Barney’s Matchbook Cover
September 22, 2016 – 12:07 am | 3 Comments

Locals know Barney’s Corner as a gas station, but early on it was much, much more.
I believe this matchbook cover comes from around the 1940s. Back then there was food and dance.
Barney was Keith Malcom’s brother …

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40th Anniversary of Eatonville’s Rock Festival

Submitted by on March 4, 2011 – 10:32 pm154 Comments

Eatonville Rock Festival40 years ago, in the summer of 1970, Eatonville was gearing up for the Buffalo Party Convention and pig roast at Buffalo Don Murphy’s Flying M Ranch, east of town. It was supposedly a political gathering, but everyone knew what it really was — a rock festival.

I was in first grade at the time and even from my six-year-old perspective I could tell the townspeople were seriously worked up. Woodstock had taken place the summer before and people had images of thousands of hippies with their drugs and everything else that goes along with a rock festival.

Rock Festival, Eatonville (Dispatch photo)

Rock Festival, Eatonville (Dispatch photo)

Right before the event, a preliminary injunction was filed in Superior Court prohibiting “further advertising, opening, ticket selling, operating, or in any way furthering and having the event called the Buffalo Party Convention and Pig Roast.”  But the word was already out and neither the injunction nor the roadblocks put up by the police stopped Eatonville’s rock festival.

Police, townspeople and businesses got ready for the worst. My dad was even hired by the Eatonville School District to guard to the grounds from vandalism. He had a billy club, which he jokingly referred to as his “hippy cruncher”.

Eatonville Rock Festival Ticket

Eatonville Rock Festival Ticket

A man who attended the event posted on the web: “I hitch-hiked from Portland, Ore. Arrived in Eatonville late at night and the police were directing traffic through town, trying to tell us to go back where we came from, the festival is cancelled! We went around in circles through town like a parade. The locals were out on the sidewalks waving and we were waving back.  . . . the next day they let us in on the festival grounds ’cause there were just too many people to deal with.”

Swimming at the Eatonville Rock Festival (Dispatch Photo)

Swimming at the Eatonville Rock Festival (Dispatch Photo)

On a rather disgusting note, because of the injunction, the portable restrooms never arrived and attendees had to make due with one out building and a large ditch.

Despite the crowds, lack of restrooms and roadblocks, the three-day event held on the 4th of July weekend was more peaceful than rebellious. The Dispatch reported somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people attended and although drugs were openly sold at the three-day event, the only real damage to property was a car collision at Center Street and Washington.

Merchants and residents stated that, “the long haired youths were courteous, polite and considerate.”  It also appears the hippies turned out to be somewhat of a spectator sport. More than a few residents have told me they managed to get up there to take a look around.

Who played at the rock festival? James Cotton? Clear Light? No one seems to know for sure.

(Photos appeared in the Eatonville Dispatch.)

154 Comments »

  • Elmer Potts says:

    My sister Carol, and at least one brother of mine attended this event, and I remember sitting in my folks’ ’58 Plymouth Wagon heading up the Alder Cutoff for home, I believe we were coming home from church. As I recall it took us about an hour and a half to get from the bottom of Mashell Mountain, where the road starts to climb, to the Scott Turner road, with cars parked bumper-to-bumper on both sides of the road, from Eatonville to well past Scott Turner. I remember seeing all of these cool looking long haired kids and was amazed, because they didn’t look ANYTHING like the people I was used to seeing, some of whom were in Vietnam at the time. I believe one of the headliner acts was Quicksilver Messenger Service, according to my sister. I have also heard that Moby Grape performed, although I am not as confident about that statement.

    On a sadder note, are you aware that two people fell to their deaths from the middle falls in the Little Mashell falls complex that adjoins with the old Murphy place at or about the time of the festival? The way it was told to me, some poor person ventured too close to the edge on moss-covered rocks, lost his footing and fell about 150 feet to his death. The next day, as I remember, a second man died showing some other folks where the first man fell. While I have no documentation of this, I believe it was covered in The Dispatch at the time, and probably the Tribune as well.

    • dimettler says:

      I heard it was only one man who died (or at least I only saw one tombstone). They covered it in the Dispatch. I’ll try to see if I can get some information on that.

      • Bernie says:

        I was one of the first to find this person. We were unsuccessful in trying to revive him, there was alot of us doing what we could but his injuries were extensive. It led me to a career in EMS and have been a Paramedic my whole adult life. I guess you could say a positive came from this tragedy. Very sad, let me know who he was, would like to put some flowers on the grave.

        Bernie

        • dimettler says:

          I will check to see I’d they found out who it was. The death had a huge impact on me as a kid. Even at 7 or 8, I had the article on my bedroom wall about the death for a couple years. At the time I was so sad no one claimed him, that I was bound and determined to be the person who remembered him. Thank you so much for your post!

        • melissa ka says:

          do you remember was it a couple that fell to their death…or was it the man that did but their was a woman with him at the time he fell…like the man slipped and the woman was trying to get him and they both fell off…

          • Diane says:

            Hi,

            There was an article in the Eatonville Dispatch. I’ll try to get in there next week and look it up. If memory serves, it was just a man. He was never identified, although they did bury and put a tombstone up for him. I’ll try to get the details for you.

          • Tara says:

            Donnie Christiansen was the only one who fell.
            We went to HS together
            A friend and I were blocked at the gate so a group of us took a trail into the
            forest around the site
            It was about 12 inches wide and very high , and why we didn’t all fall
            and get killed I will never know
            There were a group of about 20
            Then another group came
            We spent the night shivering on that ledge
            Finally got there the next day
            It was insane !
            People camped in teepees and tents.
            Lots of drugs mixed in huge wine jugs
            Acid was being given away
            It was crazy !
            If my granddaughter even mentions a rich festival I will
            lock her up !!! 🙄😂😂😂😂

            Btw
            Buffalo Don was an abuser
            His wife rightfully killed him a few years later
            He beat both her and their kids all the time sometimes using a huge hose
            My sister was very good friends with Jeanelle , his wife ..

