Grateful Dead Legend Valley Ohio promo

The Grateful Dead had a Love for certain Venues and settings. For a band that played so long and performed countless shows and Places like the Great Pyramid of Egypt, they had a particular fondness for Ohio. “Legend Valley” as it was known before the switch to “Buckeye Lake Music Center” has been the place to be to host all manner of events with all the camping legends.

In the end, as much as it’s been said “There are some who know about the Dead from their most popular songs on the radio, but there was nothing like a Grateful Dead concert

When did the Grateful Dead play Legend Valley Ohio Last?

Buckeye Lake Music Center Ticket Grateful Dead Ledgend Valley Ohio The Grateful Dead “Love for Legend Valley Ohio

The Dead played Ohio 49 times from 1968 to 1994. Their first was at Veterans Memorial, and the last was Legend Valley and that is fitting. That was the only time our crew was upfront, dealing with the Rain and as The bands, appropriate humor was in top form they opened with The Beatle’s “Rain” and they were right, we didn’t mind… The venue was rather like our own mini “Woodstock type festival”, in a beautiful woodland setting.

In the shows, I attended there were roughly 60 thousand in the field of legend valley. A Large number were still camping and hanging out on “Shakedown St.”  It was always a magical experience to just be there. It was almost always a problem-free zone.

I say almost because of one other organization that seemed to have loved the place more than the band and the Heads.  That would be  Law Enforcement. Ohio at the time still was a bit of a trip back in time when it came to the attitude of The Sheriff’s dept and the Ohio State Patrol. I saw it as the 1960s all over again in “the Damn Long Hairs” look in their eye. 

It was running the Gauntlet on the road to Thornville. Once you entered the grounds then you had passed challenge one. The secondary was getting into the Concert area from the Parking. You Had a couple of ticket takers and 3 Police officers per line looking at you Hard. 

It was a bit like “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, the Ether, and the Two dollar turnstile.

After you were injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected, and selected the 27 8×10 color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, you could have a sigh of relief. Once you got inside, it was pure Joy. You could move freely and breathe even in a modest 60 thousand Heads.

Grateful Dead-Box of Rain-6/25/88 legend valley concert venue and campground

I was at 4 of the 5 shows and most aspects of those experiences were a blast. Even when we met adversity we turned it into fun. One shows the venue and security had decided that there would be no more crossing from Parking lot 1 to 2 . This meant we would have had a very long trip around to get to the gate. Their reasons were to control the trade and sale of illicit items. This was the start of a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for L.S.D. and of course, no one there would ever have any of that vile stuff, nudge nudge wink say no more.

We chose the fact that there were thousands of us against 6 security guards. In the wooded area between our destination.  So we began the movement and were being threatened by the six guys. It became “Talk to the Hand” as 20 odd Dead Heads circled the 6 and locked arms rendering them useless as the rest of us marched through freely. To extra effect, a few thousand of us were calling out “MOOOO” as our Herd moved through.

GD buckeye lake music center June 9 1991 Sun complete stabilized

GD Buckeye Lake Legend Valley Concert 1992

Legend Valley Ohio The Lost Land Festival Location

Grateful Dead Legend Valley Ohio The Grateful Dead “Love for Legend Valley Ohio

Legend Valley evolved from a grassroots entity in the early ’70s and by the late ’70s became the place to be. In the ’80s and ’90s Hosted the premiere names in music. Often being the only place large enough to hold an activity or a music festival.

For perspective, I attended my second “Metallica” show there during the Black Album tour. Years before, friends of mine went to Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” tour. If you dig through youtube you will find amazing things documented from the 1970s to just recent events. Its full story can be found here.

Grateful Dead valley concert- Live at Buckeye Lake 6/11/93 [Full Concert]

Buckeye Lake Music Center Ticket Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead “Love for Legend Valley Ohio

GRATEFUL DEAD Buckeye Lake OH 7-29-94 set 1.mpg

GRATEFUL DEAD Buckeye Lake OH 7 29 94 set 2

I wanted to pull all this material together in one place to hopefully share the memories. You may have been there. We Deadheads have a million stories to share, and The Grateful Dead had as many songs to sing to bring us those memories.

I’ve embraced the shows of Dead and Company now 3 times as well and they are a bundle of fun. They bring to Pavilions and arena’s their own magic. It however fun takes me back to Jerry G. and I miss that gift in time tremendously. 

It was indescribably special and beyond ownership and name change. It will always Be “Legend Valley Ohio” to me and many others.

P.S. If anyone locates more documentation from 1988 let me know I would love to include it. Phil’s “Box of Rain” is superb regardless.

By Jimmy Flemming

Jimmy Fleming is a Dystonia advocate and Guitarist from Ohio. He authored and co wrote interviews on over 100 articles about guitar and bands on Guitardoor Listen to his latest music and full biography on his website.

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