David Gans, author and longtime host of KPFA’s “Dead to the World,” who's in the middle of preparations for the annual phenomenon known as the Grateful Dead Marathon, says the lengthy show is a labor of love. Now in its 27th year, this fundraiser for KPFA this weekend will be a 16-hour extravaganza for Deadheads and music lovers.
“I started doing Dead-related fund-raising at KPFA in 1986, four years before I began doing a regular program on the station,” he told us by email. “My commitment to public/community radio and my love of this music make the Marathon a labor of love and an act of devotion of sorts. It's a great pleasure to hang out in the chat room, make programming decisions on the fly (I always over-prepare, but that's part of the fun), and read thank-yous over the air.”
The show will air beginning at 9 a.m. PT Feb. 23, 9:00 a.m. to 1 a.m. Feb. 24 on KPFA-FM (94.1) and KFCF-FM (88.1) in Fresno. It will also be streamed on http://kpfa.org, http://kfcf.org, http://gdradio.net and http://nugs.net.
Gans says among the Grateful Dead rarities he'll be sharing are shows from June 3, 1976 and Aug. 27, 1980, plus another complete show or two; a 1967 interview with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir by Larry Miller (KMPX), a 1987 interview with Bill Graham, and some brand new material from he Mickey Hart Band.
Gans says the marathon's become a tradition for more than just him.
“There are people who have contributed to every single marathon since it started, and that sort of thing makes it all worthwhile. And it helps to keep a vital media resource on the air. No downside!”
Hosted by Gans with help from Tim Lynch, the 2013 marathon will feature exclusive music by the Mickey Hart Band in advance of their upcoming tour, a live in-studio performance by Sycamore Slough String Band, with special guests James Nash and Garrin Benfield, interviews and hours of audio featuring rare tapes from the Grateful Dead vault and more.
"It's music that makes people dance, cry, think," Gans said in a 2011 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Jones. "To play the Grateful Dead for 16 hours is not a tiring job. It's actually very energizing. I could go even longer."
Thank-you gifts for donors include a Blue Rose t-shirt, designed by Papa Lindsey, concert tickets, CDs, and more. Local fans can sign up to volunteer in the phone room by calling (510) 848.6767 x206. In addition to being surrounded by the on-air music, volunteers get to talk to fans on the phones and around the table, and enjoy food donated by marathon supporters.
You also can follow the event on Facebook.
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