      • Susan says:

        I was there and it was my understanding that it was only one man also

    • melissa ka says:

      do you know if it was a couple that fell off the cliff…or was it just the man did…I heard it was a woman and a man at this musical festival from Nevada state that came to it back in the 1970s and the man lost his footing by the water fall and the woman tried to help him but they both fell over…does anyone know if this is true or not…anyone know who they where for sure..

    • Patrick Kapfhammer says:

      The first person that fell to his death from the falls was never identified from what I remember reading in the Tacoma Tribune.Very sad situation.
      I went down to the bottom of the falls on a trail on the left side.Followed the river down to a nice sized pond with a very small falls.Followed the river down to the road and walked in town.
      Had a great three days with good memories.

      Pat

  • Alex Sniezak says:

    This web site is so cool that my eyes are going to fall out of my head. Also I didn’t know that there was a dam in alder lake in the 1940s and another 🙂

  • wil williams goble says:

    This was the first “bad” thing I did in my life. I remember losing my brother in a sea of people I was not accustomed too. Everyone told me he was in the watermelon tent and I didn’t know what that meant. It was watermelon in a tent! LOL I don’t remember the musical artists at all.

    My parents were furious! The pictures are sure a memory of my youth. My High School Album had a picture of this Rock Festival in the inside cover.

  • Roger P says:

    I was 18 at the time and from Morton. Myself and several other headed to Eatonville to see what it was all about. When we got to the cut-off road it was blocked and a large group of people were just milling around. I remembered the little gravel road that came up the hill from Eatonville and tied into the cut-off road. We took off with about 20 cars following and led the way. We came out just below the area that always slides. If I remember right there so many cars just sitting in the road we couldn’t get any closer and just abandoned the car we were in.

    I too just remember the one person who died at the festival.

    What a trip it was…LOL

  • David Beane says:

    I have told this story before , but here it goes again. I had moved away from Eatonville in 1969, but my girlfriend and I drove back to Eatonville the summer of 1970 when we heard about a “little Woodstock” that was supposed to be there. I was living in Aberdeen at the time, so we were driving toward Eatonville on the ‘farm to market’ road. There was a huge road block at Barney’s corner, and cops everywhere. They were turning everybody away, and only letting Eatonville residents through. I tried telling them I was from Eatonville, but my drivers licence showed my Aberdeen address. So,needless to say, we were not able to make it to the Great Buffalo convention. Wouldn’t you know it, nothing cool like that happened there until the year AFTER I had moved away !!

    • Diane says:

      We were just talking to folks about the Buffalo party tonight. No one can remember if there was any good music. 🙂 Not even people who attended.

      • Susan says:

        Big brother and the Holding Company, Canned Heat, Country joe and the
        Fish…. to name a few

        • Steven says:

          I was at the ranch for a few days before the party started and for several days afterward helping with clean up. About a week in all and it was a great experience. James Cotton Blues Band was there for sure and The Strawberry Alarm Clock from San Francisco as well. None of the bands that Susan mentions were there at all. Canned Heat were suppose to be the headliners but they bailed out and never showed but reportedly kept there advance.

        • Deborah says:

          In my humble opinion, The Buffalo Party Convention held in Eatonville, WA was a brilliant idea at the time and all Buffalo Party connections who sponsored, supported, played or attended the absolute best political convention held anywhere in the world, to date………..bar none, deserves kudos and their place in history.

      • kathy miller says:

        THEY were too HIGH DI hehehehehe

      • Barbara Kaye says:

        I was there all three days – and I don’t remember any bands showing up. (don’t judge me lol) We were promised a lot of headliners. On the second day they started playing taped music. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Carry On) started blaring and the masses surged towards the stage thinking that the band was there. Disappointed we were – but at least we had music. It was a fun time. Having my parents right there in town made it easy to keep clean – I went there to shower. There was no water and no sani-cans at the Festival. I think the cops allowed the sani-cans to come in on the third day. Until then, everyone used pit toilets. Ah, the memories – that I can remember. 🙂

      • gani says:

        There was fantastic music there! I can only remember James Cotton and AB Sky Band off the top of my head, but I was impressed by a lot of the music overall. There was one band I fondly remember because the bass player looked like he was tripping, and was playing his ass off and he had this beaming joyous smile as if he himself couldn’t believe the music coming out of his bass as he was playing it. It was as if he was so happy to be witness to the music pouring out of him like a gift from the muse. A fantastic festi. Maybe a favorite just for the raw freeness of it all with the mountain watching over us all.

  • Smoke Pfeiffer says:

    I remember having at least a few lucid moments at the Buffalo Party Convention. Just a few months out of the Service. I was one of the 6 people on the cleanup crew who were arrested about a week or so after it was over. Spent a lovely 76 days in the Pierce County jail (with Robin and Dallas Alice). Charges were dropped the day before trial. My 1959 VW micro bus, first thing I ever owned over $100.00, was confiscated for court costs. After I got out, went to a few parties on Queen Anne hill in Seattle. Then worked for Murphy for a month at the ranch building and repairing buffalo pasture fence. Then worked for him a couple of months at his house demolition and salvage business. The drifted up and down the coast for a while before going to college.

