Vortex I Light Man and River

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.

River existed though and the light man sent me visual proof. They opened for The Grateful Dead! At a SE Portland club called Springer’s. All ages show. $3.50 a ticket.

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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