Search This Blog

July 14, 2013

OMF - The Ozark Music Festival, Sedalia MIssouri History July 1974

The Ozark Music Festival was held July 19-21, 1974 on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri. While the Woodstock Festival from 1969 is the most well-known rock festival, the Ozark Music Festival was one of the largest music festivals ever held, while at the same time, it was also one of the least remembered festivals. "No Hassles Guaranteed" was the motto of the festival. Some estimates have put the crowd count at 350,000 people which would make this one of the largest music events in history.   

The three-day event was emceed by Wolfman Jack and featured the likes of Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Eagles, Blue Oyster Cult, Bruce Springstein(scheduled but did not appear), America, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent,  Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Walsh, Marshall Tucker Band, Aerosmith, Earl Scruggs, Elvis Bishop, Leo Kotke, Jim Stafford, Cactus and other national acts. The festival's motto of "No Hassles Guaranteed" was construed as an open invitation to drug sales. Amazingly, the Hells Angels provided Fairground security. The Missouri Senate met in the festival's aftermath-- which included $100,000 damage to the Fairgrounds-- and concluded that "the scene made the degradation from Sodom and Gomorrah appear mild." 

The 12 Most Kick Ass Music Festivals of all Time  #11  Ozark Music Festival  

#11 Most "Kick Ass" Rock Festival in the World

America, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ted Nugent, R.E.O. Speedwagon, The Eagles

Some Greats Links with Pictures and Stories

The 1974 Ozark Music Festival:

"No Hassles Guaranteed"

When Robert Shaw, the manager for a Kansas City based company named Musical Productions, Inc. (MPI), first proposed a music festival on the Missouri State Fairgrounds, he insisted that his “new entertainment concept” would not be a rock festival. He assured Missouri Department of Agriculture officials and the Sedalia Chamber of Commerce that the three-day July weekend event would feature blue-grass music and “soft rock.” And, he promised, no more than 50,000 tickets would be sold.
Shaw and his associates, Chris Fritz, David Kinton, and Sal Brancato, undoubtedly knew that a rock festival in a conservative community like Sedalia would be as welcome as the devil and his demons at a Baptist church social. The half million who found their way to Max Yasgur’s farm near Woodstock, New York just a few years earlier, routed an image of stringy-haired musicians, drugs, and sex-in-the-mud to nearly every American who subscribed to Life magazine or watched the nightly news. Each one that followed-- Altamont Speedway, Watkin’s Glen-- had its own share of controversy. And surely, that’s why the MPI partners were adamant that state and local officials believe their festival would be different.
The final product MPI delivered, however, had little of the wholesome bluegrass charm the company presented in its promotional material. Akin to Mayberry, Sedalia is a quiet town. Situated in the Ozark foothills somewhere between Kansas City and St. Louis, it rolled out the red carpet each August for the thousands of Missourians who flocked to the Missouri State Fair.
The same residents gaped in disbelief, however, as tens of thousands, found their way into the city limits that July, many acclimating themselves to the sweltering July heat, au natural. Because the fairground gates weren’t scheduled to open until the festival began at noon on Friday, July 19, many Sedalians awoke that morning to sleeping strangers sprawled out across their lawns and bumper-to bumper traffic, making it impossible to get to work.

Many community members were accustomed to taking in an occasional horserace or flower show on the fairgrounds, but few welcomed the activities that weekend. In one corner of the grounds, two retired school buses were converted to accommodate 12 girls who prostituted themselves for two dollars an “episode.”
Countless lean-to’s and shanties were constructed to provide privacy for enterprising young women’s business ventures. Undercover agents reported a sex orgy near the sheep pavilion that attracted hundreds of spectators. There were also many young women, topless or stark naked, who painted signs on their body, advertising sex in exchange for drug money. And many couples reportedly made love wherever the moment found them: outside the main gate, in the pond in front of the 70 foot stage, in the sheep and swine pavilion, in full view of dozens or startled Pittsburg-Corning factory workers who watched from their building adjacent to the fairgrounds.
Even more disturbing were the thousands (or by some estimates, millions) of dollars of drugs that exchanged hands during the festival. A senate investigation into the event documents a security guard who claimed there were so many drugs — LSD, mescaline, amphetamines, cocaine, not to mention marijuana— it was “just like going into a candy store.” Another security guard was alarmed at the amount of heroin present at the event and compared the heroin transactions to “a farmer’s exchange-- you know, selling it back and forth.” The same guard testified he saw a man carrying around syringes in a cartridge belt like bullets, selling them for the purpose of shooting up heroin. In a report compiled by the Missouri Highway Patrol, undercover agents noted at a camp site by the main gate, a man was conducting a seminar of sorts, providing instructions for injecting drugs with a hypodermic needle and, in turn, selling the needles and the drugs.

