The Fillmore West was a historic rock and roll music venue in San Francisco, California, which became famous under the direction of concert promoter Bill Graham from 1968 to 1971. Named after The Fillmore at the intersection of Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard (which served as Graham's principal venue from 1966 to 1968), it stood at the southwest corner of Market Street and South Van Ness Avenue in the Civic Center district. There is now a Honda automobile dealership at that location. In June 2018, the top two floors of the building reopened as SVN West, a new concert and corporate event venue managed by Non Plus Ultra.
The Fillmore West in 1970; note the billboard advertising Workingman's Dead, and the retained Carousel Ballroom signage.
|Former names||'The Carousel Ballroom', 'El Patio'|
|Address||10 South Van Ness Avenue|
|Location||San Francisco, California|
|Opened||July 5, 1968|
|Closed||July 4, 1971|
|Demolished||No, building is now SVN West|
The Carousel Ballroom was originally a swing-era dance palace. Beginning in 1968, it was briefly operated by a collective formed by the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company as a social/musical "laboratory experiment". According to critic Joel Selvin, the "six-month run may well have corresponded with the height of the whole '60s Haight-Ashbury/San Francisco thing."
Due to various factors (including the socioeconomic deterioration of the Fillmore District, the modest capacity of The Fillmore, and financial difficulties faced by the collective), Bill Graham moved his prime concert location in July 1968 to this larger venue, less than one mile from the original Fillmore at 1805 Geary Boulevard. He called this venue the Fillmore West (in contrast with Graham's Fillmore East auditorium in New York City).
The Celestial Synapse was a musical event held at the Fillmore West on the evening of 19 February 1969. At least 3,000 people attended the event, hosted by the Frontiers of Science Fellowship. The performance began with a Tibetan Buddhist monk playing Tibetan gongs, and Grateful Dead played a set.
The Grateful Dead were among the regulars at the Fillmore West, having played a total of 64 concerts (including 18 under the imprimatur of the Carousel Ballroom) from 1968 through 1971.
After three years, Graham closed the Fillmore West on July 4, 1971, with five nights of shows featuring such San Francisco bands as Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service (who headlined the final performance at the venue) and a poetry reading from Allen Ginsberg. A documentary film of the last several concerts, called Fillmore, and a three-disc album, called Fillmore: The Last Days, were released in 1972.
- "Big Brother And The Holding Company (Featuring Janis Joplin) Live At The Carousel Ballroom 1968". Music Direct. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
- "Good vibes in the name of science". Rolling Stone, April 5, 1969.
- "Concert and Bill Graham interview at Fillmore West". Bay Area Television Archive.
KPIX Eyewitness News report from January 28th 1969 in San Francisco by Belva Davis featuring scenes from a rock concert at the Fillmore West venue and an interview with rock promoter Bill Graham
- "Bill Graham Closes Fillmore, Marking The End Of An Age". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. July 5, 1971.
- "Quicksilver Messenger Service - Fresh Air". Paste Magazine. 30 June 2009.
Fillmore West (San Francisco, CA), 07/03/1971
- Cashmere, Paul (12 May 2018). "San Fran's Fillmore West To Reopen After 45 Years As SVN West". Noise11.