Feeding The Hippies

Veteran agent Shelly Schultz recently teamed up with promoter Toby Ludwig and Tattoo The Earth production coordinator Ron Hausfeld to package a festival tour for what they believe is an underserved demographic. Namely, hippies.

The Hippiefest kicks off in Brooklyn, N.Y., August 3rd and hits several East Coast markets throughout the month. On board is Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals, Mountain, Canned Heat, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Country Joe McDonald, Mitch Ryder, Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, Rare Earth, Melanie, Badfinger, Janis Ian, Denny Laine, Terry Sylvester of The Hollies, Dr. Hook, and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Hosting the event is counterculture icon Wavy Gravy.

The idea was cooked up by Ludwig, who produced the Walk Down Abby Road show that featured Todd Rundgren, Alan Parsons, John Entwistle and Ann Wilson. According to Ludwig and Schultz, this is the first time a tour has been geared toward the flower children.

“This brand is a lifestyle,” Ludwig told Pollstar. “A classic rock show could be a biker show, for example. This is about the music and it incorporates the essence of the ’60s.”

Because Ludwig came up with the idea for the festival in early May, this tour will be short considering the booking availability.

“I think we’re only going to do about a dozen dates this summer,” Schultz said. “We want to be able to have this up and healthy, with all of the mistakes made this year without killing anybody. We may do 30, 40 shows next year.”

Ludwig added that he was amazed that nothing has ever been done on this level.

“Well, thankfully,” Schultz joked.

If anything, the tour has good-humored producers on board. Schultz, for instance, had an honest explanation about the first onsales.

“It’s a new concept so it’s slow,” he said. “This is not an audience that runs out to buy a ticket. This is a grown-up audience that says, ‘Hmm, this is a good idea. Let me see if I’m still alive when it happens, then I’ll go.'”

The first radio ads have yet to be launched, Ludwig added.

“We think that with the baby boomers we have a five-year window where they have the wherewithal to drive to the show in the summer before they become crispy critters like the rest of us,” Schultz said.

All kidding aside, the producers expect the tour to be a viable summer package that can bring in the younger crowd as well as the baby-boomers. On board are the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y., the Mountain Laurel Center in Bushkill, Pa., and the New England Dodge Music Center in Hartford, Conn., among others.

Joe Reinartz