  • Jeff McKellar says:

    I went to the party at Murphy’s. As a 19 year old local, how could I not? Best chunk of business Eatonville NEVER expected! They ran out of everything! Beer, wine, camera film, cigarettes, anything you could eat or drink… then they ran out of time. The best thing that ever happened, left. But what a ride. There was live music at Murphy’s. I don’t know who played. Didn’t care. Still don’t. We were all just overwhelmed at what was happenin’ in our neck of the woods. So many people. Some really wierd ones, some not so. Some naked. Nobody mad about anything. I wonder how many of those who decended upon Eatonville back then and went away… remember Eatonvlille. And talk about it. Have any been back? I think a movie should be made on location: Eatonville. Could be good for local businesses again. We could put some bands together. Let’s do it. I wanna be there again. THINK MOVIE. THINK MOVIE. You read it here first.

  • Jeff Lawson says:

    I remember driving down from Redmond Wa, for the Festival. Myself and my other 11th Grade Hippie wannabe friends must have been doing this without our parents permission,as things were getting a tad bit strained. I would love know who played. Lost in the mists of thyme.
    Black Snake? Clear Light?. Does anyone Know?

  • Bob Walter says:

    Well, for locals, there were the Wailers, Don and the Goodtimes, the Sonics. And a lot of others I can’t think of. Were any big names lured in to Woodstock West? With all the people who were there, someone’s gotta remember some performers’ names. Jimi Hendrix was already legendary, living only two more months after the festival. He died that September. But I suppose if he was there, we’d all know about it. Wasn’t there a folk rock poet or two there?
    I was working on a summer job in Idaho, or I might have been there. My wife, never one to miss a story or an Event, was there on two different days!

  • xtinA says:

    I was there; I rode up from Portland with some friends who took some really weird back roads to get there. I remember we got lost in the Columbia gorge area right away and spent the night just off the highway. I don’t recall that we had any trouble getting into the festival. James Cotton played really late the night we were there and I woke up early early morning hearing the announcer ask if any women wanted to have sex with JC. One of my friends had brought four huge loaves of homemade bread; I have no idea what else we had in the way of food. I caught holy hell when we returned because I’d called in sick to work in order to go and my mother found out somehow (I wasn’t living at home then).

    • dimettler says:

      That is a GREAT story. And you’re one of the few folks who remembers who was playing. Thank you SO much for sharing.

      • xtinA says:

        I keep finding pieces of my distance past life on the internet. It’s both cool and creepy. Thanks for writing this!

        • Gary Sutherland says:

          Okay, beside James Cotton Blues Band there were two local bands that I can recall: “Mojo Hand” from the Seattle area, and a Portland group called “Live Color (I think)”. They used to play weekend gigs at Mt Tabor during the Summer of ’70. I do remember the announcer asking if there were any young ladies who would be interested in spending the evening with James Cotton and his band mates…not really sure if there were any takers, though.

  • Christy Leonard says:

    Remember it well as we lived right across the street from it. Even allowed a few to use our yard as a parking lot. Very polite & respectible people that kindly requested. My grandpa was featured in one of the articles. He was questioned about his thoughts on the situation.

  • Dorothy Emerson says:

    My husband and I were there in a VW van. We were from the SF bay area on a trip to Oregon when we heard about it. I have something I wrote at the time but it stops before the music arrived, so I really appreciate the details that are emerging. I remember the trench where we had to pee, etc. but I also remember at least some port-a-potties arriving. (did I imagine this?) I’d like to know more about the decision to let the festival go forward, since it apparently was still considered not legal. I also remember something no one else has mentioned. Late one night when music was playing (maybe on the 4th?) a flare was ignited that lit up the entire sky. I had never seen anything like it and it seemed rather miraculous, especially because we were high.

    • dimettler says:

      I guess it got approved until the VERY end, so that’s why where weren’t enough port-o-potties out there. I hadn’t heard about the flare. Wish I’d been just a little older to attend. 🙂

  • Tennessee says:

    My friends and I came from Tri-Cities to attend the Buffalo Party gathering…in a van loaded with cases of Ripple Red. One buddy, Thumper, had just arrived home from Vietnam with kilos of good ol Thai et al. I remember arriving amidst that huge crowd, took forever to get in, did the same as a lot…walked in with our gear, abandoning our van on the roadside.
    Things got a little blurry after that…the acid was kicking in heavy, couldn’t smoke enough Thai…found the border red guy…last words I heard from the loudspeaker were “stay off the brown acid”. Zonk- face first into the fire pit. On awakening in the evening, some good blues were playing. I forget who, exactly, but I believe BB King or James Cotton played that night.
    The next day, we decided to take a swim in the crick. There was a big waterfall that some people were actually jumping off of, into that shallow water pool below. Afterwards, while walking back, we heard someone had fallen or dived into that pool and died. Bummed us out bad. Took the rest of the Owsley acid tabs we had, said our goodbyes to Eatonville, and headed home. On the way out, imagine our surprise when we couldn’t buy gas…the town was sold out of…everything.
    The next summer, we went to Sky River II, down by Washougal, a two week long event. Another trippy story…

    • dimettler says:

      Thanks so much for sharing!

    • David says:

      I was 16 years old at the time and I was there. Walking in the first thing I noticed was a young girl wearing nothing but a paper plate tied around her waist, on that plate was written “Will f*** for Acid”. I remember (sort of) swimming in the pond high on “Red, White and Blue” acid. I remember the announcement of the person who died. I remember a lot of good music but don’t have a clue who played it. I also remember hitchhiking out when it was over. From there straight to Sky River III in Washougal just over a month later in August/September of 1970.

  • Ruthie and I and Jim and Jean Ann Miller ventured up to the rock festival on Saturday. I think we were one of the few who actually paid to get in. It was quite an experience. Naked young ladies selling pot. Almost everyone swimming in the pond were in their birthday suits. Being dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and tan cutoffs made me the best “dressed” person there. It was a very peaceful event and we spent the afternoon sitting on a blanket in a hay field listening to great rock-in-roll music.

