The Fillmore West was a historic rock and roll music venue in San Francisco, California, US 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 was 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. In June 2018, the top two floors of the building reopened as SVN West, a new concert and corporate event venue.

Fillmore West
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'
Address10 South Van Ness Avenue
LocationSan Francisco, California
Coordinates37°46′29″N 122°25′10″W / 37.774742°N 122.419433°W / 37.774742; -122.419433
OpenedJuly 5, 1968
ClosedJuly 4, 1971
DemolishedNo, building is now SVN West

History Edit

Originally, the El Patio Ballroom,[1][2][3][4] later the Carousel Ballroom, it was a swing-era dance palace, located at 1545 Market street,[5][6][7] on the second floor,[8][9] above the street-level retail at 10 South Van Ness Avenue.[10] 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."[11]

Due to various reasons[12][13][14] (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, one and a half miles[15] from the original Fillmore at 1805 Geary Boulevard.[16] He called this venue the Fillmore West (in contrast with Graham's Fillmore East auditorium in New York City).

Events Edit

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.[17]

The Grateful Dead were among the regulars at the Fillmore West, playing 64 concerts (including 18 under the name of the Carousel Ballroom) from 1968 to 1971.[18]

Closing Edit

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)[19][20][21] 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.

SVN West Edit

After housing a Honda car dealership for many years, the venue reverted to a music venue and event space called SVN West. Its first concert, a benefit, was held on June 14, 2018.[22][23]

References Edit

  1. ^ Watson, Sonny. "Vintage Nightclub, Ballroom, Saloon, Bar, Juke Joint, Hall and Pavilions Index List: 'E'". Street Swing. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Van Ness & Market, 1933 (Sign Images Added on Jun 9, 2016)". opensfhistory. Western Neighborhoods Project. Retrieved 30 November 2021.Van Ness & Market, 1933
  3. ^ "Santa Cruz Evening News". California Digital Newspaper Collection. 13 March 1934. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Carousel Ballroom". smironne. Archived from the original on 13 July 2004.
  5. ^ "Polk's Crocker-Langley San Francisco city directory (1940) by R.L. Polk & Co (page 643 of 690)".
  6. ^ "Review and Comment for 10 South Van Ness Preservation Alternatives for Draft EIR Case No. 2015-004568ENV" (PDF). Planning Department. San Francisco.
  7. ^ "Big Band Magic!: Downtown Dancing". KQED. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Carousel Ballroom (Fillmore West), 10 South Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA". Jerry's Brokendown Palaces. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  9. ^ "Interesting Santana places in San Francisco, CA". Santanamigos. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  10. ^ Hannan, Ross; Arnold, Corry. "Carousel Ballroom". CHICKEN ON A UNICYCLE. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  11. ^ "Big Brother And The Holding Company (Featuring Janis Joplin) Live At The Carousel Ballroom 1968". Music Direct. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  12. ^ "1545 Market Street, San Francisco, CA: The Bachelors live at The Carousel Ballroom, May 21, 1966". Rock Archaeology 101. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2021. The Carousel was owned by an Irishman, and Bill Graham apparently flew to Ireland to wrest the lease away from the bands. He succeeded, and moved his Fillmore operation to the much larger Fillmore West.
  13. ^ Reinartz, Joe (8 December 2018). "Fillmore West Faces Demolition". CelebrityAccess. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  14. ^ Whiting, Sam (December 6, 2018). "Former city planner fights to save Fillmore West from wrecking ball". Datebook. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Fillmore Auditorium, 1805 Geary Blvd to 10 S Van Ness Ave". Google Maps. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Fillmore West". Led Zeppelin. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Good vibes in the name of science". Rolling Stone, April 5, 1969.
  18. ^ "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
  19. ^ "Bill Graham Closes Fillmore, Marking The End Of An Age". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. July 5, 1971.
  20. ^ "Lot Detail - Fillmore West "Carousel Ballroom" Photograph Signed by 21 Performers". Retrieved 30 November 2021. signed by 21 performers in blue sharpie pen including: Robby Kreiger, Paul Kantner, John Kay, Rick Derringer, Country Joe, Duck Dunn, Jaimoe, Bonnie Bramlett, Cynthia Robinson, Gene Cornish, Corky Laing, Steve Katz, David LaFlame, Paul Cotton, Rusty Young, Dino Danelli, David Freibert, Gary Duncan, Steve Knight, Jerry Martini and Marty Balin.
  21. ^ "Quicksilver Messenger Service - Fresh Air". Paste Magazine. 30 June 2009. Fillmore West (San Francisco, CA), 07/03/1971
  22. ^ Cashmere, Paul (12 May 2018). "San Fran's Fillmore West to Reopen After 45 Years As SVN West". Noise11.
  23. ^ "Former Fillmore West to Host First Event in 45 Years for Pride Weekend". KQED. Retrieved 30 November 2021.

External links Edit