Scottish-born singer-songwriter Donovan
I was a bit young in the 1960s, but I knew that when I grew up I wanted to “Wear My Love Like Heaven,” sing songs of love like the “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” and rock like a “Sunshine Superman.” Donovan’s songs and lyrics made an indelible imprint on so many boomers as we came of age, and this legacy continues as Donovan launches his 50th Anniversary Sunshine Superman Tour right here in Fairfield.
The folk-rock icon, poet, and one of the world’s most enduring singer-songwriters returns to Fairfield for two special concerts on September 4 at FAIRfest. Donovan will perform a full solo acoustic concert inside the Sondheim Theater at 8 p.m., and then, for the grand finale of FAIRfest, he’ll perform in a shorter set on the festival Main Stage, backed by Bonnie Paine & Friends, including members of Elephant Revival and Railroad Earth, along with Arthur Lee Land.
This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of Donovan’s hit single “Sunshine Superman” reaching #1 on the Billboard chart. The album of the same name, considered a classic masterpiece, was honored during Donovan’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012: “Donovan single-handedly initiated the Psychedelic Revolution with Sunshine Superman.” Donovan’s 21-city tour visits Fairfield for one of its first stops, before returning to New York City for a concert at Carnegie Hall—also the 50-year anniversary of his first performance at this iconic theater.
From shaggy-haired, denim-clad Dylan apostle to brocade-robed, hit-making folk-rock icon, Donovan ascended to ’60s pop royalty. Whether he was meditating with the Beatles in India, recording with Yardbird’s guitarist Jeff Beck, or playing to legions of adoring fans around the world, everything this gentle Glasgow-born troubadour touched turned to gold. He was a trendsetter, as his influence extended across many genres. He was among the first to introduce the world music fusions of folk, classical, jazz, Indian, Celtic, and Middle Eastern music. His lyrics brought poetry to the forefront of songwriting, and he was the first musician to introduce and embrace “flower power.” Along the way, he touched so many of us with his top hits, such as “Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman,” and especially “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” which became an anthem to a generation of seekers. It’s a long way from that heady ’60s decade that birthed him, but 2016 will confirm Donovan’s musical legacy and his future influence.
A percentage of the proceeds from the tour will support the “Donovan Children’s Fund”—a division of the David Lynch Foundation (DLF)—which will help bring Transcendental Meditation to thousands of at-risk students in schools throughout the United States. In addition, Donovan’s 8 p.m. Sondheim concert is a benefit event for MUM’s Global Scholarship Fund, providing scholarships to MUM for graduates of DLF’s international programs.
FAIRfest patrons please note that separate ticketing is required for Donovan’s Sondheim concert. For FAIRfest passes and a full lineup of events, visit fairfestiowa.com.