            Furthermore, the constant, jarring pulse of bass guitars, with the assistance of an extraordinary state-of-the-art sound system designed to wake the dead, rattled nearly every window within a two-mile radius. Sedated by the music and the euphoria of the crowd, many curious young men and women found their first encounter with the drug culture and Sedalia citizens were furious. Not only had their fairgrounds become a marketplace for drugs and sex, they believed their community had fallen prey to what the grand jury appointed the following September could never prove--that Shaw, Brancato, Fritz, and Kinton were unscrupulous scam artists who created a music festival as a cover for their illegal drug enterprise. As the week unfolded and the quiet city of 20,000 exploded to almost 200,000, many demanded answers for a weekend that resulted in one death, nearly 1000 drug overdoses, miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic, over $100,000 in property damage and a senate investigation
As the 60 acre field west of the fairgrounds grew increasingly crowded a week before the festival began, many Sedalians became suspicious of what Pettis County Sheriff Emmett Fairfax had questioned for sometime. Serious discrepancies surrounded the promotion of the event. When Shaw approached Fairfax in April, requesting that the local law enforcement provide security for the event under his charge, Fairfax chose to decline, claiming that the sheriff’s department, the Sedalia Police, and the Highway Patrol would be too small a force to control the size of the crowd anticipated. In fact, the issue of crowd size was the core of the problem that would soon erupt into an experience the 1974 Senate Report would later describe as “unlike anything in recent Missouri history.”
Fairfax grew more skeptical of Shaw’s claims when he realized that the information in some press releases was significantly different than what was presented to state and local officials. Press releases distributed elsewhere boasted that 19 of the country’s top recording groups would be featured including the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and R.E.O. Speedwagon.
It was supposed to be relatively small concert at the Missouri State Fairgrounds  in Sedalia  featuring blue-grass music and "soft rock." But the 1974 Ozark Music Festival, which attracted at least 150,000 attendees, turned into so much more: three days of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
A full-page advertisement appeared in Rolling Stone magazine and renowned celebrity Wolfman Jack, hired to host the event, recorded a radio spot that aired weeks prior to the event. On radio stations across the nation, the Wolfman invited his listeners to the Ozark Music Festival in Sedalia where “we goin’ be on the grass at the Missouri State Fairgrounds…they’ll have food, water, free parkin’, free campin’ and no hassles guaranteed.” The obvious invitation to a weekend of drug use without interference from authorities was, by itself, a clear indication to Fairfax that the Sedalia community could easily be invaded by tens of thousands of drug culture groupies.
Vincent, a 48-year-old Georgia businessman who requested that his last name be withheld for this article, remembers having no question in his mind that the festival would be a place to come and “step out of society,” free from all rules including those regarding drugs. When he saw the full-page advertisement in an issue of Rolling Stone that spring, he was immediately aware of what the promoters had in mind. The setting was perfect--out in the middle of the Ozark Mountains with “hillbilly law enforcement.” “We knew exactly what it was going to be,” Vincent claims. “If it was going to be in the wide open spaces, we knew crowd control would be impossible…It was going to be one big party!”
Scott McKinney, a 42-year-old farmer from Leoti, Kansas, claims he and two friends were also lured by the ad in Rolling Stone. “We thought we were going to Woodstock and we weren’t disappointed!” states McKinney. “I was just a farm kid from the western part of Kansas and here were 20 of the bands I heard every day on the radio!”
In the weeks prior to the festival, questions were also raised about the backgrounds of some of the MPI associates. Missouri state officials learned from the Federal Task Force on Organized Crime that Sal Brancato’s brother Nathaniel had recently been convicted on federal charges of conspiracy to promote gambling and prostitution. When Colonel S. S. Smith of the Missouri Highway Patrol approached Ron Jones regarding Nathaniel Brancato’s contract to operate a concession stand at the event, Jones assured him the festival promoters were willing to cancel any arrangement involving Brancato.
It was supposed to be relatively small concert at the Missouri State Fairgrounds  in Sedalia  featuring blue-grass music and "soft rock." But the 1974 Ozark Music Festival, which attracted at least 150,000 attendees, turned into so much more: three days of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Then, early in July, Garrett received a report from the Missouri Highway Patrol about Christopher C. Fritz, the President of Musical Productions, Inc. and his arrest in Los Angeles for the sale and possession of marijuana. Relying on this additional information, Garrett contacted Missouri Attorney General John C. Danforth on July 12, questioning Fritz’ character and painting a scenario of what might lie in store for the Sedalia community if the lease were not terminated. Garrett was again unsuccessful when Danforth concluded that because Boillot, the Director of Agriculture, had agreed to lease the fair grounds it was unlikely the state would win a lawsuit brought by Musical Productions, Inc. for a breach of contract.
Much of the friction surrounding the Ozark Music Festival concerned the astounding crowd size and evidence which surfaced suggesting the promoters were well aware of the number of people the event would attract. Despite the 40,000 to 50,000 estimated headcount Robert Shaw repeatedly gave to Missouri officials, a press release circulated nationwide stated the Missouri fairgrounds could easily accommodate 100,000 people. In addition, the senate report notes that Musical Productions Inc. ordered the printing of 230,000 tickets. To avoid the ticket price, thousands entered the festival through the gaping holes in the fence. Consequently determining crowd size from gate receipts was impossible. On Saturday afternoon, however, the Missouri Highway patrol reported a 160,000 people on the fairgrounds, an estimate many consider “conservative.”
Residents were furious that the facilities simply did not exist to accommodate the tens of thousands of people who came. Exacerbating the circumstances was a record-breaking heat wave and those who attended the festival soon discovered there was little means of escaping the heat. The highway patrol reported that shower facilities were inadequate and by Saturday morning they were fully integrated with men and women, packed beyond safe capacity. On Saturday afternoon, water lines to restrooms and showers were shut off, leaving no drinking water available for two hours. Furthermore, security guards reported that portable toilets were filled to the lid by Friday evening and inoperable. Consequently by the festival’s end on Sunday, much of the west portion of the fairgrounds was littered with feces and the grass completely worn away with the excess of human waste.
