Saugatuck Pop Festival

Saugatuck Pop Festival

July 4 – 5, 1969

Pottawattamie Beach, Saugatuck, MI
Saugatuck Pop Festival


  • MC5
  • SRC
  • Procol Harum
  • Muddy Waters
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Amboy Dukes
  • Rotary Connection
  • Crazy World of Arthur Brown
  • Bob Seger,
  • Frost
  • The Stooges
  • Big Mama Thornton

Saugatuck Pop Festival

            This is the 13th festival of the 1969 festival season that I have covered. The main reason I've done these reviews is because for decades I ignorantly thought Woodstock was the only festival of 1969.

            Sure, there was Altamont at the end of the year with its tragedy and the shibboleth that the "60s ended at Altamont." The 60s in its full meaning had hardly begun until 1965 and certainly continued into the early 70s at least.

          The legacy of the so-called 60s is a topic for another time, another discussion.

Faded festivals

           The reasons why some festivals, despite stellar performers likely doing stellar performances, faded with the newspapers that had a few columns about them are not complicated.

1. The location was away from the mainstream media's purview.

2. The promoters had not the foresight to record or film the event.

Woodstock Music and Art Fair

             As much as Michael Shrieve and his "Soul Sacrifice" drum solo helped carve Santana's performance into the pages of rock history, the fact that Woodstock Ventures did have the foresight to record and film the festival with high quality equipment made Woodstock the historic event it is today.

Stop stalling…

          When am I going to start telling you about the Saugatuck Pop Festival? And why did I wait until July 11 to tell you?
  1. It was easy to miss.
  2. When I discovered I’d missed it, I found that I couldn’t find anything on it.


             So (not supposed to start sentences with "So...") today's blog is a request: do any of you have any information about the event? If so please comment and let me know and I'll add what you contribute and give you credit for that contribution. 



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Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

Birthday greetings

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

July 11, 1941

Jazz musician and…

Member of Keef Hartley Band at Woodstock

Thomas Henry Lowther was born in Leicester, England. “As a child Lowther learned trumpet from his father and took private violin lessons before going on to study with Manoug Parakian at London’s Royal Academy of Music.” (from All Music).

It has been a lifetime of music since then.

Of Woodstock he said, ““You know I played Woodstock as the first gig of an American tour with the Keefe Hartley band. The only other trumpet player at the gig was Sly Stone’s sister!”  (Jazz Wise magazine)

John Till and Louis Gasca with Janis, Steve Madaia and Keith Johnson with Paul Butterfield, and Chuck Winfield and Lew Soloff with Blood, Sweat and Tears might differ with his view, but we’ll just attribute Lowther’s error to that famous Woodstock Haze.

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

Henry Lowther

           From  Vortex Jazz site: During the sixties Henry was one of the first musicians on the British jazz scene to experiment with total free improvisation, notably with Jack Bruce, Lyn Dobson and John Hiseman. He played with the original and seminal Mike Westbrook band (which included Mike Osborne and John Surman), and also with John Dankworth, including playing on the now legendary and rare Kenny Wheeler album “Windmill Tilter” while also working on occasions on the rock scene with musicians such as Manfred Mann, John Mayall and  Keef Hartley, with whom he appeared at the famous Woodstock festival in 1969.

          His work on the British jazz scene reads like a “Who’s Who”. He has played regularly with the likes of Gordon Beck, Michael Garrick, Graham Collier, Mike Gibbs, Pete King, Loose Tubes, John Surman, John Taylor, Stan Tracey and Kenny Wheeler. 

Here is his All Music list of credits. You’re going to be here awhile!

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

After Keef Hartley

            After Lowther left Keef Hartley in 1970, he worked with dozens of different musicians including Bryan Ferry, Van Morrison, and did the trumpet solo for Elton John on “Return to Paradise” in 1978.

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther

From his own site

              In 1996, along with his great friend the great bass player Dave Green, Henry formed his own band Still Waters to enable him to pursue his increasing interest in composition. In 1997 Still Waters recorded an album, “ID”, on the Village Life label, to much critical acclaim

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther


In March, Still Waters released a new album: Can’t Believe, Won’t Believe. The personnel are: Henry Lowther (trumpet/flugel); Pete Hurt (tenor); Barry Green (piano); Dave Green (bass); Paul Clarvis (drums)

Of it, the Financial Times said, “The sturdy theme and somnolent harmonies of the opening title track have trace elements of a works’ brass band. But the melody has a quizzical edge, and elliptic splatters of percussion lie underneath. As the piece evolves, the trumpeter’s brassy certainty is interrupted by drummer Paul Clarvis’s off-kilter breaks. Can’t Believe, Won’t Believe is dedicated to cynics everywhere. As the album progresses, Lowther’s modern jazz quintet embroiders the trumpeter’s elegant and knowing compositions with unruffled emotions and filigree detail. Pete Hurt is a wispy-toned tenor sax foil to Lowther’s precise turn of phrase, and pianist Barry Green’s haunting impressionist voicings are underpinned by Dave Green’s pitch-perfect counterpoint bass.”

Trumpeter Thomas Henry Lowther
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Laurel Pop Festival

Laurel Pop Festival

Laurel Race Course, Laurel, Maryland

July 11 & 12, 1969

Laurel Pop Festival

Festival #14

      The 14th festival of 1969. By the way, I realize that there were other events such as jazz and folk festivals during 1969, but my ongoing coverage tries to limit itself to what I generally refer to as rock festivals. I included the Newport Jazz Festival earlier in the month because it included several rock bands as well. 

Laurel Pop Festival

      The Laurel Hill Festival does not make the list of answers when we ask anyone, "Name a festival that happened in 1969." If we said "Laural Pop Festival" to anyone, we likely  get a blank look.

      The line up for that weekend suggests otherwise on both counts. We should know it. Look at the line up:
July 11

  • Al Kooper
  • Jethro Tull
  • Johnny Winter
  • Edwin Hawkins Singers
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Buddy Guy
July 12

  • Jeff Beck
  • Ten Years After
  • Sly and the Family Stone
  • Mothers of Invention
  • Savoy Brown
  • Guess Who
      The audio above refers to five of the acts playing at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in August. Actually not. Three did and I've underlined them in the list. I again note that Johnny Winter played. The guy was indefatigable that summer!

Nick and Bobbi Ercoline

      Perhaps the most iconic photo of people at Woodstock (as oppposed to playing at Woodstock) is the picture of Nick and Bobbi Ercoline.

Laurel Hill Festival

      For Laurel Hill, we have John and Debbie. I suppose had Laurel Hill become as famous as Woodstock, we'd recognize them, too.

Laurel Hill Festival

      The picture of John and Debbie is from a site that attendees have commented about their experiences there. 

Wet ending

      From the Baltimore Sun: Lost in the smoky haze of 1960s history is The Laurel Pop Festival held in July 1969, which was attended by 15,000 fans and offered an incredible lineup of some of the biggest pop performers of the year. Held just one month before Woodstock, The Laurel Pop Festival ended in controversy as rain-soaked fans built bonfires with wooden folding chairs and refused to leave as the concert dragged on into the early morning.





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