It was almost a year after Woodstock that The Goose Lake International Music Fes…

Written by on August 8, 2018

It was almost a year after Woodstock that The Goose Lake International Music Festival was held on August 7–9, 1970 in Leoni Township, Michigan. The Goose Lake promoters set out to create a better planned event with better facilities for rock fans than Woodstock.

Goose Lake Park was built on 390 acres of land, with a budget of $1 million, and was billed as the “world’s first permanent festival site”. It was projected that 60,000 fans would attend the first festival.

The stage was built on a large, revolving turntable with two performance spaces so that the previous band could disassemble its gear and the next band set up while the current band was performing. At the end of each performance, the stage would rotate 180 degrees, and the next act would begin performing almost immediately. The backstage area had a tent where 20 to 30 groupies described as “sizzlers” were available for the performers.

Those who attended were provided free campsites, free parking and free firewood. There were restrooms and showers every 500 feet, medical staff, motorcycle and dune buggy trails, a lake with a beach, and also the “longest slide in the world”. To keep gate crashers out, the site was surrounded by a high chain-link fence topped by barbed wire.

The admission price for the three-day event was $15.00, and entry tokens in the style of poker chips were sold to avoid the counterfeiting of paper tickets.

Before the festival, concerned local officials sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the event, but a judge denied the request. Many Canadian rock fans were turned back at border crossings and were unable to attend.

Performers included Faces featuring Rod Stewart, Jethro Tull, Chicago, Ten Years After, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Mountain, John Sebastian, The James Gang featuring Joe Walsh, The Flock, Bob Seger, the MC5, Iggy And The Stooges, Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder, Brownsville Station, and SRC.

They planned on 60,000 people attending. 200,000 showed up. The local Sheriff estimated that 75% of the attendants were on drugs.

We’d love to hear comments from anyone that was there 48 years ago, and remembers it!

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