Jerry Garcia @ 1962 Winter Berkeley Folk Music Festival

new photos from folkie-beatnik era.

As the Berkeley Folk Music Festival’s digital repository begins to go online in beta form, all kinds of amazing items are surfacing from the over 50,000 artifacts. This one is for all the deadheads out there. Both the metadata librarians and documentarian Brian Miksis (who helped bring the Jerry Garcia: Before the Dead CD to fruition) noticed a young Jerry Garcia in attendance at the 1962 Winter Berkeley Folk Music Festival.

These photographs have never been seen publically before so far as we know. It makes sense that he would have been there as this was the era when he was deeply interested in the folk revival, learning and performing traditional songs and beginning to get obsessed with Scruggs-style bluegrass banjo picking.

Here he is listening to Sam Hinton, whose subtle ideas about how to interpret traditional folk music authentically we can imagine influencing Jerry perhaps.

Jerry Garcia in front row, listening to Sam Hinton @ 1962 Winter Berkeley Folk Music Festival. Photographer unknown.

And here is Jerry with two folk revival luminaries, Ralph Rinzler and Jean Ritchie.

Jerry Garcia, with Ralph Rinzler and Jean Ritchie @ 1962 Winter Berkeley Folk Music Festival.

But the following image is my favorite: Jerry smiling and maybe even singing along with Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers.

Jerry Garcia listening to Bessie Jones and the Georgia Island Sea Singers, with Sam Hinton and John Herald @ 1962 Winter Berkeley Folk Music Festival. Photographer possibly David Freed or Roland Jacopetti?

These are just some of the many treasures that will emerge from this incredible collection as the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project develops.

Is the moment captured in the photograph when Jerry Garcia encountered the song “Turkle Dove,” or “Turtle Dove”? It was on a few recordings, but perhaps that’s one they sang at Berkeley in 1962. You can hear Bessie Jones’ version below, recorded by Alan Lomax in 1960 (here’s Bessie Jones telling Lomax more about the song), followed by Garcia’s version, performed in this case in 1987 with Bob Weir and Joan Baez.

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