Category Archives: Festivals

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

September 14, 1969

Toledo Raceway Park

1969 Festival #43

From the Pizza Don’t Go Bad site:

Four short weeks after Jimi Hendrix closed the generation-defining Woodstock Festival with a soul-stirring, whammy-bar laden performance of the Star Bangled Banner, Toledo fans got a homegrown opportunity to air out their freak flags courtesy of the daylong Toledo Pop Festival.Culled primarily from the S.E. Michigan/N.W. Ohio axis of high-energy rock’n’roll, the day’s slightly disparate line-up featured a virtual who’s who of Rust Belt axe-slingers: Brothers Wayne Kramer and the late-great Fred “Sonic” Smith from the MC5; Ted Nugent from the Amboy Dukes; The Frost’s Dick Wagner, who would later go on to co-write, record, and tour extensively with the likes of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, among others; Ron Koss of Savage Grace; Gary Quackenbush of SRC; Steve Correll of The Rationals; and, the soon-to-be-known-as “Leather Tuscadero” in the persona of one Miss Suzi Quatro, performing bass, vocal and jail-bait duties for the Pleasure Seekers, a band consisting chiefly of her brothers and sisters.

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

PDGB wonders if the concert promoter’s somewhat curious decision to place feel-good hit-makers The Turtles atop a bill filled largely with outfits known for their aggressive, potentially incendiary histrionics was -at least in part- a conscious decision intended to serve as a musical blow-off valve, The Turtles cheery melodies and infectious lyrics helping to ease the attendees transition from frenzied jam kick-outing to the parking lot slough that awaited them. Then again, maybe they just needed a big name to sell some tickets.

Either way, we’re sure the inevitable twenty minute-plus live rendition of “Happy Together” didn’t go unnoticed, reshuffling the synapses of numerous first-time psychedelic users so completely that even now, some forty-years later, the simple act of hearing said melody errantly whistled by passerby is capable of triggering intense psychotic episodes of such severity that even immediate medical attention followed by years of therapy can’t guarantee the return of normal brain activity. Way to go Boomers!

Held at Toledo Raceway Park (which we assume is the Horse racing facility of approximately the same name that still stands in North Toledo today) the $5.00 admission ($4.25 Advance) was an unbelievable bargain, even adjusted for inflation. 

1969 Toledo Pop Festival

Next 1969 festival: Gold Rush Festival

1969 Wonderland Pop Festival

1969 Wonderland Pop Festival

August 13 – 14, 1969
Wonderland Gardens, London, Ontario

1969 festival #33

1969 Wonderland Pop Festival

Well, here’s another 1969 festival that is a little one and likely why little is known about it.  Here’s what I’ve found:

1969 Wonderland Pop Festival

Dennis Dunaway’s story

From the Alternative Control siteDennis Dunaway is the bassist from the original Alice Cooper lineup. He has a Wonderland Pop Festival story that includes Woodstock.

On the afternoon of July 26th, 1969, the Alice Cooper group played the Eugene Pop Festival at the University of Oregon with the Doors, the Youngbloods, the Byrds, Them and others. Nearby Creswell was where I spent my childhood, and where my grandparents still had the farm where I had spent the summer of ’64 working to get the money to buy my first bass. So my Grandma came to the show, and afterwards the band followed her back to the farm for a delicious home cooked meal. Then my Grandpa loaded the outrageous looking Alice Cooper group into the back of his pickup and took us around to meet his neighbors. They all asked if we were from the “Hippy Farm,” which we soon found out was a nearby commune owned by Ken Kesey who wrote One Flew Over TheCukoo’s Nest. So after we bid my grandparents farewell, the band went to visit Kesey. But it looked like the few people stirring were recovering from a wild night. One guy sat by a smoldering camp fire with a mic plugged into an amp attached to an orange extension cord that snaked all the way back to the house. Loudly through the microphone, he explained that the bus that the two other hippies were painting psychedelic patterns on was about to be driven across the country to upstate New York for a big music festival. He loudly said it would be the biggest festival of them all. Two weeks later (August 13th), we were opening for The Mothers of Invention at the Wonderland Pop Festival in London, Ontario. Alice and I asked Frank Zappa why we weren’t playing at the big music festival in New York that weekend? Frank said, “Because we don’t want to.”

1969 Wonderland Pop Festival

From the Original Glen Buxton site

Glen Buxton was the Alice Cooper guitarist: Review in the London Free Press, August 15, 1969. The headline reads “Wonderland ‘rocked’ by pop festival”.

The festival ran 13th and 14th Aug. Alice Cooper gets the biggest mention in the review:

“Alice Cooper stomped on a metal satchel, speared the big bass drum, threw microphones and stands on the stage, drummed out all the violent motions of war, and died.

“It was a groovy scene. And it happened in London.

“Alice Cooper–it’s the name of a light-popping, five-man rock group from Arizona–was one of six groups on stage Thursday at Wonderland, wrapping up London’s first pop festival.”

1969 Wonderland Pop Festival

A little bit of help?

Sorry nothing else, but as always let me know if you know something. Thanks.

1969 Wonderland Pop Festival

Next 1969 festival (other than Woodstock): Bullfrog 3 (2 )Festival

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

July 5 and July 11 -12
Spectrum, Philadelphia
1969 festival #23

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

The Spectrum was an indoor arena that opened in the fall of 1967. Like any modern indoor arena, the venue hosted many things. For Philadelphia it was used for  basketball, ice hockey, arena football, indoor soccer, indoor lacrosse, and, of course, concert events.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Festival-filled summer

On July 5 and on July 11 and 12, during that festival-filled summer of 1969, there was a three day event there. It was divided into four shows: one evening show on Saturday 5 July; one evening show on Friday 11 July and two on Saturday 12 July–an afternoon and an evening show.

Saturday 5 July

As you can see from the above advertisement,  the first show featured black artists, with the James Brown Show headlining. Chicago’s Young Holt-Unlimited, with their hit Soulful-Strut.

Tyrone Davis, with his hit…

and the comedian Nipsy Russell.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Friday 11 July

Friday’s line-up was an impressive one with future Woodstock performers Sly and the Family Stone and Ten Years After along with Jeff Beck, the Mothers of Invention, and Savoy Brown. I would have like to have been there that night!

Saturday afternoon 12 July

The Saturday afternoon show only had two bands: Blood, Sweat and Tears and the Hawkins Singers.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival
from a Led Zeppelin fan site
1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Saturday evening 12 July

Saturday evening was the stronger line-up: Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Al Kooper, Jethro Tull, and the Buddy Guy Blues Band.

As you may notice, there was a heavy emphasis on soul music and the electric blues whether played by blacks or whites.  Though there were some blues-influenced bands at Woodstock such as Johnny Winter and Ten Years After the following month, the absence of such artists as Buddy Guy and James Brown leave some scratching their heads. Young whites’ interest in the original blues artists had already returned and such artists were regularly featured in many other festivals that summer.

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

So Long Spectrum

A little more than a year after the arena’s final event (a Pearl Jam concert) took place on October 31, 2009.  the Spectrum was demolished (between November 2010 and May 2011) .

1969 Spectrum Summer Music Festival

Next 1969 festival: Laurel Pop Festival