vortex. I had PGE come out and erect two lighting towers on top of which we placed a 1000-watt Super Trooper spotlight with color filters. While the stage was being built, we set up by the bathrooms and projected a liquid light show from atop our panel truck onto a white screen we attached to trees while Notary Sojack and River played. We ran out of dope early so we had to make a trip south before the weekend of the convention.
Incredible. I asked him about River. In all my years of researching and gigging this unending far out story, River had never come up as a band that played the festival. In fact, I had never heard of a Portland-based band called River from that era.
After all these years, I’m not too sure that they were all there or if they performed as a complete entity. What kind of music? Beyond my capacity to define.
Beyond my capacity to define…that’s about right when it comes to Vortex I.
He went on:
We were putting on a lot of festivals in those years and it is difficult to remember who played where and when… Bullfrog Lake I, II and III, SkyRiver I, II and II, Buffalo Convention, I was making LSD as fast as I could give it away and memories are muddled a bit!
The light man wrote up his wild Vortex story on his web site: https://www.fallingstarmedia.com
There are some historical inaccuracies in his account, and he acknowledged this when I pointed them out, but really, I urge anyone with any interest in the tale of the only state-sponsored rock festival in American history, to read his story. I absolutely needed his narrative in my book about the festival, but as I found out, I heard some of the best Vortex stories after the book’s release in 2004. They keep coming. They probably will never stop. I am happy that people still seek me out and want to share them. There is a magical power in this Oregon story of peace. I only wish I had somehow got it to the attention of a national audience. It deserves it. Now more than ever.
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