It was supposed to be relatively small concert at the Missouri State Fairgrounds  in Sedalia  featuring blue-grass music and "soft rock." But the 1974 Ozark Music Festival, which attracted at least 150,000 attendees, turned into so much more: three days of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Many who lived or operated businesses in the area surrounding the Missouri State Fair grounds suffered property damage, not to mention overwhelming inconvenience. As the campgrounds filled beyond capacity, the residential areas around the fairgrounds were invaded with people and their blankets and sleeping bags, begging to use outdoor faucets for water, raiding gardens and urinating on lawns.
One outlet that allowed Sedalians to voice grievances was the Concerned Citizens Hotline, a radio program organized by Senator James Mathewson who, at the time, was the Democratic candidate for the state legislature.
In a matter of three days the hotline received 805 calls demanding answers to a wide range of questions such as “Are they eating dogs on the fairgrounds?” to “Did the Mafia promote this?” to “Can I kill someone in my garage?” 165 frustrated callers wanted to know who was responsible and 44 wanted to know who they could sue.
It was supposed to be relatively small concert at the Missouri State Fairgrounds  in Sedalia  featuring blue-grass music and "soft rock." But the 1974 Ozark Music Festival, which attracted at least 150,000 attendees, turned into so much more: three days of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Mathewson attempted to put an end to rumors like the one which claimed 63 had died of drug overdoses and, at first, he advised listeners not to arm themselves in their homes. However, after riding with Sheriff Fairfax through the festival grounds and witnessing the chaos firsthand, he went home, sent his family out of town for their safety, and made certain his shotgun was loaded and ready to use.
 Perhaps the issue that most infuriated law-abiding Sedalians that drug and prostitution laws were not enforced during the festival. In addition, security seemed to have no control over the numerous reports of harassment, assault, and extortion connected to the approximately 80 to 90 members of the motorcycle gangs including the Scorpions, the Fourth Reich and the Diablos, who staked the Northwest corner of the fairgrounds as their temporary residence. Anyone who unsuspectingly crossed their turf was forced to empty his pockets of money or drugs, forfeit coolers of food and beer, or perform sexual favors in exchange for safe passage. 33-year-old Walter C. Prohaska, a Renegade motorcycle gang member from Detroit, allegedly cut a hole in the fairground fence and set up his own admission gate. Sedalian William Swinford was transported to the Bothwell Hospital emergency room where doctors spent three hours stitching up his face. Apparently Prohaska, who was arrested on assault charges in the incident, slashed Swinford’s face with his metal hook prosthesis when he refused to pay Prohaska’s three dollar “toll” for passing through the fence.
Twenty-five years later, retired sheriff Emmett Fairfax takes criticism of the law enforcement in stride. “When you have a crowd that size---over one hundred thousand people---and the conditions as they were---the heat, not enough food or water . . . “ Fairfax explains, “you can’t go in and make arrests with a small band of law enforcement. It would have been mayhem.” He believes that if attempts had been made to enforce the laws regarding drug sales or prostitution, the consequences would have been severe. “We’re talking about a huge crowd of people contained in an area in the heart of a community. It had to be controlled from the outside the perimeter, “Fairfax contends. “If we had gone in and made arrests, we might have started a riot that would have spilled out into the community. We could well have created problems that couldn’t be justified.”
In retrospect, many believe that the most significant impact of the Ozark Music Festival was a moral one. It served as a portal into the drug culture for a number of young people who found themselves surrounded by those who had already succumbed. Overwhelmed by an abundance of every illegal drug imaginable and little chance of getting caught, many experimented for the first time.
Sedalia attorney Adam Fisher, who has represented a number of individuals charged with drug sales in the years following the festival, claims that many of his clients attribute their drug background to the experience and connections they found at the event.  “They came from all over the United States---selling drugs, using drugs, and making contacts,” Fisher contends, and when it was over, not everyone managed to sell all of the inventory.”
Fisher explains that dealers, wanting to avoid traveling with large quantities of an illegal substance, simply dumped their leftovers in bulk in the local community. In turn, the opportunity to acquire drugs en masse at dirt cheap prices may have been the temptation which led more than one to a lucrative career peddling dope.
“In the seventies and the eighties, “reports the attorney, “this community had a drug problem that a community this size shouldn’t have had and it may well have been a result of this festival. Our community has paid a price,” Fischer concludes in retrospect, “--drug addiction among the young---many local kids were introduced and subjected to the drug culture in major league fashion.”
Although it could never be verified, a number of law enforcement officers and area residents questioned whether Musical Productions Inc. itself was involved in the drug traffic. When he was interviewed on July 24, 1974 for the Senate Investigation, Sedalia Chief of Police, Bill Miller noted that festival promoter Sal Brancato rented two helicopters and that “Brancato and his people flew back and forth from their motels.” 
But there were numerous complaints about the volume of helicopter traffic from aggravated citizens and some individuals drew the conclusion that helicopters were the chief means of bringing the mass quantities of drugs onto the premises. Henry Lamm reported in his interview that as he sat on his porch with his shotgun, he heard a loud speaker on a van “advertising all sorts of hard drugs” and that “a fresh shipment had just arrived by helicopter from the West Coast.”
But John McEuen, a band member with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, appears to have a more calloused perspective.  “Well, if they were selling drugs, it was the middle of the 70's--that’s just the kind of thing that went on,” he states. “I’m not surprised---we probably played at a lot of concerts that were put together by mafia money. Drugs were sold--it was a way to launder money. It was just a way of life.
I didn’t do drugs myself,” McEuen adds, after a brief pause. “I was too busy road managing---too busy playing my instruments, but it always amused me to watch the people who did.”
But many of those who came to the Ozark Music Festival took advantage of the “no hassles” attitude toward drug use. For the three day duration of the event, thousands of drug transactions were made with no interference from the promoters or Wells Fargo security. “I couldn’t believe it. I never saw anything like it,” recalls Scott McKinney, the western Kansas farmer. “We were standing in line at Kentucky Fried Chicken and we watched two guys shooting up right inside the restaurant---I’ll never forget the lawlessness of it. People were selling drugs right out in the open--right out of Winnebago’s!”

