July 25th, 1965 The day Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. Who owns the Fender Stratocaster he was playing?
History Detectives (airing July 17th on PBS) thinks Dawn Peterson, a pilot's daughter has it. According to the Huffington Post, her father flew many musicians in the 1960's. Dylan allegedly left the guitar behind on a flight. The pilot contacted Dylan's people and no one claimed the guitar so now it's in Dawn's possession. Her father died when she was 8.
Guitar expert Andy Babiuk was hired by the show to authenticate the guitar and he is 99.9% certain it's one and the same. Dylan's lawyer Orin Snyder says Bob still has the guitar. "He did own several other Stratocaster guitars that were stolen from him around that time, as were some handwritten lyrics. In addition, Bob recalls driving to the Newport Folk Festival, along with two of his friends, not flying."
I haven't found anything that states when the guitar was actually left behind. Dylan may have been using it at another show, flew with the pilot and left it behind. Unless Dylan finds the guitar and produces it, we may never know, but it will be fun to watch the process reveal itself on History Detectives.
Here is a video of Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman talking about the significance of Dylan's electric performance.