  • melissa ka says:

    was the two people that fell from their death by the waterfall around year 1970-1973…was it a man and a woman…do you know were this article is to read about it and what happen…

    • dimettler says:

      Oddly, the death had a big effect in my as a kid and I kept the article that ran in the paper in my bedroom wall for years. I can’t find it now though. I’ll look it up and post it. Thanks for the email.

  • let's do it again says:

    How wonderful would it be to have all the same people back to do it all again. The most peaceful yet insane weekend I have ever had. I was just out of hs and had recieved my notice to take my pre induction physical. I remember being up a little hill in what everyone called the “Invisible teepee”. Just 5 or 6 poles stood up together with a place to inside. The flash in the sky was one of those 12 gauge marine flare guns. After the first shot someone took it away from the guy and buried it and several more rounds.

  • ~jacobious says:

    One of my best friends, Brian is Buffalo Don’s youngest son. He moved to my home town after his mom died in the mid 80’s. “Murphy” had lot’s of crazy, almost unbelievable stories about his dad, though his dad died when my friend was a young child. Buffalo Don was quite a character, and also an abusive man. His wife was one of the first women acquitted of murder using the “battered wife” defense.
    I remember the summer of 1990 we visited the old ranch and walked all around it, 4th of July weekend. While there, we realized it was the 20th anniversary (to the day) of the Rock Festival! There was a guy we met who was walking to one of the man made lakes to go fishing, he couldn’t believe Brian was Buffalo Don’s son, he told us when he was a kid, he remembered a family friend who was a State trooper showed a 8mm film of the festival. The Washington State Patrol had actually done under-cover surveillance!
    Brian used to have a great scrap book that was his dad’s, -all kinds of interesting stuff, including Rock Festival ticket’s, articles and photographs. Unfortunately his neglectful, older brother actually let the thing end up in a land fill after a move.
    Thanks so much for the article, and a place for folks to post memories, I’m gonna send my friend a link to this page, it’s got some of the only historical info left about the event.

    • dimettler says:

      Thank you SO much for your comments. I’m glad to hear Brian is doing well. I can only imagine the stories he has to tell — good and bad. I remember him as a kid when I was going to school. Had hoped that all was going well for them as adults after such a traumatic childhood.

  • melissaka says:

    anyone know back when this music festival going on..that a woman and man both fell off cliff near waterfall in the 1973 an that where from las vegas or reno but the woman was from pierce county but living in lasvegas or reno…I heard the man started to slip and the woman grab a hold of him and they both fell to their death…does anyone recall this or have a article or know who theses people were…thank you

  • Ron Skinner says:

    I was stationed at Ft Lewis at the time. My drinking buddy from Nebraska and I (I was from upstate NY at the time-although I was from Florida originally, and now from Texas} drove to the event on Sunday {I think it was Sunday} We had a gallon of wine we drank, since we did not use drugs. I had only a few frames left to take with my instamatic camera, but I did get one from the top of the first waterfall before I ran out of film. I seem to remember going back there weeks later with another friend, and we went downstream quite aways. Had trouble getting up one small waterfall on our way back to the car. I remember al the nude girls, don’t remember the bands..

  • […] For those that didn’t know Don, he was a colorful individual. He was at one time an amateur middleweight boxing champion, a uranium-mining prospector, and later ran a lumber salvage yard on Waller Road. He was more wildly known for the activities on his ranch, including raising American bison and holding a rock festival. […]

  • Eric Lantz says:

    I was there. A great site,wonderful bowl for acoustics and audience alike. Great light show as well. James Cotton Blues Band is well remembered. The crowd was spent from the partying and great music all day earlier. It was late in the evening, and the stage had gone quiet. We were thinking that was it for the day. From the stage they announced that The James Cotten Blues Band had arrived on site but there was no money to pay them. The announcer asked us to show our appreciation If the band was to play. Very slowly the audience began to respond, than it became a roar. James Cotton hit the stage and and it was on, the band digging us as much as we were digging them. That night I witnessed one of most outstanding performances I’ve ever seen.(And I was about to call it a night).

  • Tyler Anderson says:

    Hi there, I know I’m a little late but I just saw these comments. My name is Tyler Anderson and I live in Graham, Washington (little town 15 minutes from Eatonville) I’ve been here my entire life. My mom’s side of the family is strictly born and raised Eatonville and all of her relatives were loggers. To this day I have lots of family up there. I have tons of passed-down stories from my grandpa and great uncles about this music festival and I hike around up at Don Murphy’s place at least 2-3 times a month and I’m very familiar with the area. I also promote music shows and I’m not half bad at it if I say so myself. If anyone is interested in making this happen again, same place, and putting on a 2nd Buffalo Music Festival. Lets e-mail back and forth and I would be very interested in helping out with anything. On another note I CANNOT believe Country Joe, Canned Heat, and Big Brother played the festival, it truly was a mini Woodstock. and Diane if you were to ever write a book I would love to pick up the first publishing 😀
    Love looking at this stuff so much

  • Judy says:

    I attended one day of the festival with a friend. I still have a flyer in excellent condition that tells about it and on the backside it has map on how to get there. Listed among the other guests and speakers appearing will be: Canned Heat, Rockin Foo, James Cotton, Mitch Ryder, Floating Bridge, Kansas Standard, Crome Syrcus, Cannonball, Butterfat, Axis Drive, Mojo Hand, Sleepy John, Albatross, Albert King, Old Liver, Portland Zoo, Elijah, Timber, Boulder Creek, Soda Creek, Because, Invisible Circus, Peece, Sky, Loiter Blues Band, Janet McCloud, Mineral Water, Indian Pudding & Pipe, Mixed Blood, Northwest Rock’n’roll band, Mountain Health Beggars Opera, Carl Maxey, Everyday people, Chip Marshall, La Raza Unida Party, David Llorenz Richard Dokken, Charlie Mink, and Don Kennedy. There were other bands and well known people there but it doesn’t list them. It said because of their contracts, they cannot be advertised since they will be appearing for free.

