Remembering Love Valley’s ‘people-powered escalator’

This latest look back at the Love Valley rock festival of 1970 produces yet another string of vivid reminiscences, such as this one from Hillsborough lawyer Kenneth Rothrock:

I remember that big hill everyone was sitting on from bottom to top. It was so steep that people were all on little perches. If you moved wrong you might roll down on folks below you…. You got up the hill by people pulling you up. Someone would would extend an arm to you at the bottom, pull you a few feet up and pass your hand off to the next person sitting above them — a people-powered hand escalator, lol…. It was a great wild crazy experience. It changed me forever.”

Previous Miscellany coverage of “North Carolina’s would-be Woodstock”: here and here and here.


No love lost between Allman Brothers, Love Valley

“We played the Love Valley Festival up in North Carolina, and I’m not sure we ever got paid. Love Valley was the idea of this old man named Andy Barker….

“The local sheriff tried to put my brother in jail, because Duane got a ticket for speeding on his way in there…. Barker told him, ‘As soon as you’re done playing, boy, you have to go into that jail.’ …

“We just started playing. We were playing good too…. and somebody threw mud up on my brother’s guitar. Big mistake, because that was it. He finished the set, walked off the stage, got in his car, and left.”

– From “My Cross to Bear” by Gregg Allman (2012)

Scholars of rock star autobiographies won’t be surprised to learn that this one contains at least 171 f-bombs (according to Amazon) and that the above passage is heavily expurgated.

Allman also notes that his mother, Geraldine (“Gerry”) was from Rocky Mount and that she was working in Raleigh during World War II when she met his father, who on was home on leave from the Army.  

[Gregg Allman died Saturday. This Miscellany post originally appeared in 2012.]


Insurance commissioner knows his rock festivals

Some Miscellany readers may define the height of serendipity as discovering in the British Library archives Ted Hughes’ “missing link” poem about Sylvia Plath. But for me it would be happening onto a blog “moderated by North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin about matters of public policy, candidates, issues, etc.” that somehow includes a richly illustrated account of the Peach Tree Celebration rock festival in Rockingham in 1972.

The Peach Tree, held at North Carolina Motor Speedway,  was recalled briefly in comments on this on the Love Valley Rock Festival — thanks for the details, Commissioner!

40 years ago: Love Valley’s would-be Woodstock

“The Love Valley Rock Festival was held July 16-18, 1970, [in] the Western-themed community of Love Valley, 15 miles north of Statesville…. This small town became a big city, swelling from roughly 100 full-time residents to perhaps 200,000 youthful pilgrims.

“Because of its size, the Love Valley Rock Festival made headlines. Beyond the initial buzz, the festival served notice that the counterculture was beginning to invade formerly resistant corners of the hippie-hating South.

“ ‘We all felt we were re-creating Woodstock,’ says Marilyn Wolf, [now a Greensboro psychotherapist], who attended with friends. ‘That was the hope.’ ”

— From “Remembering N.C.’s Woodstock” in the Greensboro News & Record. Rock  journalist Parke Puterbaugh uses the recollections of festivalgoers to capture a salient cultural moment that seems much longer ago than 40 years.

Were any other large-scale rock festivals staged in North Carolina?