Sky River Rock Festival 1968 United States

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The Pacific Northwest’s first outdoor rock festival.

The “Lighter Than Air Fair” referred to the hot-air balloon rides which were offered as part of the festivities. Unfortunately, the single balloon originally acquired for the event floated away in apparent mutiny before a single rider could enjoy the experience; frantic phone calls located a last-minute replacement in Spokane.
Sky-River -rock-1968_poster
"& Lighter than Air Fair I"
Sat Aug 31, 1968 - Mon Sep 02, 1968
Sultan Washington
United States
Years active
Founded by
Paul Dorpat, Walt Crowley, Scott White, Gary Finholt, John Bixler, John Cunnick, Tim Harvey, and possibly the future famous novelist Tom Robbins.

Official Links


Arts & Acts

On the last day of the festival, September 2, the Grateful Dead arrived unscheduled and unexpected. They reportedly heard about the festival by word of mouth earlier that weekend and flew up to Seattle just in time to perform. 


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In Seattle and staged near the farmland town of Sultan, Washington. The site chosen for the festival was a 40-acre pasture on the banks of the Skykomish River, just outside Sultan, owned by Betty Nelson, a rural bohemian who responded to an ad in Helix announcing plans for the festival and seeking a location for the event. The site was a natural amphitheater enclosed by woods, and the festival’s name was derived from the name of the nearby river.