Concert Poster Conversation Recap: The History of The Fillmore and Bill Graham

by Katy Trosch

Concert_Poster_Conversations_5B-300x169 Concert Poster Conversation Recap: The History of The Fillmore and Bill GrahamHave you been keeping up with our Concert Poster Conversations series? Each week, we’ve been releasing a new informative video on our YouTube channel designed to educate and inform concert poster collectors. The series features Glen Trosch, president of the Psychedelic Art Exchange and an expert in the field. The subject of this week’s video is the history of The Fillmore and Bill Graham in San Francisco.

Who Was Bill Graham? billy-g-300x169 Concert Poster Conversation Recap: The History of The Fillmore and Bill Graham

Bill Graham was perhaps the greatest rock concert promoter and impresario of all time. He was responsible for running the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco from 1966 to 1968, and later on, opened the Fillmore West and Fillmore East. Subsequently, he is responsible for one of the most legendary poster series’ of all time. The BG numbered poster series features 289 original posters, as well as handbills and postcards dating from 1966 to 1972. These posters were designed by some of the greatest artists of the time, such as Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Bonnie MacLean, and Rick Griffin. 

mimetroupe-edit-231x300 Concert Poster Conversation Recap: The History of The Fillmore and Bill GrahamBill Graham’s career began when he started to manage the San Francisco Mime Troupe in 1965. He initially promoted benefit shows for the troupe. These benefit shows were in response to the arrest of the Mime Troupe’s founder Ronnie Davis, who was charged for performing without a permit in public parks. Then, in January of 1966, Graham assisted in producing the Trips Festival. This festival brought San Francisco’s underground art scene together and featured music along with experimental art. Performances by Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Grateful Dead at the festival went down in history, and it was essentially the launch of the Grateful Dead’s success. Two weeks later, Graham took over the Fillmore Auditorium. The numbered poster series then began. jeffersonairplane_edit2-236x300 Concert Poster Conversation Recap: The History of The Fillmore and Bill Graham

This Week’s Concert Poster Conversation

In this week’s Concert Poster Conversation video, we look at two pieces from this important period in music and poster history. The first is a handbill from one of the Mime Troupe benefit shows. Following that, we delve into the first poster in the BG series. The BG-1 advertised Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore Auditorium. Artist Peter Bailey designed it. As Glen reminds us in the video, the number 1 is the most important number in collectibles. The poster seen in this video is the BG-1-OP-2, meaning the second original printing. Make sure to watch to learn what the differences are between the OP-1 and OP-2. Additionally, you’ll discover the true value of both pieces discussed!

This video is part 1 of two videos in which we’ll discuss the history of the Fillmore and Bill Graham. The second video will be released next week, and we’ll be looking at two rare BG posters from the year 1966. Watch this week’s video here, and make sure to subscribe to the channel and turn your notifications on! Additionally, drop us a comment to let us know what you think of the video and the series, or let us know what topics you’d like to see us cover. And don’t forget to check out our concert poster price guide- we hope to have the BG series up for you to browse soon.

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