    • dimettler says:

      Hi,
      If you have the ability to scan and email that to me (diane@spilledinkstudio.com) I’ll make sure to get it up there.
      I’m also looking at writing a book on the topic. May coming knocking on your door (or email). 🙂
      Diane

  • Ron LaCaria says:

    I was there for all three days of the festival. I had just turned 19. My friend Ron; owner of a head shop in Tacoma was part of the coordinators so we left early and got in with no problems. We set up a tent with two or three of our friends. Ron and I were recruited to water the Buffalo in the corral on the property. We had to carry a 50 gallon drum of water to the creek, fill it and carry it back to the corral. It was an awesome event despite the singular death that occurred.
    Yeah; I don’t remember much about the music either! I do remember swimming, getting high, sleeping on the ground and waking up to a cow standing over me! Good times!

  • David Laue says:

    My oldest sister Mary Ide took me took me to the rock festival in eatonville. I was only 12 years old,she had what was called the tinker toy windmill and sold homemade jelly and jam and fresh bread with peanut butter to everybody. She gave it to people that didn’t have any money and were hungry.it was quite an adventure. I was there with my nephews one and two years yonger than I. Merle and Jon pulse were there names.

  • Deanna King says:

    Just wanting to add a day trip up to Murphy’s place.

  • Deanna King says:

    Mom loaded us little one up and were made it up there .We got there it was something to see when your 7 years old .WE had went walking threw the tents and getting ask if we wanted to smoke. We said no then us kids walk up to one the ponds. It was a shock to see them naked. Then we went back to the house. Then mom said get in the car .My dad was up there .So we went to ocean shore with the Daly family.

  • Bernie says:

    Where was the festival site? would like to drive by there and see where all this happened.

  • Diane says:

    Hi, Bernie,
    There isn’t a festival site, per se. But if you drive through Eatonville, up toward Mountain Rainier, you will drive past the farm where it too place. I believe there are still buffalo in the fields.

  • Bill Price says:

    I came up from Portland with Jerry Dill from the Portland Zoo. I gave him a hit of some mescaline and he never made it on stage.I remember that every one was searching the tree line for him! The headliner for the show was Fever Tree.

  • John Nagle says:

    I remember a time after the rock festival when Buffalo Don had a group living up there that were trying to build a rocket to fly into space. They actually had a partial rocket built when we visited. We were friends of the family. I remember riding on a dozer with Don while he demolished a building in Tacoma for my father. I always heard that one man fell into the Mashell and that he was a soldier from Ft, Lewis??? My father had like a thousand tickets that I think Don tried to get him to sell. They were in our shed at the lake for years, but not sure what happened to them.

    • dimettler says:

      Did anyone take pictures of the rocket?

    • Robin says:

      Hi John, are you John and Ruth’s son? My ex and I were caretakers at the Nagle’s old horse ranch on OK Hwy and Clay City Road in ’82. I remember talking with John Sr. about Don Murphy and hearing his memories of the rock festival. He had some great stories to share with Kenny and I while visiting at a lake house up there.

      To everyone else that are sharing your memories of this great event in Eatonville, thank you! I was only 9 at the time, but I certainly remember all of the coverage on the local news, The Tacoma News Tribune and my dad griping about all of those “damn Hippies!” lol. My dad was pretty straight laced at the time, so we had to cancel a camping trip that weekend. The following weekend we did go camping and drove past Murphy’s. there were still a few stragglers left on the land. I remember wishing I was older so that I could have attended. I wanted to be a free sprit too!

  • John Nagle says:

    I have never seen any. It was on the right of their house and in front of the building that looked like a partly finished apartment building. You can ask Claire. I believe you may know her. Tim C’s wife. She went there too when we were younger.

  • josh says:

    YES! A movie script about a small logging community trying to recapture and recreate a 40-yr old hippie-era rock festival. With this incredible cast of past characters, especially monsterous and larger-than-life Buffalo Don, the rocketship, the drugs, the tragedy of the young mystery man burried in an anonymous grave, the withered sense of promise as everything turned to money in the ’80s now reborn in a kaleidoscopic convergence of aging boomers and young eco-anarchists, loggers, hippies, soldiers, techies, dreamers, mountain baggers, a crazy ex-Boeing engineer building a new rocket ship that he’s planning on blasting off on the last night of the festival, reporters, cops, merchants, bikers…and a 13-yr old girl and her horse who doesn’t fit in anywhere, watching it all unfold, racing to save a stray dog the engineer caught living near the grave of the anonymos hippie and is planning on shooting into space on his rocket as the test subject.

    Your thread has been active for four years. It should tell you something about the strength of this material.

  • josh says:

    Oh, and the Mountain. Majestic and eternal. The mountain gazes down on all. While the people look… up. Ad astra per aspera.

  • Maleahia says:

    Too bad it wasn’t a yearly event. 🙁 Stupid government.

  • terry lee says:

    i was there, i did not read any thing about the paper pamplets dropped over the site,to surrender, i thought ok lets go, what could they do with us? i did not read about the police not letting the sanacans onto the site,(so the slit trenchs and shitters on sledges we dug and built) i did not read about the poor guy who fell off the waterfall and the police not letting the ambulance in untill he died, then using this against us saying, “they came for blood and found it” in the media, i did not read a thing about how we got the guitars and everything else through the woods in defiance of the pigs by wacking a trail through the woods, and since the site was closed and we had the generater, guitars, and some amps, and made music anyway.

    the guy that had bought the farm from the u. of w. since the rules u of w could not do politics and the farm still had them as a principal lien holder it was tecnically against the law for political party to be on their turf. i was there years later and there was still a commune there, i hope it still is,

    • dimettler says:

      Thank you for the comments. What do you remember from the event?

