Visit the Austin Dam ruins August 22-24 for ‘Dam Stock’ festival
The Austin Dam Memorial Park will be the site of a three day festival celebrating the 50 year anniversary of Woodstock come August 22-24.
The Austin Dam Show has been taking place for 15 years, but this year it is being billed as “Dam Stock,” nodding to the original “3 Days of Peace & Music” gathering that took place back in August of 1969.
Rich Hadfield, Dam Show coordinator, explained that organizers first began tribute shows back in 2016.
“The idea came up to make it ‘Classic Rock at the Classic Rock,’” he recalled. “The idea was to take regular original area festival touring bands and give them an opportunity to reach a bigger audience. It gave us the perfect mix of the younger crowd who enjoy the festival bands, but want to hear them do something different, as well as an older crowd who enjoy the classic rock bands.”
This year is special though.
“We labeled this year’s show Dam Stock to take on the Woodstock theme for our own spin on the 50th anniversary,” Hadfield said. “We have done a couple new things this year including a VIP night which allows guests an extra night of camping along with 2 extra bands. We also have a special RSVP camping area that will be groomed with fire pits, free firewood, and a special entrance way to the dam show.”
Organizers are also excited to announce that they’ve teamed up with Bullfrog Brewery out of Williamsport this year for the event.
“This will be their first music festival ever. They will be setting up a beer garden where guests can go relax in the shade, watch the show, and enjoy some dam beers,” Hadfield said.
For those unfamiliar with the Austin Dam, it is a historic site nestled in the Dark Skies landscape of the Pennsylvania Wilds along Freeman Run, where in 1911 a concrete dam built by the Bayless Paper Mill broke and flooded communities downstream. The incident claimed the lives of 78 individuals, and it also led to important dam construction reforms.
Today, the Austin Dam Memorial Park honors the site’s tragic history. A pavilion showcases images and tells the story of the Austin Dam disaster. The dam wall still stands nearby, albeit fragmented, with Freeman Run running through the pieces.
The Austin Dam Memorial Park is managed by the Austin Dam Memorial Association (ADMA), which leases the property to the Potter County Recreation and Events (PCRE) for the annual show.
“PCRE hosts the Austin Dam Show by hiring the bands and doing the organizational work necessary to make the Austin Dam Show a success,” explained Alvie Fourness, acting president at ADMA.
Fourness noted that the ADMA has continued improving camping opportunities at the unique park for visitors, including the establishment of more private primitive campsites and hiking trail enhancements.
“The Austin Dam Park is now also a Hipcamp host site,” said Fourness. “Hipcamp in an online service that allows campers to search for unique-camping experiences based on location, natural features, activities, and amenities. Our park offers the Hipcamper beautiful sites for private primitive camping, and nature trails forested terrain, located along the stream and through the historical ruins. Some trailing south toward the Papermill ruins and some trailing up to vista areas.”
People gather at Austin Dam to fish, camp, learn … and annually witness a concert before the ruins. The dam ruins and surrounding mountains create a natural amphitheater.
Hadfield noted that he believes the people and the location both combine to make the annual dam show event special.
“I started working at the show as a food vendor 6 years ago. I never thought much of it, but when I got down there everyone was just so very nice. I had never been to a camping festival before, but I fell in love with this one and in 2016 I was given the opportunity to start coordinating it myself and it’s really taken off,” he said. “The venue makes it so very special as well. There is no other music festival anywhere near here that has this type of atmosphere. With the backdrop of the dam and being down in the hollow, it really provides for a fantastic natural amphitheater. It really is magical, and we love seeing first timers just take it all in.”
This year’s Dam Stock event will feature music performances by several cover bands, projections on the dam walls, camping, over 20 food and craft vendors, workshops, hiking and fishing opportunities, and more.
Participating bands include:
- Splintered Sunlight (The Grateful Dead)
- Flux Capacitor (Jefferson Airplane)
- Darla ft. Nik Greeley (Sly & the Family Stone)
- Medusa’s Disco (The Who)
- Dustin Douglas & the Electric Gentlemen (Jimi Hendrix)
- Tapwater (The Band)
- Dr. Fyre (Santana)
- Chestnut Grove (Janis Joplin)
- Soul Medicine (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
- Charlie Wheeler Band (Joe Cocker)
- Pansong (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
- Clark McLane Band (Arlo Guthrie)
- Dave Brown & Jami Novak (Richie Havens)
- Stoneclad (Ten Years After)
- Wynton Huddle (Ravi Shankar)
According to the event website, only 750 tickets are available. Tickets are $60 presale, $75 at the gate, and day passes are available. Kids 12 and under are admitted free.
** All photos courtesy of www.AustinDamShow.com, with permission granted by festival organizers.
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