This small exhibit highlights selections from the San Francisco rock posters collection in Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library. The posters feature highly-stylized and psychedelic artwork promoting rock, blues, and dance concerts held at the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore and Winterland Auditoriums in 1968.
During the year following the city’s emblematic Summer of Love, the San Francisco music scene was thriving, largely propelled by the influx of young people to the Haight-Ashbury district. High-caliber blues and rock acts including Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall, Velvet Underground, Booker T and the MG’s, B.B. King, Son House, and The Mothers of Invention toured through the city in 1968, while “the locals,” San Francisco native bands Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and others performed as part and parcel of the city’s burgeoning hippie scene.
The live-concert infrastructure of the city was further cultivated by its local “dance-hall keepers,” Bill Graham and Chet Helms, notable promoters who organized and produced events via their Bill Graham Presents and Family Dog Presents promotional outfits. The two commissioned artists such as Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin, Bonnie MacLean, Victor Moscoso, Stanley Mouse, David Singer, and Wes Wilson to create vibrant, psychedelic, sometimes-legible, and always far-out posters to promulgate upcoming shows.
First Rate Rock Shows: San Francisco ’68 will be on display in the Special Collections reading room from April 2 – August 17, 2018. For more information on the Library’s collection of San Francisco rock posters, please visit the finding aid.
First-rate Rock Shows: San Francisco '68 is a small, complimentary exhibition to 1968 Heterodoxical Times in Delaware, a larger exhibition which is on display in the information room of the University of Delaware Library from April 2 - August 17, 2018.
Exhibition curated by Dustin Frohlich. Poster framing and matting by Tim English and Vivien Barnett.