Today’s post features a summer ‘new music’ music festival, held during the summer of ’82, in Louisville, Kentucky.   This was to be considered the first such festival organized – according to local music ‘zines of the day – and would feature several local and regional bands, who were making a name for themselves, at the time.

Were you there? at Swiss Park on August 7th, 1982
A quick mention of the festival in the local free paper, called “Audio Cafe”; notice the sign above Jil Thorp’s head: “No admission to park without shirt or shoes – no bicycles”

It just so happens, that this would be my last summer in Louisville, before heading west later that winter…. but not before I dipped my toes into the local music scene; first, as a volunteer doorman and deejay at the Beat Club, in downtown Louisville, which had just started booking what later would became known as ‘alternative bands’, as well as checking out shows at Tewligan’s, which would survive for a much longer period of time.

Secondly, I became acquainted – and had numerous discussions with – Sandy Campbell, previously a member of The Blinders at The Beat. He could be found frequently spinning the latest 45’s from the U.K. and elsewhere, and was a great sounding board, to discuss all sorts of matters related to new music [and old]; getting me to open my ears to bands I’d never heard of, and, as time went by, convincing me to give a go at playing and creating music, myself, with a group of people he was familiar with, and who had been trying to recruit him to join their band – The Poor Girls.

That is getting ahead of the story about the festival, a bit, but the previous year had me becoming increasingly more interested in checking out the local music scene, and this daytime show had aroused my curiousity, enough, to get me to head out, and take photos, as I sat on the perimeter, and listened and watched the events of the day unfold.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] crowd shot LG [Jil Thorp & the Beat Boys
The crowd, during Jil Thorp & The Beat Boys’ set; you will note the lead singer of Cincinnati’s own, The Erector Set, enjoying himself.

I did not arrive early enough in the day, to take photos of all of the bands listed in the newspaper clipping above, but did capture a few images of The Erector Set, The N, Jil Thorp & The Beat Boys, and The Babylon Dance Band [photos of which appear on a previous post, which are found at this link: “Where Were You?” – The Babylon Dance Band at Swiss Park.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Audience and Babylon Dance Band on stage
Babylon Dance Band, in full-on mode, at Swiss Park, 1982

This particular post features the more “mainstream” bands of the time, but having said that, not all of the bands could be easily labeled, or identified as being all-that-similar.  Good for the audience / listener, as it meant variety, or choice, but the festival was very good, as it introduced many people to what had been going on, under their noses, for some time…

The N, a power trio, which mined a sound closer to prog, or what later became known as ‘math rock’, perform in the early afternoon.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] The N & crowd shot no 4 LG [The N - Swis
The N have the crowd moving; notice the hub-cap/sponge cake headgear in the lower left of the photo… “Are We Not Devo?”
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jil Thorp looks out over the crowd from
Jil Thorp, leader of the Beat Boys, surveys the crowd, dancing madly backwards 😉

Jil Thorp and The Beat Boys 

Also appearing that afternoon, was The Erector Set, hailing from Cincinnati.  I did not take many snapshots of them on this date, but did capture more at a later appearance at Tewligan’s, which will appear on this blog, sometime in the near future, along with a few other local bands, when time permits.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] lead singer vertical LG [The Erector Set

Michael Conen - [PROOF] guitarist & keyboardist vertical LG [The

Michael Conen - [PROOF] guitarist & keyboardist vertical no 2 LG

I will just hazard a guess, that if you look carefully enough at the crowd shots, there may just have been a nascent member of the later music scene that would create a wider reputation outside of Louisville, years later?!

Michael Conen - [PROOF] The N & crowd shot LG [The N - Swiss Par
The N; that unique hat; and a few faces in the crowd
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jil Thorp & crowd shot LG [Jil Thorp & t
Jil Thorp; the sound crew opposite; and some young’uns sporting some cool T’s
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jil Thorp vertical LG [Jil Thorp & the B
Jil Thorp

The Beat Boys as they back Jil Thorp.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jil Thorp & the Beat Boys jam with the c


Michael Conen - [PROOF] The N closeup LG [The N - Swiss Park, Lo
The N
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Tara Key, Sean Mulhall & Chip Nold verti

Tara Key, Sean Mulhall & Chip Nold of Babylon Dance Band

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Tara Key vertical no 4 [Babylon Dance Ba
Tara Key, from Babylon Dance Band
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Tim Harris vertical [Babylon Dance Band
Tim Harris, of Babylon Dance Band

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Jil Thorp grin and dance LG [Jil Thorp &
Jil Thorp, and some of The Beat Boys perform
Michael Conen - [PROOF] Mary Guhy? [Swiss Park, Louisville KY 8-
Not sure, but I believe this is Mary Guhy, one of the promoters, and a major part of Tewligan’s operations, back-in-the-day?

A fun time was had by most, if not all, on this occasion, although Tara Key will tell you it was a turning point for the band, as it turned out.  Some of the other bands soldiered on for a bit, but it would be a few more years for the “scene” to really take hold, and never look back.  Others can tell more on that, and have done so, since then.  At some point, I will connect the dots between this event, The Beat Club, Tewligan’s, and my bried spell in The Poor Girls…. but that is for another time.


See a few different photographs of Jil Thorp and the Beat Boys, and The Erector Set, from their appearances at Tewligan’s Tavern, also in 1982:

“Where Were You?” post about Tewligan’s Tavern, in 1982


Hope you enjoy the pictures, and, as always, constructive criticism [corrections, for example], is welcome.


While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.

No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs.  On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night. 

Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then.  Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers:  a venue for discussion.

Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here.  This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.