Founded and directed by Charlotte Moorman, the Annual Avant Garde Festivals of New York began in 1963 as open forums for the presentation of experimental music, which was emerging out of the Fluxus movement and Happenings. By 1971, these evening salons of inventive musical works were expanded to incorporate electronic music, dance, performance, kinetic art, and video art. For more than a decade, these carnivalesque productions were held at such wildly diverse locations as Shea Stadium, Wards and Mill Rock Islands in the East River, the World Trade Center, the decks of the Staten Island Ferry, and on a train parked in Grand Central Station.
Yalkut's rare historical documents include material recorded at the 4th and 7th Avant Garde Festivals. The 4th Festival in 1966 was held outdoors in Central Park, and featured over 65 events with artists, musicians and performers, including Allan Kaprow, Dick Higgins, Al Hansen, Christo, Shigeko Kubota, Joseph Beuys, and Alison Knowles, among many others. The 7th Avant Garde Festival was presented in 1969 on two islands, Wards and Mill Rock, in the East River. Here Yalkut documents performances on Wards Island, beneath one of Buckminster Fuller's famous geodesic domes.