A large portion of the Senate Report is devoted to the issue of drug overdoses and the role Dr. A.J. Campbell played along with area hospitals in controlling the problem. The makeshift hospital on the fairgrounds was filled to capacity from the early stages of the three-day festival and as the rate of emergency cases increased it became almost impossible to maintain accurate records. Campbell estimated that over 800 patients were treated for drug overdoses and he testified of that number, 250 to 300 “would have perhaps died if they hadn’t had emergency care.” Forty-five patients, whose condition was so critical they couldn’t receive the necessary care at the fairgrounds, were transferred and admitted to Bothwell Hospital in Sedalia. 22 patients were transferred to the Medical Center in Columbia.
But one participant, 22-year-old Allan Richard Cragnotti, would never return to his home in Blue Island, Illinois. At 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, he was dead upon arrival at the medical ward on the fairgrounds. The cause of death was an overdose of barbiturates.
By Sunday morning, July 21, acting Governor Phelps issued a second Executive Order requesting the National Guard enter the fairgrounds with medical personnel and supplies. Guardsman walked through the fairgrounds waking up festival participants and any individual who couldn’t be awakened was taken to the medical facility and treated for drug overdose.
Many who were a part of the three day event, however, claim that drug use was not the driving force behind the festival’s appeal. “In the whole scheme of things, drugs weren’t what the festival was about,” recalls 45-year-old Art Lamm, who now resides in Adrian, Oregon. “The promoters wanted to bring some great music to the fans. The culture was already in place and drugs were just part of the package.”
Lamm describes the atmosphere on the fairgrounds that weekend as one of “peaceful anarchy” that seemed to gain “a momentum of its own.” He believes that what many older people resented were the changes the festival and its music symbolized: the cultural upheaval that resulted from the civil rights movement, the women’s movement and the Viet Nam War.  “Let’s face it,” explains Lamm, “it’s like our culture went from Guy Lombardo to Jimi Hendrix in three years. Every generation rebels and drugs were just a part of our rebellion.”
Another participant, Pam McGrath, also contends that drug use was not the festival’s crux, although it’s often remembered as a Mecca for many who embraced the drug culture.   “The drugs don’t really stick out in my mind,” McGrath recalls, “but the people do. It was mind-boggling---the number of people that were there. It was this vast sea of humanity.”
McGrath’s most distinct memory is of the unsettling tension that existed on the campgrounds to the west of the festival site. Accompanied by a journalist friend covering the event for the St. Louis Dispatch, McGrath recalls being fearful. She describes the evening as unbearably hot and remembers many people cramped in one spot with hardly any water for drinking, let alone for showers. The bikers from the motorcycle gangs seemed to rule the campgrounds, she recounts. They roamed about, bullying and leering. No one questioned that whatever they wanted was theirs.  “The mood in the campgrounds was a violent one, “McGrath claims twenty-five years later. “I got the feeling I was in danger. . . I was as naive as they come and the crowd was like nothing I’d ever experienced!”
McGrath, who today owns and operates a popular Sedalia restaurant, steered clear of the campgrounds for the remainder of the festival. When another friend arrived to cover the festival for Crawdaddy magazine, he got her a back stage pass where she stayed for most of the festival, basking in the live music of bands which helped define the seventies. “Bob Seger . . . America . . . the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,” she reminisces. “It was phenomenal---all of the big names that came to Sedalia.”
 “It was like playing to a field of baseballs---so many people---thousands and thousands of bobbing heads,” recalls John McEuen. “It was the biggest live audience we ever played for---184 thousand, the promoters said. All of the bands had to be shuttled in by helicopter--Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels…“his voice trails softly. “I remember when we landed near the stage---they told us the Hells Angels had taken over security---that can be a bad thing, but it can also be a good thing, if they’re on your side,” he laughs.
“Wolfman Jack had seen his share of hijinks, but nothing compared to this. He went on and on about how out of line it was--the anger he felt, mixed with the general fear that rock’n roll’s decadence was peaking in a field, not five miles away. His name was attached to the event, as was ours.  Our show was memorable only in that nothing went right,” Ibbotson remarks as he recounts that the instruments were out of tune and the stage was intolerably hot. He also notes that he and fellow band members were somewhat fearful of the crowd before of them.
“We told each other to keep plodding ahead no matter what mayhem was going on across the moat of beer and blood that separated the stage from the leathered up biker guards and the hoards they thought they had to control,” he recalls.  “So we played out of tune and time and we were probably too scared to sing well. I suppose that everyone looked up from whatever horror show they were involved in when we played Bo Jangles…but I think we were glad to hear that the road crew made it out safe with our gear.”
By Monday, July 22, the festival crowd had left, leaving behind a mountain of garbage, over $100,000 in reported property damages and an undisclosed amount in clean-up costs assumed by the State of Missouri. The festival site became every curious school kid’s paradise and they flocked to the fairgrounds on bicycle and foot, despite the law enforcement’s warning of disease. They came to see, of course, if there were any souvenirs left to claim amidst what the Democrat described as “a mountain of human waste and dirty syringes.” No one cared when Henry Lamm hauled off a souvenir of his own, a wooden shack with “Bruno’s Whorehouse” scrawled across the side of it. He used his tractor to drag it to a small lake nearby where it remains today, partly for posterity but mostly for a duck blind.
With the Missouri State Fair only a few weeks away, helicopters were ordered over the grounds to spray lime as a precaution against the outbreak of disease. For days, bulldozers scraped up topsoil, littered with discarded drug paraphernalia and gnawed cobs of corn from Henry Lamm’s field. In turn, the mountains of dirt were hauled to the county landfill.
Although the clean-up operation was underway, Sedalia residents refused to allow the issue to become yesterday’s news. The community was not only outraged but confused about where to rest the blame. Many believed promoters Shaw, Fritz, Kinton and Brancato had violated their community and they blamed public officials for giving them the authority to organize such an event. Senator Richard Webster who led the Senate investigation of the festival believed Shaw and his associates intentionally misled officials as well as the public. In the Tuesday, July 23 issue of the Sedalia Democrat Webster exclaimed, “This thing was advertised as the Ozark Country Music Festival in Missouri -- in the other 49 states it was advertised as an acid rock festival.”
Sedalians demanded accountability and a promise that no activity of such magnitude would ever again occur in the community. A Grand Jury inquiry was organized in September of 1974. Robert Shaw and Chris Fritz were charged with misleading advertising and Shaw and Sal Brancato were charged with running a confidence game, but after months of hearings and a change of venue from Pettis County to the neighboring Johnson County Court, all charges were dropped. Robert Shaw and his associates who comprised Musical Productions, Inc. were never convicted of any criminal act.
In fact, even Walter Prohaska, the Renegade gang member with the silver hook prosthesis, eluded serving time. Sheriff Fairfax arrested Prohaska on assault charges for which he was convicted, but he jumped bail waiting for his case to be appealed and fled the country. When Fairfax moved to the U.S. Marshall’s Office the following year, he requested that the FBI issue a Fugitive from Justice Warrant and, when Prohaska was located in Costa Rica working as a handyman for a convent of nuns, an international extradition team was sent to bring him back to the United States for sentencing. But the nuns came to Prohaska’s defense, writing letters praising his transformation in character and the LaClede county judge was persuaded to give him probation.
