[H O M E]
[Side Projects]
[Tour Dates]

On the sixth annual migration of the Great American H.O.R.D.E., and after what would prove to be the most successful in the tour's history, tour founders Blues Traveler decided to leave their baby stateside and embark instead on a three-week tour of Europe. Except for three dates in mid-August, the tour would not have a single band on it that had been on the original "migration" five years hence. Instead, Blues Traveler decided to pass the torch to one of last year's surprise guests, Neil Young. Despite his firm anti-taping policy at his lone appearance on the 1996 H.O.R.D.E., the veteran of the road softened his stance when approached by the tour organizers and ended up headlining all thirty dates.

There would have been another founding member of H.O.R.D.E. on the festival had it not been for Widespread Panic pulling out in mid-May, reportedly due to a desire to play the main stage. Instead, Beck was slated for a first-stage spot for nine dates in mid-tour, with Panic bumped to the second stage. Perhaps understandably miffed at their demotion from what used to be a lock on a main stage performance, the band removed itself from the tour altogether.

At the same time that veteran bands were departing the tour, many newer acts were finding themselves exposed to scores and scores of fans. One of the most successful methods of getting local bands the attention they so sorely needed was by the "Battle of the Bands" competitions. In these, three or four regional bands would compete at a local club by playing a brief, 45-minute set. The attendees would vote on their favorite band at the end of the night, and the winning band would then go on to get a spot on three showings of the H.O.R.D.E., often in an early slot. Among bands who won "Battle of the Bands" spots and then gained national exposure are Day By the River, The Big Wu and Chief Broom in 1997. The Battle resulted so popular that it was brought back in 1998 for virtually each city of the tour.

The H.O.R.D.E. website shifted from Philips to the now-defunct www.hordefestival.com [the site has been preserved by its designer at http://www.spacelab.net/~horde/] and began offering multimedia clips such as audio and video, photos and other useful info like venue capacity, directions, policies and more. Dave Mallick's [aka The Green One] fan site got several thousand hits a week after its kickoff in early April and broke a few news stories ahead of the official site and hotline. A few shifts of venue and Neil Young slicing his finger cutting a ham sandwich did not impact the tour's popularity at all, although murmurs began circulating that it had strayed too far afield from its original "jam-band" mindset, with such additions as Primus, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Beck.

The Music:


  • Beck
  • Ben Folds Five
  • Big Head Todd and the Monsters
  • Blues Traveler
  • Cake Like
  • Chrysalids
  • The Fool
  • Kula Shaker
  • Leftover Salmon
  • Medeski, Martin and Wood
  • The Michael Parrish Band
  • Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • Morphine
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse
  • Ozomatli
  • Primus
  • Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies
  • Soul Coughing
  • Spiritualized
  • Squirrel Nut Zippers
  • Taj Mahal & Phantom Blues
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • To the Moon Alice
  • Ween
Battle of the Bands winners
  • The Big Wu
  • Breedlove
  • Chief Broom
  • Day by the River
  • Domestic Problems
  • Haale
  • The Mudhens
  • New Brown Hat
  • Push Down & Turn
  • Sky Cries Mary
  • Zoo People

The memorabilia:
Promotional CD: This CD was released for every migration of the H.O.R.D.E. between 1993 and 1998. The track listing can be seen here.

HORDE Boxcar: Neil Young is a part-owner of Lionel trains, and as a result, the tour was very train-oriented, as can be seen from the handbills, passes and the promo CD. One rare promo item was a HORDE boxcar which is now quite prized among collectors, selling upwards of $100!

Ticket Stubs:

Posters: Backstage passes:
The shows:
8/15/97 Blockbuster Pavilion, Charlotte, NC (H.O.R.D.E.)
8/16/97 Nissan Pavilion, Bristow, VA (H.O.R.D.E.)
8/17/97 Blockbuster E-Center, Camden, NJ (H.O.R.D.E.)