    • gani says:

      Hi terry lee…..
      I was there too but not privy to what some of you went through to make this happen. I remember there where hassles and some of the tactics by those downright cruel (omitted), AKA the powers that be, but mostly I remember the music and good times. So I wish to thank you and all involved with all my heart for your efforts. You made it possible for a lot of folks to come together in the name a higher ideal and music in a beautiful setting. What a party!

  • Smoke Pfeiffer says:

    I have not posted here since January 2012. Was p[art of the cleanup crew after the concert was over. When released from a lovely 76 days in the Peirce County Jail, I went with a bunch of folks and sneaked into Jimmie Hendrix’s private memorial at the Coliseum. Security finally noticed us and we jumped from a 2nd story window. After my ankle healed, I went back to the Murphy Ranch to get whatever belongings of mine may have still been there. They still had my pack, my two rifles, a revolver. My guitar, camping supplies and reloading equipment were all gone as was my VW van for court costs. Went back for a visit in the summer of 1972. Don gave me about $125.00 he figured he owed me but I would not go back to work for him. Saw him smack around his wife and stopped it. The couple of days I was there that time he ways always saying the men who worked for him had sexual relations with his wife or wanted to. Both definitely not true. She was a was a hard worker and kind to us poor wayfaring strangers that passed in and out of the Ranch and Salvage yard. We were all also very concerned about him flying into a rage sometime and hurting his children. The ones that (like me) that lived at the ranch got a $1.00 a day cash and room and board. He would buy us boots or jeans or a shirt or gloves when we needed them on top of that.

  • Smoke Pfeiffer says:

    OH: I nearly forgot! The cops had the high entrance blocked off since the buffalo party did not have all its paperwork done. A local Major Ahern (if I remember right), got a bulldozer and he or a friend dozed another road into the area for the vendors. We loved listening to his tales about Alien Abduction so we renamed him “Captain Zappo”. 🙂 After that the police gave up and took down their road block. Their raid on the cleanup crew days later was pretty much an act of vengeance.

  • Marsha says:

    Love all this info! Where (exactly, please) was the location. My dad told me incorrectly…..

  • southOFzero says:

    Amazing. So many years ago. I was there too, and the memories ahh, yeah I too remember so little. We drove in from Tacoma. Just remember having an awesome time, and great music.

    The movie idea is a fantastic idea. I’ve been living in South America for over 2 years now, but would love to make another trip back to Washington for a summer visit. I’ve actually visited this site several times over the past couple years, and my comments never posted. Hope this one does.

    • dimettler says:

      I’m not sure why your comments didn’t post. I’m the one who approves them. Feel free to post again. I have approved your name, so it should all go through now.

      And P.S. I am working on a script and book. Would LOVE to hear about your memories of the event.

  • Mike says:

    No Prob, It might have been my internet connection the first couple times. I’m in South America, and service is different. But I finally got a faster provider, and now it posted.

    Anyway, like a others others, I don’t remember much more than being there. After that, it was pretty much a blur. I vaguely remember driving out of Tacoma. And don’t remember the music, except that there WAS music. Also remember the pit toilets, among others. We were there for 3, or 4 days. To Jeff Lawson, lost in the mists of thyme, I like it. Yeah Barbara Kaye, I remember the taped music on the second day too. (that actually jogged an old memory, thanks ! So many excesses of EVERYTHING. I don’t even remember how we got back to Tacoma. All I remember, was waking up the next morning.

    I really love the movie idea, and also think a reunion concert would be awesome. But your idea regarding a book/movie about the town putting on a rock festival is also very cool. Each time I visit this site, it helps revisit old memories, and I remember more events from the festival.

  • southOFzero says:

    Sorry,somehow, I mistakenly used the wrong username on that last post. The name should have been southOFzero.

  • southOFzero says:

    No Prob, It might have been my internet connection the first couple times. I’m in South America, and service is different. But I finally got a faster provider, and now it posted.

    Anyway, like a others others, I don’t remember much more than being there. After that, it was pretty much a blur. I vaguely remember driving out of Tacoma. And don’t remember the music, except that there WAS music. Also remember the pit toilets, among others. We were there for 3, or 4 days. To Jeff Lawson, lost in the mists of thyme, I like it. Yeah Barbara Kaye, I remember the taped music on the second day too. (that actually jogged an old memory, thanks ! So many excesses of EVERYTHING. I don’t even remember how we got back to Tacoma. All I remember, was waking up the next morning.

    I really love the movie idea, and also think a reunion concert would be awesome. But your idea regarding a book/movie about the town putting on a rock festival is also very cool. Each time I visit this site, it helps revisit old memories, and I remember more events from the festival.

  • Randy says:

    I was 17 years old, and lived with the Buffalo Party group on a small commune in Juanita. I had moved in with them in May, and watched this event come together that summer. Jay and Holly, Steve and Bonnie, Alex, Mark. I can’t use any last names, but I remember the absolute pure mystical heaven I had been so blessed to fall into.. I have quite a few stories I CAN share, and a few that I can’t. I am Very happy I found this site. More to come.