Many agree that the one positive effect resulting from the investigation appears to be a bill passed in June of 1975 providing stiffer regulation of all music festivals held in the state of Missouri. But, years afterward, the mere mention of “that rock festival” brings indignation from nearly any silver-haired Sedalian who resided in the town in 1974. For every resident with an unpleasant memory, however, there are countless individuals across the country in their 40's and 50's with fond recollections.
The Georgia businessman who asked to be referred to only as Vincent, remembers the Ozark Music Festival as one of the last golden moments of the era of protest. He contends that the music and drugs were a means of defying a corrupt establishment that had sent thousands of young men to their deaths in Viet Nam. He was 23 that summer, but he had left his boyhood home in New Jersey a year earlier to travel the country as a “liver of life,” finding his way to all of the concerts and festivals where, for a moment, “we could step out of society” and “express our individuality.”
One month after the Sedalia festival, on the evening of August 14, Vincent was in the audience at the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He claims that the climactic moment when Stephen Stills stepped onto the stage and announced Nixon’s resignation is permanently etched in his mind.   “I will never forget the roar of the crowd. Everyone was cheering because Nixon was the symbol of everything we were pissed off about,” recalls Vincent. “And then, that night, we all knew it was time to go home---time to conform, time to get a job, time to make a family.”
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
 Like Vincent, most of those who came to the festival to “step out” now shoulder the responsibilities of the social structure many of them once questioned. They smoked their last joint, cut their hair, made commitments, and embraced a political consciousness as a conservative or a liberal. Like Vincent, they will never forget the restlessness of the late sixties and early seventies which shaped their perspectives as adults and they will never forget being a part of a cultural phenomenon of their youth: a rock festival in a small Missouri town somewhere between Kansas City and St. Louis.
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Wolfman Jack, Sedalia, Missouri
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, Mo
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
The Ozark Music Festival was held on the Missouri State Fairgrounds, in July 1974 in Sedalia, Missouri. While the Woodstock Festival from 1969 is the most well-known rock festival, the Ozark Music Festival was one of the largest music festivals ever held, while at the same time, it was also one of the least remembered festivals. "No Hassles Guaranteed" was the motto of the festival.
Some estimates have put the crowd count at 350,000 people which would make this one of the largest music events (Rock festivals) in history. Promotion
A company called from Kansas City promoted the festival, and assured officials from the Missouri Department of Agriculture (the State agency which oversaw the State Fair) and the Sedalia Chamber of Commerce that the three-day weekend event would be a blue-grass and “pop rock” festival with no more than 50,000 tickets sold.[citation needed]
The Festival was not scheduled to start until Friday, but thousands had arrived by Thursday night and there was a steady line of cars, trucks, vans, hitchhikers and even an occasional hippie camper slowly winding towards Sedalia and the fairgrounds.
On Friday morning, many Sedalians woke up with sleeping hippies, bikers and groupies sprawled across their lawns, and a long line of bumper-to bumper traffic clogging the roads into town. Some residents were not able to get to work, and for many, their fears of impending chaos at the Fairgrounds were realized in the days to come.
Midnight Special MC, Wolfman Jack hosted the event, and was on stage nightly to introduce the groups and to encourage people to stay cool and “clear the light towers of people before they fall."
The stage was a huge double sided affair, with one band performing and a second band ready to go with just the turning on and off of spotlights.
The roar of the crowd was defining when The Eagles dedicated “Already Gone” to Nixon and his impending impeachment. Barnstorm sang “ Rocky Mountainway” as “bases are loaded and Nixon’s at bat;" yet another politically charged moment that brought thousands to their feet cheering.
* Bachman Turner Overdrive
* The Eagles * America
* Joe Walsh and Barnstorm
* Marshall Tucker Band
* The Earl Scruggs Revue
* The Souther Hillman Furay Band * Lynyrd Skynyrd
* Bruce Springsteen (Scheduled but did not appear)
* Electric Flag * Jefferson Starship
* The Mahavishnu Orchestra (Scheduled but did not appear)
* Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band * The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
* Leo Kottke
* Boz Scaggs * Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes * David Bromberg
* Cactus
Other bands not listed on Ozark Music Festival posters but rumored to have attended the concert include:
* The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
* Charlie Daniels Band
* Bill Quakerman
* Triphammer * Fresh Start
* Aerosmith
* Babe Ruth * Locomotiv GT
* Puzzle
By Saturday morning the Festival was going full force and the town was in gridlock. The festival had grown to around 184,000 attendees, and all of the bands had to be shuttled in and out by helicopter. Many of the fans were seen walking around the fair grounds naked throughout the festival trying to keep cool and find water, because the heat was significant, leading to an outbreak of Dehydration throughout the grounds. There were long lines at the few water fountains or spigots that worked, even though the water itself was warm.
It is believed that the entire concert was filmed by NBC for future release, but the footage was confiscated by the courts due to the amount of damage done to the city and fairgrounds. This would explain Wolfman Jack's presence and nightly MCing of the concerts.
The "No Hassles Guaranteed" advertisement was supposedly meant to be a clear indication that the festival would be a wide open drug event and that the community would soon be invaded by tens of thousands of drug culture groupies.
Drugs were bought and sold openly, and some people reported an entire roll of “drug” vendors set up with signs and sample products. People were observed carrying milk cartons filled with marijuana for sale, and many even wore hand-made signs around their necks advertising 'Hash for sale'.
The Hells Angels biker club took control of the the fairgrounds, and it was reported that several brothels were set up in buses on the fairgrounds under the supervision of these "guardians".
The PA system in the campgrounds interspersed messages of lost people with cautionary advice to avoid overdosing. Couples were observed openly engaging in sexual activity.
Hourly helicopters flights by the Missouri National Guard flew over the two main stages, carrying drug overdoses away from the festival.
There were only about three liquor stores open at the time and by Saturday they were all totally sold out. No more could be ordered because the traffic was so thick you couldn't bring any trucks in. The only place to buy beer was the local grocery store and people report waiting in line three hours to get it.
By Monday, July 22, the festival crowd had left, leaving a field of garbage behind. Damage estimates of $100,000 were reported, and with the Missouri State Fair only a few weeks away the fairgrounds had to be cleaned up quickly. Damage and garbage remained, along with a lingering few waiting around for their friends who had been sent to medical facilities for treatment for dehydration.[citation needed]
After the festival the city of Sedalia only had a few weeks to clean the whole mess up for the Missouri State fair, so helicopters were used for spraying lime over the fairgrounds as a precaution against the possible outbreak of disease.
On the ground, Bulldozers scraped up the topsoil, which was (reportedly) littered with discarded drug paraphernalia and gnawed cobs of corn from a neighboring field along with Mountains of contaminated dirt and garbage which were hauled to the county landfills.
Senate Committee Report The Missouri Senate met in October 1974 and discussed the events of the music festival in the committee report. The report states that, "The Ozark Music Festival can only be described as a disaster. It became a haven for drug pushers who were attracted from throughout the United States. The scene made the degradation of Sodom and Gomorrah appear mild. Natural and unnatural sex acts became a spectator sport ... Frequently, nude women promoted drugs with advertisements on their bodies." But most people there had an incredible time; the people setting up the event failed to prepare properly for the large crowds (the government had to step in to help).
Missouri Highway Patrol. "Troop A History," page 20.
Missouri Senate Select Committee on the Rock Festival (held at Sedalia State Fairgrounds, July 18-22, 1974). Transcript of proceedings, as posted on Internet.

