Bull Island Rock Festival - Was Anyone There?

Discussion in 'Flashbacks' started by jammin1000, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. jammin1000

    jammin1000 Member

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    Did anyone attend the Bull Island Rock Festival in Illinois? I think it was July of '72 but I am not sure because I was experiencing heavy duty "aural technical difficulties" during those years.

    Bands included Gentle Giant, Rory Gallagher, Lee Michaels, Ravi Shankar, Brownsville Station (them I remember), Foghat, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes (LOUD AS HELL AT 3:00 A.M. - them I remember), Canned Heat, Black Oak Arkansas, Eagles, Nazareth and Flash.

    Anyhow...from what I remember, it was a real hoot. If you were there, tell me what you remember! Where did you drive or hitch from to get there? How many people did you come with, etc., etc., etc.

    :cheers2:
     
  2. wingshot

    wingshot Guest

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    This message is to "Jammin1000"...I did attend the Bull Island Rock Festival.It was over Labor Day weekend of 1972...you were close.Rory Gallagher blew me away.I was very high most of the weekend.4 of us drove down from Moline Illinois.Somehow we found a bunch of folks from the Quad Cities there.Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes did not play at 3 a.m....they played at sunrise...I was right in front of the stage for the Dukes.I can tell you quite a bit of info from the fest...if you would care to chat about the fest...write to me at flagriver47@yahoo.com.

    Dave
     
  3. ddsquirrel

    ddsquirrel Guest

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    A friend and I had hitchhiked to Bull Island in 1972. It was a huge mess, and the traffic was backed up for miles. We ended up walking past the cars for the last few miles. There was a ticket stand set up to get in Bull Island, but we noticed people just walking thru a cornfield to get in, so we did too. The bands I remember (and believe me, it's all a little hazy!) were Bertha (an all-girl band. They were very good. I still have their album that I purchased when I got back home), Albert King, Black Oak Arkansas, Cheech and Chong (they were flown in by helicopter, were on stage about 15 minutes and it began to rain, and helicoptered back out), and Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. If I remember right, the Amboy Dukes started playing at sundown and played all night until the sun came back up. I remember passing out and waking up about 3 or 4 a.m. and they were still playing. One day I went to the concession stand to try to buy some food. I stood in line for about an hour to try to buy overpriced hot dogs and hamburgers. Suddenly, someone yelled F**K THIS! LET'S TAKE THIS PLACE! And all of a sudden the tables went flying over and everyone made a mad dash for the food. The food workers cowered in the corners while everyone was grabbing food. I was hungry so I ran and grabbed a couple of hamburgers, too. The only food vendor I noticed at Bull Island that nobody messed with was a little Mexican guy with a small Taco stand. He charged a fair price and was back everyday and was real friendly with everyone. My friend and I had set up a pup tent. I caught Pneumonia on the 3rd day (from laying out in the rain), so I was just laying in the tent due to weekness. Just outside our tent a young couple were laying under a sheet of visqueen to keep dry, and they decided to have sex, which was okay except they were laying against our tent and up against my back! They bounced me all over that tent and I was too weak to move. I also remember going to the "turd fields". There were no adequate restrooms facilities, so you had to walk into a pasture where everyone else was taking a dump. You had to step carefully to find a spot nobody had used yet. It was there that I saw one of the few people I knew. He was squatting in the field about 30 feet from me and waved. I was going to ask him who was with him and where they were (the place was packed with people and it was almost impossible to find someone by just looking for them) but when I finished my business in the field, I looked over to where he had been, and he was gone. When my friend and I decided to leave we started walking past all the cars to try to get to the start of the line to start hitchhiking. We caught a ride in the back of a pickup truck and went about 10 miles, when the truck broke down. Seems that someone had stolen some parts from the truck while it was parked and caused the breakdown. They ended up hitchhiking with us for a ways and we all caught a ride in the back of another pickup truck. All the rides in pickups added to my sickness and I could barely stand up. I was at an exit ramp in Indianapolis when a county sheriff saw me and thought I was on something. He had me empty my duffel bag and when he was satisfied that I had no drugs, he left me to crawl around and pick up my clothes, which were blowing all over the place. By the time I got back home, I was half-dead. My sister ran me to the hospital, and I was bed ridden for 3 weeks. I still have scar tissue in my left lung from the experience. And I'd do it all again in a heartbeat!
     
