First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival

First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival

Cleveland Zoo
September 6,  1969
1969 Festival #40

First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival

Simon and Garfunkel had released “At the Zoo” as a single in 1967, so I would not be surprised if the song helped inspire the location of the First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival in 1969.

Jim Tarbell helped create the event (Tarbell later became a Cleveland councilman). He recalls, “That was on the heels of Woodstock. I had contracted with Hanley Sound, who did sound at Woodstock. The sound system came directly to Cincinnati after Woodstock. When it arrived, the crew was still caked in mud. We had Vanilla Fudge, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Grand Funk Railroad, Lonnie Mack and Elvin Bishop.”

First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival

Bill Hanley Sound

Because I saw that Bill Hanley had done the sound, I contacted David Marks. David was at Woodstock and worked with Hanley sound. I asked him if he was in Cleveland with Hanley? Here are his responses: I was on the sound crew. Actually sang a song (disastrously) while the crowds were waiting for Grand Funk to pitch. Strange event. I’m sure Steve Wozniak had something to do with it? He may have helped Harold & Bill with some technical stuff.

I followed up with David and asked who “Harold” was and how Steve Wozniak was connected? Harold Cohen. Bill’s main technician & a much sort after sound mixer. I may be wrong but it would’ve been HC or Sam Baroda who mixed. SW? Not certain how but he bopped in & out of a few Hanley Sound festivals / events. I somehow think it was in Cincinntti Zoo I met him. I do recall Jim Ludlow who ran a club in which we installed a sound system… Ludlow’s Garage & us crew stayed at his house.

First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival

Line up

Unfortunately for Mini-Pop, it rained for the one-day event. The whole line-up was:

  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Vanilla Fudge
  • Lonnie Mack
  • Dee Felice Trio

What you see above is what I’ve been able to find. As always, I’d love to hear from anyone who has any more information, especially if you were there.

In the meantime, what better lyrics to post than…

Someone told me
It’s all happening at the zoo
I do believe it
I do believe it’s trueIt’s a light and tumble journey
From the East Side to the park
Just a fine and fancy ramble to the zoo
Bus you can take the crosstown bus
If it’s raining or it’s cold
And the animals will love it
If you do, now Somethin’ tells me
It’s all happening at the zoo
I do believe it
I do believe it’s true

The monkeys stand for honesty
Giraffes are insincere
And the elephants are kindly, but they’re dumb
Orangutans are skeptical
Of changes in their cages
And the zookeeper is very fond of rumZebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries
Pigeons plot in secrecy
And hamsters turn on frequently
What a gas!
You gotta come and see
At the zoo
At the zoo

First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival

Next 1969 festival: Toronto Rock and Roll Revival

3 thoughts on “First Annual Midwest Mini-Pop Festival”

  1. Just came across my ticket from the Mini-Pop Festival at the Cincy zoo, yep it rained! My VW’s interior was a mess when I got home afterward.

  2. I was there. First acid trip. Dee Felice (pretty sure) and Lonnie Mack (definitely) did not play. I think a Cincy band, the prog/hard rock Whalefeathers opened. Then-unknown GFR stole the show.

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