Yes, you read that right—previously unseen color film of the Velvet Underground has been discovered! Left sitting on a shelf for who knows how long, the footage was recently found amongst hundreds of unmarked, unidentified, or damaged reels in the holdings of the G. William Jones Film & Video Collection, an archive at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Thanks to their digitization work, we can all view this forgotten footage of the great VU.
Dallas Peace Day, a protest against the Vietnam War, was held on October 15th, 1969. The event was held on the grounds of the historic Winfrey Point building, which overlooks White Rock Lake. Estimates vary, but there were likely between 600 and 3,000 people in attendance. The Velvet Underground were among the bands that played.
The VU were in town for a week of shows at a Dallas club, which began on the 14th. These were the first concerts they ever played in the south. It’s unknown how the group became involved with Dallas Peace Day, and their appearance was largely lost to the ages. The newly unearthed footage from the gathering was uncovered only by chance, and the archive doesn’t know the original motives for recording it, or even how they came to obtain the film.
The G. William Jones Film & Video Collection has uploaded a couple of Dallas Peace Day clips to their YouTube page. In the first one, the Velvet Underground can be seen and heard playing three songs on the porch of Winfrey Point: “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Beginning to See the Light,” and “I’m Set Free.” The first sign of anything VU related is an interview with Sterling Morrison, so we’ve cued up the video to that point. The Velvets segment ends at the 6:40 mark.
The archive has also made available silent B-roll from the day. Again, the video will start with the initial VU sighting. As it comes to an end, we see what appears to be an interview being conducted with bassist Doug Yule and frontman Lou Reed, ending with a close shot of the group in action.
A brief silent home movie clip of the Velvet Underground at Dallas Peace Day is also online: