Summer Jam At Watkins Glen Documentary In The Works

Never before seen archival footage of The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band’s historic 1973 concert will be included in the film.

By Scott Bernstein Aug 15, 2023 11:24 am PDT

Fifty years ago last month an estimated 600,000 people made their way to Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway in Upstate New York for the Summer Jam At Watkins Glen. The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band each played for the masses on July 28, 1973 after performing “soundcheck” sets the previous day. A documentary profiling one of the largest concerts in U.S. history is currently in production with a Kickstarter recently launched to help provide funding.

Art Horan (The Usual Suspects), Bruce Taylor (HBO, ESPN) and Eric Smith (ESPN) are producing the film with Robert Abbott (Port Of Destiny: Peace) directing. “Much has been written about Watkins Glen, but for the very first time it will be memorialized on film on this, its 50th Anniversary,” wrote Abbott in a director’s statement. “To help tell the story, we will use never before seen archival footage and we will include past and present interviews with the promoters, band members, attendees, and historians. We will highlight and feature music that was created and performed at Watkins Glen, music that continues to be embraced today by countless cover bands and enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide.”


Filmmakers have already conducted a number of interviews with the likes of ABB drummer Jaimoe, guitarist Derek Trucks, author Alan Paul, co-promoters Jim Koplik and Shelly Finkel as well as the Dead’s manager at the time Sam Cutler before he passed away last month. “Shelly Finkel and I always knew that there should be a film made about the 1973 Summer Jam at Watkins Glen,” explained Koplik on his Facebook page. “It was important to us that IF it happened, it would be independent and truthful. Well, better late than never. We feel we found the right filmmakers – they’re pros, they’re fans, they get it, they’ve won a ton of Emmys, and they’re as independent as Shelly and I were, back in the day.”

Rewards for those who contribute to the Kickstarter for the Summer Jam At Watkins Glen Documentary include advance streaming of the film, downloads with bonuses, your name in the filnm’s closing credits, t-shirts and more goodies. Pledges can be made at various levels.

Watch a trailer for the film/Kickstarter campaign below:

JamBase Collections