  • Margaret Bailey says:

    I didn’t go! I’m from Tacoma, but was living in SF at the time. But I want to tell you a funny story about my Dad. He was a super conservative guy, and if we couldn’t drink of do drugs without risking his wrath. But when I came home from SF for the summer, my Dad was all jacked up, really excited, talking about the Buffalo Party and Rock Festival, and how he was getting involved as a Buffalo Party promoter! I kept thinking, “Is this a test or something?” I’m not sure if he attended the event or not. But I just couldn’t believe my Dad would even talk about such things. But that wasn’t the big shocker. My conservative, rabidly anti-drug Dad went on to ask me about pot! The funny part was because Dad had eleven children, he always bought cases of stuff by the case, like tuna, peaches, toilet paper, etc. Anyways, Dad asked me specifically about Thai stick, which you probably know was very expensive high quality marijuana buds that came wrapped around little wood sticks, usually tied with string. Just as if he was at GovMart buying a case of something, he said he would like to get a couple POUNDS of Thai stick!!. As in, could I get him a case of it? HAHAHAHA!!! That whole conversation with my Dad was like being in some alter universe. I moved to Hawaii shortly after that, and only saw my Dad once a year or so, but my siblings tell me he did become a pot smoker. That’s how the Buffalo Party convention touched our lives.

  • Kalli (Murphy) Cropper says:

    Diane, Please contact me. I am the oldest biological grandchild of the notorious Buffalo Don Murphy. Out of 8 children, my father was his firstborn and his mom was his first of five marriages. The details depicted in true story,The Burning Bed seemed mild compared to the details my dad and grandma shared with me. The incident of the “Burning Bed” happened in 1977 but it was Don Murphy’s last wife that won the first case in the nation for “battered wife syndrome” two years prior. My dad has a razor sharp memory and he is finally starting to open up about his childhood. Don Murphy was a socio-path that was shot deservinly shot 5 times by his last wife. Geneal was a hero on our side of the family. We would very much like to reconnect with the 5 children that my dad, mom and grandparents reached out to help save. It was through my side of our family that efforts were made to pick up Geneal and the 5 kids and move them 2 states away in a “safehouse” a short time before Don Murphy’s life was ended. The 5 kids were very young but maybe some of the older ones remember. I was almost 5 the summer of 1975. I am 45 now. One of the first things I ever remeber my dad teaching me, besides how to make a farting sounf with my armpit, is the wisest people in life learn from other people’s mistakes. My dad was and still is, wise. He had an almost undescribable childhood…a PG version of the Burning Bed but he grew to be a wonderful father that is taking care of my 96 year old grandma, Don Murphy’s first wife. I would live to get to know the 5 children that are all just alittle bit older than I am. We visit the Pulluiup/Edgewater/Tacoma area, to be exact about every other year.

    Sincerely,

    Kalli (Murphy) Cropper 928.303.9775 kallicropper@yahoo.com

  • Kalli (Murphy) Cropper says:

    Diane, I also sent you an email yesterday with even more details. I sent it to the spilledinkstudio.com address. So if you havent received it yet, then you know to expect it.

  • DW Iverson says:

    Wow I just discovered this site. I was looking up James Cotton, I’m a blues lover, and found and read all the posts. I got out of the military at the end of 67, and dropped out became a freak and have hundreds of stories. Anyway I too was at the festival. I remember being at the road block getting ripped and all of the cops, bikers and freaks milling around when I saw some bikers kick some barracades over and roar through. I think they were the Shifters anyway we all just followed them on up past the county mounties standing there. I had on hell of a good time. Does anyone remember Puzzel Man? He was always being paged to fix something or figure out some problem, we crossed paths 2 years later in Bellingham which was called the Haight Asbury of the NW then. I remember James Cotton but not really who else.I remember a rumor that J Joplin who was playing in Seattle was going to appear….didnt happen. I remember spilling a whole bottle of Petulie oil on me. So when it was over I found my truck with flat tire and no spare I had to get to the employment office in Auburn to tell them I had been doing my damnest to find a job to get my unemplyment check. So I hitched a ride and was dropped off at the employment office ..I was a mess 3 days living in the dirt, no sleep taking every mind expander I was handed and washing it down with Spenada wine. I smelled of petulia oil,weed, wine and for some reason could not blink! I was given a wide birth in the employment line that morning. A Great time was had!

  • DW Iverson says:

    Hi I left a comment here last night about my time at the festival. I was wondering why it hasn’t posted yet.

  • DW Iverson says:

    Opps my bad there it is.

  • Tyler Anderson says:

    Been coming to this thread for years to read everyone’s stories. And reading about you writing a script/book gives me goosebumps. Very cool.

  • marvin says:

    been a long time and at 65 years old it’s good to see that there’s more ole dinosaurs like myself who were there at this most amazing event!I was at that roadblock that was kicked over,stood in front of Joe McDonald as he sang what was our theme song in basic training “one two three what are we fight’n for?don’t ask me cause I don’t give a damn! Next stop is Viet-Nam!etc: and the cooliest part was when some planes flew over and dropped out sky divers and one of them lit right on top of Country Joes amp as he was singing that song! I was honorably discharged from the us army in feb of 1969…was a long haired freedom lov’in radical hippy before the forced haircut and remain a long hair still I’m happy to say! I lived walked talked and breathed the sixties to the best of my abilities and I LOVE the Truth being told about how it really was then! I was happy then with a Guitar a sleeping bag and a leather jacket nomatter where I was or who I was with and this concert was my first ever major music event although I was a musician myself and still am so YES! the music was my reason for being there!It was rumored that Hendrix was gonna be there and Janis too but I never seen either! Since this concert was ordered to be called off by the government of the state of Washington {thus the road blocks} being our creative rebellious youth of the day we just pushed the concert up a day ahead and caught em with their pants down ya might say? while they were still trying to set up a perimeter of highway patrol and national guard troops to block us off! UNITED WE STOOD! and it WORKED!!should’a seen the looks on their faces when they ordered us not to go any further down the road and somebody yelled who are you GOD or Something? and the whole crowd just walked right on through the barricades, cops and all! anyway I’m gett’in kinda long winded here and I love talking about those days gone by sure glad I just stumbled across this site this morning! I hitch-hiked by the way from my home in the black hills of south Dakota to this concert with 4 friends. I hope this is seen by others and I’ll look forward to reading more of their memories! This true story is as plain to me as yesterday! Anyone reading this (who’s over 50)will understand the difference between short term and long term memories?? Ha! Ha! one works much better than the other! It’s up to you to figure out which is which? Good Luck!

