Vortex I: A Biodegradable Festival of Life

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Produced by: 
KBOO
Air date: 
Fri, 08/30/2019 - 9:00am to 10:00am

Vortex I is the only state-sponsored rock festival in United States history.

The festival was held in 1970, during the Vietnam War, in order to prevent violence between 25,000 pro-war legionnaires and 50,000 anti-war demonstrators.  Both groups had targeted Portland as a place of demonstration during Labor Day week.  Governor Tom McCall, understanding the potential for wide-scale conflict, collaborated with long-haired hippies to find an alternative gathering for the anti-war demonstrators.

What they agreed on would result in Vortex I: A Biodegradable Festival of Life.  At its peak, 40,000 people were in attendance at this state-sponsored festival, which was hosted 25 miles away from the city.  The event was a success, and no one was harmed during the demonstrations in Portland.  Vortex I is remembered as Oregon's Woodstock, a celebration of peace and love.

Interviewed are an artist who performed at the event, a writer who documented the event, an organizer who initially pitched the idea to the governor's office, and a Rainbow Family member who witnessed the naming of the Rainbow group at Vortex.  Listen to how they constructed an alternative community for hippie ideologies to prevail.

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