Monday, April 30, 2012

Pattee Arena, County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road,Monterey, CA

Capacity 5,800

The county fairgrounds was originally laid out and constructed by the WPA in 1939.
The Monterey County Fairgrounds is nestled on 22 beautifully landscaped oak-studded acres located in the city and county of Monterey.

It is a state-owned multi-use facility with 4 large banquet rooms, 3 smaller meeting rooms, 2 outdoor concert venues and a variety of outdoor and indoor cost-effective sites ideal for all types of events.
In the decades since 1941, the bathrooms have been replaced and the horse racetrack has been converted to simulcast, but much remains of the original work. 
The Pattee Arena is 28,000 sq.ft. and easily accommodates large concerts, rodeos and horse shows. With 500 amps, elevated seating on both sides of stage, 3 recently renovated dressing rooms and a maximum capacity of 5,800 people (with seats set up on the floor), it is an ideal setting for spectacular events on the Monterey Peninsula.

Joan Baez, Bob Dylan West Coast Debut, The Greenbriar Boys and Peter Paul and Mary performed at the first Monterey Folk Festival.

Wildwood Boys
May 17, 18, 19, 1963
Nine Pound Hammer

Wildwood Boys:
Jerry Garcia, banjo
David Nelson, guitar
Robert Hunter, bass
Ken Frankel, mandolin

They won the Amateur Bluegrass Open Competition.
Other artists included: Country Boys with Clarence White and Roland White; Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys; Osborne Brothers; Doc Watson.(1)

from Mike Wanger, Bob Weir's high school classmate:

"At the Monterey Folk Festival in 1963, there was a New Talent showcase. The last performer to appear in the program was Michael Cooney, who had completely charmed the audience with his talent and boyish charisma. Immediately afterward, we scrambled over to the banjo contest, the prize for which was an Ode 5 string, long neck banjo. When Cooney showed up to enter the contest, the reaction from the crowd clearly indicated that he still had us under his spell. Another entrant in the banjo contest was an incredibly talented and wonderfully jovial musician named Jerry Garcia. Once the contest began, the field was quickly narrowed to Cooney and Garcia. The challenge faced by the judges was that Cooney played frailing style and Garcia played an entirely different Scruggs style. Time and time again, Cooney and Garcia were called up to the stage, alternating in their demonstrations of fine musicianship. Cooney frailed away with tunes from Appalachia while Garcia, backed by David Nelson on guitar, offered up a string of blistering bluegrass breakdowns. The judges struggled with an "apples or oranges" kind of decision, and may have chosen popularity over prowess. Or maybe they took note of the fact that Cooney played a long neck 5 string and Garcia didn't. In any case, the next time I saw Michael Cooney perform, he announced that he had an Ode 5 string, long neck banjo for sale.

The Berkeley Barb ad says "banjo contest winner Mike Cooney had won the banjo contest at the 1963 Monterey Folk Festival. The judges (Rodney and Doug Dillard and Billy Ray Lathum) found Cooney’s frailing (traditional) style to be more worthy than the high speed three-finger (Bill Keith style) bluegrass picking of the intensely competitive Jerry Garcia (appearing in The Wildwood Boys along with Ken Frankel and David Nelson).  "I wish I could say Jerry won," says Rodney Dillard, "but he didn't. He felt for sure he was gonna have it because he played this real fancy bluegrass style — not the greatest in the world, bless him. We gave it to a guy who was a little more creative, actually a folk singer who frailed the banjo, named Mike Cooney. And none of the bluegrass people could understand why we did it. All the bluegrass nazis were really mad."  Kathy and Carol regularly opened for Cooney."

Jerry performed here on
5/17/63 David Nelson
Banjo Contest (solo)

5/18/63 Wildwood Boys
Amateur Bluegrass Open Competition

5/19/63 Wildwood Boys

6/18/67 Grateful Dead (Monterey Pop Festival)

1.)^Troy, Sandy, Captain Trips, pg 50, 258

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