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September 25, 1971
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National Guard Armory



September 25, 1971 – Atlantis – National Guard Armory – Bluffton, IN

In the fall of 1971, four bored high school kids decided they were going to be rock concert promoters in Bluffton, Indiana, a town of about 7000 people.  Kurt Ullman, Bill Edris, Steve Christman, and myself, David Miller got the bug attending live shows in nearby Fort Wayne and the surrounding area.

We called our company “In-The-Red Productions,” a reference to the financial condition our parents thought we would attain.

The first band we booked was Atlantis, who we had seen numerous times at venues like The Lantern in Fort Wayne, or at The Other Place (the OP) in Celina, Ohio.

We scheduled the show for Saturday, September 25, which, by design was the last night of the weeklong Bluffton Street Fair.  That night always brought thousands of people into the City, and we thought our age group would enjoy coming into town for the Fair and then attending the show.

Atlantis was managed by their lead singer and guitarist, Wil Sharpe (I remember he always wore a black top hat).

Our deal with the band was a choice of either a flat fee of $250 or 75% of the gate. We were only charging $1.00 cover and we had no idea how many people would come to the show.  250 people seemed to be a lot, so we chose the 75% of the gate option just to make sure we’d have something left over to pay expenses.

As luck would have it, it started raining that Saturday night, and by 7:00 people were ready to ditch the fair. We ended up having an approximate gate of 575 people show up!

We received a favorable write-up in the local newspaper the following Monday (see the attached press clipping), and our careers as rock promoters was off and running.

As a side note, Wil Sharpe later reformed Atlantis into Ethos and signed with Capitol Records.  He eventually transitioned out of the performing side of the business and into production with Showco and others.

— David Miller

From the Bluffton News Banner and the archive of Kurt Ullman

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Tom Casey

    Thanks Dave, that was a great story of your humble beginnings. I saw Atlantis several times, then many times as Ethos.

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