Janis Joplin, Electric Flag, Sweetwater Concert Poster 1968 Santa Barbara, CA

A very unusual 1968 concert poster for Janis Joplin with Big Brother And The Holding Company in Santa Barbara, CA, that ignores Janis and instead shows the poster artist’s girlfriend prominently at the top.

This was a Jim Salzer Presentation, as it says along the bottom of the poster… he was the primary concert promoter for this area north of Los Angeles in the late 1960s.

So not only do you have some random chick adorning this poster, you have the Electric Flag pictured prominently in the middle, with no other mention anywhere of BBHC and future superstar Joplin.

Frank Bettencourt was the graphic artist who created this poster; he was a Salzer regular who did many late-60s concert poster designs for this promoter.

Big Brother was right on the verge of getting national attention, with a Columbia Records showcase two weeks later in New York that garnered rave reviews. The following month, they began recording their masterpiece, Cheap Thrills.

But it’s easy to overlook the headliners and just consider this a 1960’s Electric Flag concert poster, with Barry Goldberg, Michael Bloomfield, Nick Gravenites, Harvey Brooks and Buddy Miles included in the group photo. Even further to this point is the fact that the poster has American flag colors… red, white & blue.

It’s also odd that this poster doesn’t give you a lot of information. The show took place, as usual, at Santa Barbara’s Earl Warren Showgrounds, but all it says is “Earl Warren” below the Electric Flag’s name… how many people must’ve thought that was just another opening act?

And what about tickets? They aren’t mentioned anywhere, including pricing and where you can buy them. Heck, the poster doesn’t even say “In Concert” or “Live” on it anywhere… man, this was one odd duck of a concert poster!

Sweetwater has a nice footnote in rock history… they were the first group to take the stage at Woodstock, 18 months after this concert. They were supposed to open the festival, period, but got delayed, so Ritchie Havens did the honors with just his acoustic guitar. Then Sweetwater followed him.

This vintage item of 1960’s rock music memorabilia is discussed by collector Peter Howard, a resident of the Central California coast. That would be ME – smile – and I can be contacted thru pete@postercentral.com or [805] 540-0020. Please remember that I pay the BEST PRICES, PERIOD for vintage ’60s rock & roll memorabilia.

To see a few more of these nice posters, just head over to this page, also here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/psychedelic.htm

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One Response to Janis Joplin, Electric Flag, Sweetwater Concert Poster 1968 Santa Barbara, CA

  1. Frank Bettencourt says:

    Hello there, Pete. Interesting comments you made regarding this poster. With an email, or phone call, you could have answered many of the questions you posed. Instead of doing your homework, you expressed your lack of knowledge about this poster. In regards to the “girlfriend” image, she was my wife, at the time. I had a weekend to complete the poster, as was usual. Originally, there was a photo of Janis Joplin on the poster. I was asked to remove it and replace it, as the promoter or band did not want to feature Janis. Why the change was requested can remain a matter of speculation. Could be that the schism in the band was already presenting itself or that Janis did not like the image I had chosen. In any case, with time short, I used an available photo of my wife and glued it over the photo of Janis. No big mystery, simply matter of convenience. In regards to the lack of information on the poster, you may want to ask Jim Salzer, the concert promoter. I added exactly the wording requested, no more, no less. At age 18, I had learned that the customer was always right, even when they are wrong. Further information was usually stripped in at the printers. If there was a tight deadline, the poster was run as is, without further additions. This can be seen in several of the concert posters done for Jim Salzer, not just this one. Remember, there were no computers and all the work was hand done. There were no easy fixes and posters needed to be produced prior to the concerts, not after. These simple, logical answers could have been yours, had you asked. Then again, I guess making assumptions makes for a more interesting blog.

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