We grew up hearing snippets of the stories: first joints, flying tents, incorrect memories of the acts who played, and even a fabled master recording from the sound board secreted away in a friend’s basement (recently rediscovered). The event was more legend than an established piece of Michigan history, but staged almost exactly one year after Woodstock, the Goose Lake International Music Festival did indeed happen and it was glorious.
Annoying music bed and even more annoying local commercials aside, this 30 minute documentary has an oral history from organizers and attendees with fantastic archival footage of Michigan’s entrant into the 60s and 70s music festival culture.
Held on August 7 through 9, 1970, national and international acts included Faces, Jethro Tull, Chicago, Ten Years After, The Flying Burrito Brothers (!!!), Mountain, John Sebastian, the James Gang featuring Joe Walsh, The Flock and The Litter.
Several area bands included Bob Seger, the MC5, The Stooges, Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder, Brownsville Station, Savage Grace, Third Power and SRC. Masters of ceremonies were Teegarden & Van Winkle, who also performed.
Goose Lake was originally supposed to be a “permanent festival space,” featuring a revolving “turntable” stage, camping, bathrooms and medical facilities. According to Wikipedia, “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.’”
Despite generally good reviews of the bands and sound, the festival was known mostly for “rampant drug use.” Promoter Richard Songer was even indicted for promoting the sale of drugs and there was never another festival on the grounds. I am proposing we remedy that by hosting the next GLONO retreat at Greenwood Acres Campground, the site of the festival. Shirts optional, cut-off shorts mandatory.
More color photos of the Goose Lake Festival here.