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1970 Vortex I Rock Festival


Dan Mortensen:
Although I've been in the Pacific Northwest for a very long time and was here while it happened, I had never heard until tonight of Vortex I: A Biodegradable Rock Festival, the first and apparently only State-sponsored rock festival, which took place August 28-September 3, 1970, in a State Park about 20 miles SE of Portland, OR. It was State-sponsored in order to distract the hippies and get them away from a concurrent American Legion Convention that was scheduled to enjoy an appearance by President Richard Nixon (who never showed up). It worked and not only was there no conflict around the convention, a good time was had by all at the festival and everything worked out just dandy.

Here is a nine-year-old documentary about it, which doesn't mention the PA used at it but has a few shots of what looks (maybe) like four pretty tall stacks of JBL 4550's or something similar, topped with bunches of (Altec?) sectoral horns. Two stacks are facing forward in L-R configuration, and two more are outboard facing the sides of stage.

Was Portland's Northwest Sound in existence by then? I would think its principal, whose name I don't remember (Bob something???) had some double 15 boxes sort of like 4550's, but they had fiberglass radial horns (I got two used ones in 1973 that looked like this, but with parallel 1/2"(?) plywood protectors attached above and below the horn and driver, like what's shown only at the bottom of the picture. But since they didn't use sectoral horns afaik, probably not, even though they were the biggest sound company in the NW then..

Anybody recognize anything, or were you there?

Dennis Wiggins:
Wow.  I had never heard of this "happening." I'll not comment on the politics of it but I think, in another life, I would have rather been there than Woodstock.

The PA looked pretty capable, and I would have been 'partakin' the river often.



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