The Electric Factory turns 50 years old soon, and cofounder Larry Magid is celebrating by auctioning off a few pieces of Philadelphia rock history.
The famed Philly concert promoter helped open the original Electric Factory at 22nd and Arch Streets back in February 1968, and eventually became a co-owner of the venue. Throughout the late 1960s and ’70s, Magid made a name for himself by bringing then-major rock acts of the day to town, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Bob Dylan, as well as future greats like Pink Floyd and the Allman Brothers.
During that time, however, Magid’s influence also grew beyond the Electric Factory; he also helped bring shows to the Theatre of Living Arts, the Tower Theater, and the Spectrum. Magid was also instrumental in putting on the 1985 Live Aid concert in Philadelphia alongside fellow legendary promoters Bill Graham and Bob Geldof.
“We were the shamans of a new generation,” Magid says of his early days booking shows. “The music was our message, and the possibilities were dreams that hadn’t manifested themselves but were getting closer day by day.”
Today, Magid still owns the Electric Factory as a venue, but sold Electric Factory Concerts in 1998, the promotion company in charge of events at the space, to a company that would later be acquired by Live Nation. Magid left the company, and since 2010, he has been running his own operation with Larry Magid Entertainment, which also books shows.
Five decades after helping bring rock-and-roll to Philly with the Electric Factory, Magid is partnering with Huggins & Scott Auctions to sell some of the great modern music artifacts that he has come into possession of over the years. All lots opened Oct. 27 at noon and end Nov. 9.
Here are five cool items from Magid’s personal collection that you can own — if you’ve got the scratch:
Opening bid: $7,500
OK, so Jerry never actually played this guitar onstage, but as the auction house points out, it is the first guitar signed only by the famed Grateful Dead front man to ever reach an auction house. As it turns out, Garcia and Magid developed a friendly relationship since they met back in 1968 — the year the Electric Factory opened.
Of course, if you’re a Grateful Dead superfan, you might want to save your pennies for the Ibanez axe signed by six members of the band, but not Jerry. Instead, the item features John Hancocks from Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Jimmy Herring, and Jeff Chimenti.
Opening bid: $1,500
After the Electric Factory opened on Feb. 2, 1968, acts like the Chambers Brothers, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, and Jimi Hendrix — who famously burned his guitar following her performance onstage — made their way through town. Back then, the venue advertised an entire month’s worth of shows on one calendar poster, and only two posters from that opening run currently exist.
Magid is auctioning off his copy, which is affixed to a wooden plaque.
Opening bid: $1,000
Since he appeared on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1992 to slay audiences with a sax-y rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel,” Bill Clinton has been linked to his trusty saxophone. Magid is hawking his Clinton-signed Jean Baptiste saxophone.
If Clinton rubs you the wrong way, but you still love the sax, don’t worry. Van Morrison fans can bid on this signed version from Van the Man instead.
Opening bid: $400
Forget that old merch table fare — these jackets are special items “given to behind-the-scenes VIPs” like Magid, according to the auction listing. Not quite “members only,” but still pretty good.
What’s actually on offer is a 1994 Eagles baseball jacket, a Crosby, Stills & Nash denim jacket of unknown origin, a Yes baseball jacket from ’91, and a Billy Joel fleece. Hopefully you like all those acts, because these won’t be going separately.
Opening bid: $500
Bill Joel and Elton John rocked audiences with their “Face to Face” tours starting in 1994, but stopped touring together in 2010. A year before that, in July 2009, the pair played Citizens Bank Park, and Magid, of course, was there. This signed Benjamin Adams piano bench proves it.
Joel’s signature appropriately reads “Cheers!” while John’s reads “With love,” so there is a little personalization. Along with the bench however, you’ll also get an electrician’s working pass from the show, so go ahead and try to fool folks into thinking they signed it for you.