    • dimettler says:

      This is wonderful. You can be as longwinded as you want. Do you live around the area? I’m looking at shooting a documentary this summer about the event. Would love to include you. 🙂

    • dimettler says:

      Hi, Just wanted to say thank you for sharing these memories. We’re putting together a documentary right now on the rock festival. If you available to be interviewed, please let me know. Diane 🙂

  • Peeks Through Clouds says:

    Two friends and I, all from Kansas, were in Seattle for the summer, saw a poster and volunteered our construction skills to work on setup for the “convention.” We camped in relative isolation down by the creek for several days before and during the festival. I helped string some very iffy electric lines from the little house (used as medical HQ during the event) to the vendor booths, and later set up scaffolding for the stage and tried to keep people off the big generators that were brought in for the sound and stage lights. As I recall, the eventual headliners were James Cotton and Fever Tree. My best memories include munchies satisfied with raspberries, nymphs dancing under the waterfalls, learning to drink black coffee poured from a campfire percolator, and an evening with the camp cook. Breakfast was late…

  • Bernie Beatty says:

    Glad to give more info if needed on the incident at the waterfall. Good luck with the script.

  • dimettler says:

    Finally officially going ahead with the documentary. Website is wwww.eatonvillerockfestival.com and there’s a Facebook page too (Buffalo Rock). Looking forward to talking to everyone. 🙂

  • jonathan white says:

    I arrived late on Friday afternoon with two friends from Tacoma and we found the entrance to the festival was blocked. We drove part way back down the road and parked the car on a shoulder that we found and climbed down an embankment and hiked in. The police moved the road block down to the bottom of the hill near town so we went back and got the car later that night, not a soul was on the road. All through the night 100s of folks came through and by Saturday morning the place was filling up and starting to look like a rock festival.

    I was sitting down along the falls when the man fell to his death. At the time we didn’t know someone had fallen from the upper falls until someone approached us and told we needed to move so they could bring a body up down below. The body was placed on a stretcher and was covered. They had a group of search and rescue folks using ropes to pull the stretcher out of the canyon.

    Shortly after the event there was was a TV news segment about a local law enforcement employee who tried without any success to determine the identity of this individual to no avail. Money was raised and he is buried in a Pierce County cemetery which I think was located in the Puyallup area. Somewhere out there’s a family wondering whatever happened to their son or brother. I know they searched the database for missing persons but nothing ever came up.

    If you want to research this further I would start with the NW Room at the Tacoma Public Library in downtown Tacoma. The NW Room holds newspaper and other archival material and they have a helpful staff. They also have thousand of photos on line that might include the Buffalo Party.

  • ben rice says:

    Hello friends: My best pal and I went to the piano drop and all three Sky River Festivals. When the Buffalo Party was announced we made plans to go but ended up thinking the festival wouldn’t come off. We took off in his 58 Bug for Montana and Glacier Park. Two days after we arrived we got word it was on and we made it back. I will never forget the airplane flying over and dropping notices that we were all in trouble for disregarding the injunction against the event. Hilarious. Great memories. We were such lucky people to have experienced those moments! Peace to all and SAVE THE CHILDREN… VOTE!

    • dimettler says:

      Thank you so much for this. I’m not sure if you know that I’m working on a documentary about the event right now. If you’d like to check out some of the progress so far, here is the link to the Facebook page and website: http://www.eatonvillerockfestival.com, https://www.facebook.com/BuffaloRockDocumentary/

      • MC Dudley says:

        I was one of the “weird people” who attended the convention. Fresh out of the Army, and ready to party. A couple of years later, I ended up in Lester, Washington where there lived a retired school teacher I only knew as “Mrs. Murphy.” Somebody told me that it was her son who threw the Buffalo Party Convention. I wonder if that’s true. In any case, Lester is gone now. The last surviving resident was Mrs. Murphy.

        I sold trinkets and Oregon cigarettes during the convention to raise some dough. The trinkets did OK, but the cigarettes were a huge success. (I had done the same at Sky River II the year before. Made a lot of money on bootleg cigarettes. LOL)

        • dimettler says:

          Thank you for sharing this! I’m not sure if it was Mrs. Murphy’s son. I can try to check where his mother lived. — By the way, what were the “trinkets”?

          • MC Dudley says:

            Candles, incense burners, macrame key chains/roach clips, patchouli oil….

          • dimettler says:

            So did you set up a little stand? Just walk around?

          • MC Dudley says:

            Just sat on the ground (on a blanket.) Very casual. No closing time. No opening time. Got whoever was walking by to watch my stuff if I needed a short break. The first day or so, there was no place to “go” since the county had set up a roadblock and kept the porta-potties out. The woods were littered with white “flags.” At some point, a plane flew over and dropped thousands of leaflets notifying us that we were all under arrest. Somebody on the stage suggested that we all go turn ourselves in – after the event, of course. What a hoot. It wasn’t as good as Sky River II the year before, or Monterey Pop a couple of years earlier, but it was a good time. Good Luck with the documentary. Cheers.

          • dimettler says:

            Thank you! And thanks for the kind words of support. 🙂

  • merri says:

    I was there as well..I was suppose to meet friends there ,but they never showed up…I was 16 years old and alone.The weather was beautiful and the people were in good form.It was by far the best festival I attended…Satsop was cold and raining..It was truly amazing…

  • Jerri Teeter says:

    I was there! I remember alot of nude people, good music and drugs. lots of drugs.I had a blast. I lived in Kapowsin,Wa and was 13 or 14 years old at the time. Was the band Red Bones there?

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