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MOn
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO
Ozark Music Festival, OMF, Sedalia, MO

 Look at this staggering lineup of bands and musicians.  The greatest bands of the day, playing at the same event. I was there, 40 years ago today! 
     This weekend, we celebrate the anniversary of The Ozark Music Festival in Sedalia, Missouri 1974.
Ozark Music Festival Poster

Jefferson Starship featuring Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and Papa John Creach.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - in their prime, with Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkerson and Cassie Gaines.

Electric Flag with Buddy Miles and Mike Bloomfield (they had played at Monterey in 1967!)

Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes


Joe Walsh

Bachman Turner Overdrive with Randy Bachman and Fred Turner

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (at a rock concert!) played the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies, and Foggy Mountain Breakdown

The Eagles (before Joe Walsh, although he performed that weekend with his own band)

The Marshall Tucker Band  (the original)

REO Speedwagon

Boz Scaggs

Bob Seger

America  ("Horse with No Name")

Charlie Daniels

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils


Leo Kottke

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Ozark Music Festival Stage

     No-Shows who were scheduled, but did not appear:
Bruce Springsteen got LAST BILLING.  Supposedly his bus broke down on the way.

The Mahavishnu Orchestra (with Jean Luc Ponty) failed to show up.

Crowds at the Ozark Music Festival

      Many lesser-known bands performed, including

David Bromberg

The Souther Hillman Furay Band


Bill Quateman

Fresh Start

Babe Ruth

Locomotiv GT


 Festival Goers in Sedalia Missouri 1974

     Wolfman Jack was the MC.  He introduced the bands; he tried to keep the crowd under control.  I can still hear him pleading from the stage, "You guys, please get down off those speaker towers before somebody falls and gets hurt!"

     The bands were flown in by helicopters.  There were two stages...  while one band played, the roadies for the next band would be setting up the other stage.  There were literally no breaks between the acts!  

     Crowd estimates range anywhere from 175,000 to 350,000.  

Speaker Towers at OMF 1974

Where is the Film Footage?

     NBC filmed the entire concert.  The films were seized by the Missouri State Senate during their hearings.  The film footage was reportedly destroyed by the State of Missouri.  Although, I have it on good authority that the family of a promoter has copies; and will release them at some point.

 OMF Newspaper Articles

 Line of Cars at Sedalia Ozark Music Festival 1974

     Traffic before and after the Festival was bumper to bumper for 20 miles, from Sedalia to Interstate 70

Add caption

Think Woodstock was nuts? Try Ozark fest
Post-concert tally: one death, around 1,000 ODs and $100,000 in damages
For three tumultuous days, the Missouri State Fairgrounds hosted one of the biggest yet least-known rock spectacles of its time.
updated 7/17/2009
SEDALIA, Mo. — Rock ‘n’ roll’s roster of famous and formative festivals is well-established. Woodstock defined the hippie generation. Altamont’s deadly violence signaled an end of innocence. Watkins Glen drew massive crowds to a New York speedway.
But for 160,000 heartland baby boomers, memories of that bygone era start and end with the Ozark Music Festival.
For three tumultuous days beginning July 18, 1974, the Missouri State Fairgrounds hosted one of the biggest yet least-known rock spectacles of its time.
Promoters assured the state Department of Agriculture that no more than 50,000 spectators would attend its bluegrass and “soft rock” festival. Turned-on music fans knew better.
Lured by a full-page ad in Rolling Stone magazine, entreaties by disc jockey Wolfman Jack and promises of “no hassles guaranteed,” a crowd more than three times that size overwhelmed Sedalia and its 20,000 residents.
Temperatures soared to 100 degrees as Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, the Eagles, REO Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynyrd (listed on concert posters as Leonard Skynard) and other bands led the way. Concertgoers complied with the sex and drugs part of the equation so willingly that the event triggered a state police investigation and a weeklong emergency hearing by outraged Missouri lawmakers.
The festival’s 35th anniversary is being commemorated at a new exhibit at Sedalia’s Katy Depot.
 “It was just a big party,” said Rod Sievers, an assistant to the chancellor at Southern Illinois University who was attending the Carbondale college at the time. “Everybody was there to have a good time.”
Sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll
State legislators who formed the Senate Select Committee on the Rock Festival within days of the event’s conclusion took a far dimmer view of the drug-addled hordes who invaded their fair state for an “acid rock” festival.
“The scene on the grounds at Sedalia made the degradation of Sodom and Gommorrah appear to be rather mild,” the panel’s investigation concluded. “Natural and unnatural sex acts became a ‘spectator sport.’ Sex orgies were openly advertised... The fairgrounds’ underpass was transformed into an Oriental Bazaar where all forms of hard drugs were sold. Motorcycle gangs perpetrated acts of extortion, rape and physical violence.”
One concertgoer was severely injured when he refused to pay $3 demanded by a Detroit motorcycle gang member to pass through a hole in the fence and avoid buying a $15 ticket. The gang member swung his prosthetic arm and hook, opening a gash in the man’s face that required more than 300 stitches and surgery to repair his nasal bone, recalled fan Steve Fritz, who witnessed the assault.

