A really fun, wildly psychedelic Jimi Hendrix concert poster from the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, dating to Feb. 21 and 22, 1968.
Although the poster’s design is attributed only to “Strange” down at the bottom, it was, in fact, designed and hand-drawn by Rob (Icabod) Stewart and Carl Howard. Both gentlemen were employees of the Factory, and were charged with hand-painting the psychedelic murals inside the venue.
This vintage Hendrix Electric Factory concert poster is rather large and commanding… approximately 23 x 35” in size.
“Electric Factory” across the top refers to both the concert hall and the promoter’s company. When the Experience came into town, the venue had been open for business only since early February – just a couple of weeks.
The wildly imaginative artwork of the band that dominates this Hendrix Electric Factory in-person poster really blows the mind. It would take a long time to search through the entire artwork and find all the little hidden things like peace signs, the planet Saturn, etc. etc.
Adding to the fun is the color changes that swirl throughout the entire poster… with red and blue-green being predominant. It looks fairly random, but perhaps the designer or printer was specific about where they wanted which color. Can you please step forward, Mr. “Strange”?
The dates of the shows are clearly given on this Hendrix Electric Factory fence poster, but the show times are not. Who knows when things finally got underway at each of the four performances, but on the second night, Jimi’s set didn’t conclude until 3 o’clock in the morning!
Obviously, 1968 was before rock concerts became big business, and things became toned down to a sane level by local governments, heavy-handed managers, curfew laws, computer-generated backing tracks and so forth. Personally, I’ll still take the old days any day!
Luckily, the brilliant design of this Hendrix Electric Factory concert sign was not wasted on just one performance… it was used to sell tickets for four shows – early and late shows on both February 21 and 22.
As for what the band played, if only we knew for sure… but serious collectors know of no tapes that exist for any of the shows, and therefore no track lists for certain.
Two other bands were scheduled for these gigs as well, and their names on right there on the Hendrix Electric Factory street poster… Woody’s Truck Stop (a local outfit) and the well-known Soft Machine. The latter hailed from England and toured heavily with Jimi throughout 1968.
However, the Soft Machine’s organ, a key ingredient of their show, did not arrive in time for the first performance on February 21, so they only played the late show on that date.
I really enjoy the way the artist portrayed Jimi and his two bandmates on this Hendrix Electric Factory window poster; it’s very fleeting. But it was all in the interest of being trippy and psychedelic, as opposed to literal, like boxing-style concert posters were.
For example, we know that’s Jimi in the middle, but who’s to say if drummer Mitch Mitchell is on the left and bassist Noel Redding is on the right, or vice versa?
It’s a shame that this Hendrix Electric Factory event poster was the only great one that this Philadelphia promoter ever had made. It even says “No. 1” at the bottom, teasing that maybe it was the first in a series, like the Bill Graham stuff out west.
But alas, the promoter would never again produce such a masterpiece of a poster going forward. Not even for Big Brother & the Holding Company, which came along later in 1968. Can you imagine Janis Joplin’s rendition there in the middle, with other band members around her, in such a psychedelic rendering? That would’ve been so great.
This Hendrix Electric Factory broadside is discussed with great enthusiasm by collector Peter J. Howard. That’s me, naturally, and I can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org or by dialing (805) 540-0020. And please always remember that I would pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY, bar none, for a vintage Hendrix Electric Factory concert advertisement like this, or most other Hendrix concert posters.
To see another great, vintage Hendrix window sign with the Soft Machine, just jam over to this page right here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/psychedelic.htm