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Chet Helms Memorial Auction Announced To Coincide With July 29 Benefit Concert at the Great American Music HALL

eBay Auction Benefits Chet Helms Memorial Fund

San Francisco, CA, July 17, 2004. The Chet Helms Memorial Auction begins July 28th on eBay, one day prior to the sold-out ChetFest, A Tribute to the life of Chet Helms concert at Great American Music Hall.

Auction proceeds benefit The CHET HELMS MEMORIAL FUND and a small portion to the hearing health programs of San Francisco nonprofit organization Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R.) who will also be managing the auction. 

The auction will run July 28 - Aug 7.

Auction items will include:

  • 20 Poster Paks from the ChetFest, A Tribute to the life of Chet Helms Concert
  • One Week at Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp
  • Electric Guitar, to be signed by performers at ChetFest
  • Herb Greene photos of Janis and rare Dyan and The Grateful Dead
  • Jim Marshall Photo of Chet Helms
  • Jim Marshall Photo of Janis Joplin
  • Grace Slick Original Painting
  • Janis Joplin Original Painting
  • Janis Joplin Poster donated by Wolfgang's Vault
  • Joel Selvin first edition autographed copy The Musical History Tour with extensive inteviews with Chet Helms.
  • Wavy Gravy Artwork donated by Wavy and Vin Glo Arts as well as guitars and other instruments, music memorabilia, photographic art, hotel and spa packages and special gift items.

Chet Helms Memorial Auction organizers are currently accepting donations of music, musical equipment, music memorabilia and other items, as well as cash gifts. 


Auction manager:
Kathy Peck
1405 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA 94115

Webmaster for auction contact: Dav@fuzzmonster.com

Auction donation facilitator: Mike Somavilla: howdyman@rcn.com

About Chet Helms

Chet Helms, San Francisco rock promoter, manager and key figure in 1967's Summer of Love, died Saturday of complications from a stroke suffered earlier in the week. He was sixty-two.

Born in Santa Maria, California, Helms was the oldest of three boys. After his father died when Helms was nine, the family moved to Texas. Helms remained in Texas for the next decade, enrolling in and dropping out of the University of Texas before moving to San Francisco in 1962. His beginnings as a music promoter were modest, as Helms served as a host of jam sessions in his Haight-Ashbury district home. Big Brother and the Holding Company was one of the groups that played, and while serving as their manager, Helms dramatically altered the course of the band by recruiting an old college acquaintance by the name of Janis Joplin to be their singer.

Helms was an early partner of legendary promoter Bill Graham, with the two putting on several shows at the Fillmore before parting ways. Graham continued to promote shows at the Fillmore, while Helms and his Family Dog production company moved to the Avalon Ballroom, with the Grateful Dead a mainstay, and everyone from the Doors to Bo Diddley passing through.

Country Joe and the Fish honed their chops underneath the Avalon's psychedelic light shows, and the band's guitarist Barry Melton credits Helms with fostering the kind of nurturing environment that helped bands progress. "There was an ethic unique to the time and place of San Francisco in the Sixties, an extraordinary ethic of tolerance and acceptance," he says. "Chet was the living embodiment of that tolerance and acceptance and openness that made it all happen. That element was very much a reflection of who he was."

After the scene dissipated, Helms took a hiatus from concert promotion in 1970, returning to the business off and on in 1978. In 1980 he began running Atelier Dore, an art gallery in San Francisco, and became passionate about digital photography in recent years.

"He was so tough that it's a surprise," says his widow Judy Davis. "This last year he was having a lot of problems with hepatitis C, and by the time he had his stroke he was weakened. He had a beautiful death. There were about ten people around the bed."

Helms is survived by his wife, a stepdaughter and three grandchildren.

Colin Devenish
(Posted Jun 27, 2005)

About H.E.A.R.

H.E.A.R. is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing hearing loss and tinnitus in musicians, music fans, and music industry workers. Since 1988, we've raised awareness of the dangers of excessive sound levels; we've distributed earplugs to many thousands of people annually; our volunteers have tested the hearing of music industry workers; and we've trained educators on hearing protection. We've accomplished this with the support of the music industry, musicians, audiologists, physicians, hearing health organizations, health manufacturers and individual donors.

Our H.E.A.R. Partners ' Program is a national network of hearing professionals who support our mission. We've delivered vital information on hearing loss and tinnitus to over a million people through www.HearNet.com, public service campaigns, and educational programs. For a free online hearing test, or to find a H.E.A.R. Partner audiologist near you, please visit www.HearNet.com

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