Worried about retaliation, “I stayed awake for three days in my apartment near the phone with a loaded shotgun in hand” he wrote in an online posting.
Former Pettis County Sheriff Emmett Fairfax said that local officials were woefully unprepared for what awaited.
Traffic on U.S. 65, the town’s primary road, ground to a standstill for 17 miles. A nearby Pittsburgh Corning factory had to temporarily shut down because its employees couldn’t get to work.
Festival attendees set up camp and hosed down in unsuspecting residents’ front yards. And farmer Harry Lamm reported 30 stolen pigs, two steers shot and butchered and 40 acres of corn destroyed and consumed by ravenous concertgoers.
‘It just got out of hand’
The post-concert tally: one death, an estimated 1,000 drug overdoses and $100,000 worth of property damage. The Sedalia Democrat newspaper described “a mountain of human waste and dirty syringes” in the aftermath.
“There was no way to control this thing,” Fairfax said. “Sedalia wasn’t prepared. We didn’t know what was coming until it happened. It just got out of hand.”
By early September, Sedalia’s city council approved a resolution banning future rock festivals in town. But even the state investigators who attended the festival acknowledged that most of those in attendance were peaceful, fun-loving kids.
State Senate researcher John Hall said he observed “no acts of violence, no vandalism and very little loud behavior.” And the widespread nudity was driven as much by a need for relief from the oppressive heat as any acts of defiance or social commentary, he told the special committee.
“No one made a production of their nudity, and the heat apparently limited those in the nude to strolling rather than streaking,” he testified.
Thirty-five years later, memories of the good vibes far outweigh the sordid details of rock 'n’ roll excess for those who have visited the commemorative exhibit or discovered Sievers’ Web tribute page.
The town’s ban on long-haired “acid rock” acts has also been relaxed. Both Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band performed at the Missouri State Fair in recent years.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Music News & Reviews  JULY 18, 2015
Film looks back at 1974 Sedalia rock festival, a party of hot music that was a hot mess

 Under a broiling sun, people filled the infield of the mile-long track on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia in July 1974 for the three-day Ozark Music Festival.
Under a broiling sun, people filled the infield of the mile-long track on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia in July 1974 for the three-day Ozark Music Festival. | Courtesy of Jeff Lujin

Film looks back at 1974 Sedalia rock festival, a party of hot music that was a hot mess

Read more here:


Think Missouri State Fair — easy enough, it’s here in less than a month.

Now picture naked hippie chicks showering at the livestock washing stations while singing “California Dreamin’” —that’s harder, right?

Jeff Lujin may soon be able to help with that. In a cluttered Independence basement, he’s busy editing a documentary film about something that took place on those fairgrounds 41 years ago.

There’s no mention in all his footage of a blue ribbon watermelon, the latest kitchen miracle device, a draft horse, cattle — wait — there is a steer.

It was stolen from a farmer’s pasture, killed, butchered and cooked by a bunch of rock music fans who resorted to rustling when the town ran out of food.

The Ozark Music Festival of 1974 was three days of drugs, sex and rock ’n’ roll in a land of jam judging, tractor pulls and 4-H lambs. The Woodstock generation throwing a final blowout in a small Missouri town.

“It was the last of the uncontrolled rock festivals — and something Sedalia didn’t want to talk about for years,” Lujin said.

Town officials were told by Kansas City promoters that the event might draw 50,000. They talked up bluegrass music, crafts and a Sunday morning worship service.

Instead, a crowd estimated at 150,000 to a quarter million people from all over the country flooded into a town of 23,000. Most of them stormed the gates. The main craft turned out to be joint rolling. Hundreds overdosed on harder drugs, and one person died. Business owners boarded up stores. The governor mobilized the National Guard.

Aerosmith, Bob Seger, the Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ted Nugent and REO Speedwagon stirred up a storm that Sedalia and the state of Missouri could hardly ride out.

Stories say the lead singer of a band from Hungary defected.

One promoter had a heart attack the first day. Another, Chris Fritz, had to sneak out of town when it was over, and the ground was so nasty that state officials ordered the topsoil removed.

“The Ozark Music Festival can only be described as a disaster,” a state Senate report concluded. “The scene made the degradation of Sodom and Gomorrah appear mild. Natural and unnatural sex acts became a spectator sport.”

Lujin grew up in Sedalia and was much too young to attend the 1974 festival. But seven years ago, a friend sent him a report prepared by undercover Highway Patrol officers. The report talks at length of long-hairs, widespread drug use and bare breasts.

Sold. Never mind that Lujin’s filmmaking experience to that point amounted to one college class and repeated viewings of “Citizen Kane.” He works at a gift shop on the Independence square, but he always wanted to make a movie.

Now he finds himself the arbiter of maybe the biggest thing that ever hit his hometown.

Was the Ozark Music Festival a disaster? Or was it simply the end-of-an-era party for a generation losing its lease — a gathering to clear the cupboard of the last of the excess?

“It was something different to everybody I talked to,” said Lujin, 44, who will discuss the project at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kansas City Central Library. “In the crowd, on stage, the police, people at home in Sedalia — it’s like they’re not talking about the same thing.”

Jim Mathewson, a Sedalia resident who served in both the Missouri House and Senate, appears in the film and has seen an early cut. He called it amazing and necessary. The town, he said, has never come to terms on a lasting legacy for the event.

Mathewson was there. He took a ride onto the grounds with the county sheriff. People jumped on the hood of the car.

“I went home and got the wife and kids out of town and loaded every gun I had in the house,” Mathewson said. “I didn’t know that they might try to take over the town, and they could have.

“Now, all these years later, I know that 90 percent of those kids just came for the music.”

No matter how “Sodom and Gomorrah in Sedalia: The 1974 Ozark Music Festival” turns out, Maxine Griggs probably won’t like it. Now almost 90, she stormed out of a recent early screening in Sedalia — and let Lujin know it.

Her family has long roots as concession operators at the fair, and when she learned about the festival coming to town, she pictured couples strolling to pretty music. She got a new ice cream machine.

“While I was setting up, I saw a woman coming down the street and she was naked,” Griggs said last week in her Sedalia home. “We had to close up because there were so many people. They were all doing drugs, and before it was over they used my ice cream booth for a toilet.”

Her daughter, Judy Bell, shares her mother’s disgust.

“I never saw so many naked people,” Bell said through teeth still clenched after 41 years.

In 1974, the 1960s were winding down in Missouri.

Late, yes, but things didn’t really get started until maybe 1967, so we got to go over, sort of like stoppage time in soccer.

The rest of the country had already seen Woodstock, Altamont and Watkins Glen.

“The term ‘rock concert’ is poison here,” Leigh Kimball, the Sedalia event’s media director, told a Star reporter before the event. “This is not going to be Woodstock or Watkins Glen.”

