The Schaefer Music Festival was a music festival held in summer between 1968 and 1976 at the Wollman Skating Rink in New York City’s Central Park. The festival began in 1966 as the Rheingold Central Park Music Festival, the series was sponsored by F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company, brewer of Schaefer Beer.
Club owner and musician Hilly Kristal, owner of the famed CBGBs co-founded the series with producer and concert promoter Ron Delsener. Inexpensive tickets, which started at $1 in 1967 and rose to only $3 by 1976 contributed to the event’s popularity. The shows were very popular and usually sold out. Hundreds would spend the entire day on line for a concert. While the capacity of the Wollman Rink was usually limited to about 6,000 to 7,000 people, it is reported that Bob Marley’s performance in 1975 attracted about 15,000 people.
Bob Marley and the Wailers, on tour promoting the Natty Dread album, played the opening summer show of the festival on a hot and muggy June 18, 1975. The show is notable because it is one of the few live performances featuring the only white member of The Wailers, harmonica player Lee Jaffe. Jaffe plays harmonica on “Rebel Music (3 O’clock Road Block)” and “Talkin’ Blues”.
In response to Marley’s performance, NYC Mayor Abraham D. Beame offered Marley the key to the city. This ornamental key is presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others the city wishes to honor. Evoking medieval walled cities whose gates were guarded during the day and locked at night, the key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.
The show was captured on audio and video, however, the video footage is extremely rare. I have included a short clip of Marley on stage during the show.
Bob Marley at Schaefer Music Festival
The show audio was captured by an audience member and is presented here for your listening enjoyment. The audio files are shared in lossless format (FLAC).
In addition, I have included two concert reviews: one from the New York Times and another from Phonograph Record magazine. The reviews of the show are of value alone, as they shed much needed light on one of Marley’s early performances from the Natty Dread tour.
“Marley, Wailers Dig Into Reggae Roots” was published in the New York Times in June 1975. “Bob Marley: Wollman Skating Rink, New York, NY,” written by rock journalist Mitch Cohen, was published in Phonograph Record in July 1975.
1. Presentation of NYC Welcoming Letter*
2. Bob’s Intro
3. Trenchtown Rock
4. Slave Driver
5. Burnin & Lootin
6. Concrete Jungle
7. Kinky Reggae**
8. Midnight Ravers
9. Lively Up Yourself
10. No Woman No Cry***
11. Rebel Music**
12. Them Belly Full
13. Natty Dread
14. I Shot the Sheriff**
15. Talkin Blues
16. Get Up Stand Up*
January 25, 2012
So I just received the coolest artifact through email. The Wailers’ harmonica player, Lee Jaffe, who I featured in this post, sent me his and Bob’s hotel receipt for a weeklong stay at The Chelsea Hotel in NYC. It appears that this is for the hotel stay in 1973 when they played several shows at Max’s Kansas City in support of Bruce Springsteen.
Give thanks Lee Jaffe. This is a priceless gem and a nice addition to this blog entry:
© Lee Jaffe
Give thanks to my good friend Emmanuel Parata of www.bobmarleyarchive.com for supporting the blog and sharing his archived photos.
For more on Bob Marley and the Wailers at the Schaefer Music Festival, including personal testimonies, please visit Emmanuel Parata’s Memories of Jah People.
Also, many thanks to Marco Virgona of www.bobmarleymagazine.com for sharing a copy of the Program.