Volume #24, Issue #5


     By the time you read this, we'll be watching the leaves fall from the trees, preparing for those long, cold winter months. While we sit by the fire with anticipatory thoughts of the next not-so-distant summer, the endless spiral of time will beckon us forward. But right now, I'm still reeling from summer '97.

    If anyone had a quiet summer, it was certainly by choice. The musical options were incredible. You will read about a few events in our pages, but we weren't even close to being everywhere. If you did anything musically interesting this summer, please write us. Your fellow readers and I look forward to hearing all about it!

    I'd like to share this year's experience at Gathering On The Mountain in the Poconos, Pennsylvania, but let me start at the beginning. Last year, some good folks at Big Two Resorts sat down with several issues of Relix. They picked 14 bands out of our pages and, unbeknownst to us, put a festival together. They invited us to the festivities and it was as if Relix gave a party and everyone came. The best part was that it was a complete surprise to us! This year, the same people pit together the 2nd annual Gathering On The Mountain. Still keeping the bands that we focus on in mind, another 14 acts were booked, plus Tom Constanten, who gave an indoor lecture and performance each day. Though we had little to do with the actual preparation of the event, we were listed as "inspirational" sponsors. I couldn't have asked for a better happening to link the Relix name with. Everything was well-organized and the music was, once again, incredible. The ski resort provided two perfect amphitheaters and the sound was superb. Gov't Mule stole the show and sets were also tuned in by Merl Saunders, Moby Grape, Zen Tricksters, Kingfish, Max Creek, Commander Cody, Dave Mason, JGB and the other acts that appeared. The concert site was flavored with two colorful Shakedown Streets, where vendors sold everything from T-shirts and hemp products to drums and hot sauce.

    I want to say thanks to all the kind folks who came out to see my band play this summer. Your support and enthusiasm was incredible. It was great to meet all of you. One of the highlights for me was opening for Donna Jean Godchaux MacKay. Her band is as outstanding as it is friendly and she's never sounded better. Donna Jean was warmly received on her brief tour and she anticipates more dates in the near future. Check out her new album being sold through GDM or visit her website: http://www.DonnaJean.com.

     I've received quite a bit of mail regarding whether we should formally celebrate Jerry Garcia's birthday (August 1st) or his day of departure (August 9th). We're waiting to hear from you. So far, there is a close call on both dates, though August 9th may have an edge. His birthday would seem a natural choice, but much of the correspondence I've received points out that when Jerry died, people who had taken the Dead for granted or even stepped out of Deadhead society altogether realized the impact of this loss on their lives. Many heard from old friends and family members on that day, some plotted different life paths. Others resumed tape-trading with a newfound vigor. In essence, August 9th was a day of renewal and rebirth for most of us. Let me know what your thoughts are.

    I'm looking forward to hearing from you on two things: #1-What you did during summer '97 and #2-What day we should hold as a tribute to Jerry. Of course, I look forward to receiving correspondence from you of any kind.

    Enjoy the colors of autumn. See you next issue-it's our Year-End Special!

In peace, love and light,
Toni A. Brown, Publisher

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