He called it a “youth fair” and said it wouldn’t be much different from the state fair.

Chris Goss figured differently. He was 15, he lived on the fairgrounds because his dad was a groundskeeper and he had seen an ad promoting the event in Rolling Stone.

Aerosmith, the Eagles, Blue Oyster Cult, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Bob Seger, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Joe Walsh, America, Charlie Daniels Band, REO, Ted Nugent, Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Tickets were $15 in advance or $20 at the gate for the three-day concert, hosted by Wolfman Jack.

“I was just a kid, but I knew something was coming to town that people here had never seen before,” Goss said last week.

He worked at a restaurant across from the fairgrounds, and he saw cars, hippie vans and motorcycles start to pull into town two days before the gates opened. The crowd couldn’t get in and raised hell. Police arrested three on drug charges.

“The officer said angry youths threw stones and damaged five patrol cars,” The Star reported on July 17.

Over the next 24 hours, traffic clogged U.S. 50 and U.S. 65 for miles in all directions. People abandoned vehicles and walked. Concertgoers set up camp in people’s yards and used garden hoses for drinks and showers. A farmer complained of hippies picking his field corn.

“And there were reports they roasted some of his pigs,” Pettis County Sheriff Emmett Fairfax told a Star reporter.

Goss and his friends saw it all from their bikes.

“People were smoking marijuana everywhere, and after a while we didn’t even pay attention to a woman without her top on — that’s how crazy it was,” Goss said.

All three days topped 100 degrees. A building across from the grandstand was turned into an emergency clinic.

Some reports had a local band kicking off the music on Friday, July 19, followed by Bob Seger. The evening also brought an impromptu jam session outside the sheep barn.

The crowd went over 100,000. Kansas City police sent over an armored personnel carrier.

The undercover Highway Patrol officers wrote in their report: “As dusk turned to night, the crowd grew larger and more emotional as the music got into full swing and the drugs became more effective.

“On Saturday at approximately 7:45 a.m., a male subject entered our camp site and offered us each a ‘toke’ (to smoke) from his electric marijuana pipe. We declined.”

A man died from an overdose that day. Sedalia Police Chief William Miller publicly chastised promoters for their talk of bluegrass and church services. Businesses closed, and water pressure dropped to a drip.

By then, promoter Bob Shaw had suffered a heart attack and left town. Fritz laid low as the town’s outrage rose with the temperature.

The Star, July 20: An electrician who came out the main gate said: “I don’t know why all these people would come here. Beats the hell out of me. Unless they just like to look at naked girls taking showers. But I’m too old for that.”

Through the madness, however, was the music.

“That part was amazing,” Joe Maceda, the event’s production manager, said last week from England. “It was a great show.”

A highlight: Glenn Frey of the Eagles dedicating “Already Gone” to Richard Nixon, who would resign the presidency three weeks later.

Danny Gooch from Norborne, Mo., heard it was a heck of a show, but he and his friends missed it because they couldn’t get anywhere near the stage.

“So many people you couldn’t walk,” he said. “We could hear it, but mostly we just drank beer and watched ’em skinny-dip in the lagoon.”

Promoters paid the bands a total of $190,000.

“Today that lineup would cost $25 million,” Fritz said.

He owns up to everything that went wrong. Organizers didn’t pay enough attention to food, water, trash and camping. Security was mostly kids with T-shirts and whistles.

“We lost control about 8 o’clock Friday morning — before it even started,” Fritz remembered. “And we couldn’t get it back. It was too hot and there were too many people.”

Maceda sensed trouble early.

“I knew chaos had descended when they started cooking cows and setting the toilets on fire,” he said. “All that Saturday I’m on the phone with a National Guard colonel and he wants to come in and I’m fighting him off because all I can think of is Kent State.”

The next day, as the event was winding to a merciful close, organizers brought in some factory workers to protect the stage and equipment. One offered Maceda a gun.

“No matter what goes wrong these days,” Maceda said, “I can always say, ‘Well, at least this isn’t Sedalia. Nobody’s trying to give me a gun and the toilets aren’t on fire.’”

When it was finally over, Fritz fled. Someone had told him, “There’s a lynch mob and you’d better get out of town.”

He says he was banned from the fairgrounds for years.

The following weeks brought grand jury probes, hearings, indictments and lawsuits. The state changed its rules about use of the fairgrounds. And promoters settled up, including paying a farmer for two head of cattle, a half dozen feeder pigs and 15 acres of corn.

“Hey, want to see a clip?” Lujin said one day last week in his basement.

Charles Love and Harry Williams of a black Kansas City R&B group called Bloodstone appeared on his computer screen.

“They thought we were a white group from England,” said a chuckling Williams.

“We were pelted,” Love added. “Everyone was stoned and half of them didn’t have clothes on.”

Lujin would have met with them again if Love were still around, but he has since died. That’s just one setback for this project.

He wanted the film done in time for the 40th anniversary. Now he’s hoping for 2016.

The biggest problem was that the original film of the festival could not be found. He ran out of money, sold a farm, got divorced, ran out of money again. Some people still don’t want to talk about the concert. Six people he’s interviewed have died. Every piece of music has to be cleared for copyright.

But now a lot of the old film he’s scavenged is in New York being transformed to HD quality. Maceda is involved and says Lujin has done an amazing job in finding people.

Such as “the hook man,” an outlaw biker with a prosthetic arm who was accused of roughing up a hippie during the concert.

“When he fell,” the man explained to Lujin, “my hook got caught in his nose and ripped it some.”

Lujin has talked to Jeff Hanna and John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He’s talked to Joe Walsh. He’s still working on others.

Some might not remember being there. It was a long time ago and the area has all been changed. Last week, workers were sprucing up the grounds for another state fair.

There can’t be another Ozark Music Festival, not like that one anyway.

The times, they have changed.

Read more here:

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is an extremely old page, but I'd like to please add the Facebook link to the "Ozark Music Festival July 19-21, 1974" to here, since it has become home to more than 2400 of the kids, now old folks, that attended the OMF & home to these photos. It's a Private Group but only to keep sunglass & shoe vendors away! Come join the OMF Group & enjoy a non-scammed session of talking to people, like me, who were actually AT the OMF 1974!