Sunday, September 20, 2009

Road to West Fest '09: Part I: Learning Purple Haze

On Sunday, October 25, West Fest will be held on Speedway Meadows in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It is the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock festival. It is a FREE event and produced by 2b1 and the Council of Light in association with Artie Kornfeld, the original producer of Woodstock '69.

There's a lot more to say about the festival, and I'll post the press release at the end of this post. But what I'm most psyched about (besides an afternoon in Golden Gate Park in October--the best time of year there, in my opinion) is my participation in the effort to break the current world record for largest guitar ensemble! According to the Guinness World Records site, the record was set when 1, 802 participants played "Smoke on the Water" simultaneously in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany, on June 26, 2007. The goal for West Fest is to shatter that record with several thousand playing "Purple Haze" in tribute to Jimi Hendrix, who headlined Woodstock in '69.

So. I registered for the event, which you can also do here. There are also links to some tutorials, which I tried today. Since I'm pretty much self-taught on guitar (I tried to follow along with a Jorma Kaukonen video once...that wasn't too fruitful), I'll be playing a pretty basic part that consists of about three chords per verse and then another three once we get to the bridge/jam-out part at the end ("Help me! I can't go on like this...")

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be consulting with some guitar players who are more skilled than I and will continue to develop my rendition of Purple Haze. Here's what I was able to put together after researching the lyrics and watching this video tutorial:

Stay tuned for more preparations for West Fest. I'll be posting my progress as I go. Let me know if you have any tips for me!

And here is the official press release for the event. See you there!

40th Anniversary of Woodstock
Free Concert Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, Sunday, October 25, 2009

Event: “West Fest” Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock.

Attraction: 72 acts, 4 stages, 2 domes and 26 poster artists. Solar domes, Alternative vehicles, Electric bikes, Native American Tipi Village, Sustainable Living Road Show, Conscious Art Gallery, Light Temple, Holistic Healing Section, Hooper Heaven, Rock’n Green Kids Zone and Eco Village vendors. Narada Michael Walden featuring Vernon Ice Black leading 3,000 guitar players and closing the show with the Hendrix Experience reenactment and Superstar Jam

Admission: FREE
When: October 25, 2009, 9am to 6pm
Where: Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA USA
Producer: 2b1 Multimedia Inc. and the Council of Light in association with Artie Kornfeld, the original producer of “Woodstock 1969”
Non-Profit: 501-(c) 3
Contact: Boots Hughston, 415-861-1520 or

Acts confirmed with more to come: Jefferson Starship; Leslie West (Mountain); Lester Chambers (the Chambers Brothers); Country Joe McDonald; Denny Laine (of Paul McCartney, Wings, Moody Blues); The Original Lowrider Band (with Lee Oskar); Narada Michael Walden featuring Vernon Ice Black leading 3,000 guitar players and closing the show with the Hendrix Experience reenactment Superstar Jam; Greg Errico, Jerry Martini, Cynthia Robinson (From Sly and the Family Stone); David and Linda La Flamme (It’s a Beautiful Day); Michael McClure (Beat Poet) and Ray Manzarek (from the Doors); Lydia Pense and Cold Blood; Terry Haggerty (from the Sons of Champlin); Annie Sampson and her band; Nick Gravenites Band; Harvey Mandel and the Snake band; Barry “The Fish” Melton (of Country Joe and the Fish); Jerry Miller and Jim Post; Lost Creek Gang and the Merry Pranksters with Ken Babbs, George Walker, and Mountain Girl; El Chicano; Alameda All Stars (Gregg Allman’s Band); Edwin Hawkins and The New Edwin Hawkins Singers “Oh Happy Day”; David Denny (from Steve Miller) with Prairie Prince (of The Tubes), Diana Mangano (formerly of The Jefferson Starship), Greg Douglas, Carlos Reyes; PF Sloan; Jimmy McCarty (from Detroit Wheels); Peter Kaukonen (from Jefferson Airplane); John York (from the Byrds); Leigh Stephens (from Blue Cheer); Kathi McDonald and Friends; Cathy Richardson band; Joli Valenti and Tony Saunders; Mitchell Holman (It’s a Beautiful Day), Miles Schon Band; Jose Neto and Friends; The Mutaytor; Rock Hendricks (Bobby Womack, The Jackson 5, The funkidelics); Scoop Nisker - KFOG; David Harris – speaker; Matthew Rosenthal – Prevent Hate; Bettina Aptheker – Free Speech Movement; Ben Fong -Torres (Rolling Stone); David Hilliard - Black Panther Party; Benjamin Hernandez – Harts and Hands elders; Blue Thunder – spiritual healer, Teton; Dennis Banks – AIM Wounded Knee; Dennis Peron and Richard Eastman (Marijuana Initiative); David Rovic; Rabbi Joseph Langer ; Ed Rosenthal; Terence Hallinan (Former SF DA); Gene “DR Hip” Schoenfeld; Paul “Lobster” Wells (DJ), Aron “Pieman” Kay (from the Yippies); Alex Reymundo – comedian; Doug Green MC; Some acts can not be advertised until 30days out.

Poster series: Stanley Mouse, Arnold Skolnick (original Woodstock 69 poster artist), Chris Shaw, Mike Dolgushkin, Wendy Wright, David Singer, Mark Henson, Carlon Ferris, Dave Huckins, Lee Conklin, Bob Masse, Andrew Annenberg, Victor Moscosco, Michael Moss, Thomas Yeates, Chrissy Costello, Gilbert Johnson and Dusty Hughston, Michael Rios, Burry Olsen, Pat Ryan, Ron Donovin – Fire House Crew.

In honor of Jimi Hendrix, who headlined the festival in 1969,
Narada Michael Walden Featuring Vernon Ice Black will lead 3,000 guitar players attempting to break the World's Record for the Largest
Guitar Ensemble playing "Purple Haze" -- all at the same time!

Players are encouraged to register at:

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