  4. ragtop69gs

    ragtop69gs Guest

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    Now this is a blast from the past ! YES I was there, what a wild week it was ! A buddy and I hitchhiked there from Detroit. We got about 5 miles from the site and traffic was like a parking lot on the hi-way, we walked the last five miles getting to the concert site late on Friday afternoon. We had no tickets and little money and were trying to figure out a way in when some guy in a 4x4 said he was going to drive in through a corn field, he said hop in the back, yee haw...... away we went blasting through the corn. My first memory when we got in was some dude parked with his trunk open, filled to the brim with weed. He said 12 bucks a bag and hands me a paper lunch bag, COOL , the rest of the week was pretty much a blur. Partied with the American breed motorcycle club most of the time. I must say, it was a good thing the Red Cross was there handing out PBJ sandwich's and soup or we would have starved. The music was great, the girls were plentiful and the drugs...... Something like that festival could never happen nowadays.
     
  5. Wavy Gravy

    Wavy Gravy Member

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    I love listening to these stories
     
  6. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed & Confused Lifetime Supporter Super Moderator

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    So there I stood, a guy on my left, another on the right, and out in front, about ten feet away a third was pointing at my chest...

    Four of us headed out from Pittsburgh, Pa in a little Toyota, it took a long time to get there as we drove on through the night. When we arrived the next morning the roads were all blocked so we parked in a field and walked for a couple miles along with the rest of the throng. When we got to the stage area we realized there were places to park so we turned around and walked back to the car. By now the road had cleared a bit so we drove in and parked it in a field near the bandstand somewhere. We Stuck a tarp in the top of one of the car doors and spread it down to the ground for shelter and set up a makeshift camp. We were off to the side away from most people, not a real good idea at a three-day rock concert.
    I have no idea when what happened on which day as we were pretty burned, as usual, since this was merely a continuation of the party that had begun back in '68. I do recall bits and pieces such as the huge crowd around the stage that kept us away for the most part away for the most part. I can remember people in concert shirts running around trying to keep order. Most of the time I was in a complete daze, wandering from here to there. I can't remember any of the music, I think we tried to see Cheech and Chong, but we gave up. At some point a helicopter flew over dropping Black Oak Arkansas cardboard visors. I had one for years, and then lost it.
    It seemed like it rained for a really long time and produced vast fields of mud. There was a place to swim with or without. There was very little drinking water, I remember standing in line at a pipe coming out of the ground for a long time to get any. Little or no Porta Johns so we used the field mentioned above. Food was also in sort supply, at one point a bread truck pulled in and was mobbed by the crowd. It was emptied fairly quickly.
    Two of the dudes I was with had a paper shopping bag filled with their wares and had posted themselves by the crowd to wheel and deal. My future brother in law and I stayed around the camp keeping an eye on the smoke.
    At some point, after dark, on the first day, three freaks wandered into the light of the fire and started to talk. I was watching them through blurred eyes and trying to make sense of what they where saying, something about buying some stuff from us, so I told them it was all gone, and besides, the dudes were out exploring the scene somewhere... The vibes were a little strange, so trying to be friendly; I asked them if they had walked in and if they were thirsty, as we had a canteen of water in the car. "Sure," they said. So I crawled into the front seat and got the canteen. When I emerged, I found a guy on my left, another on the right, and out in front, about ten feet away a third was pointing at my chest...
    This is strange, I thought. So I squinted real hard at the dude in front of me, as it seemed like the hand pointed at my chest was holding something. That's when he said, "Where's the money?"
    Shit! That's a gun! My situation began to sink in. I raised both hands as high as I could over my head, hoping to attract someone's attention as I quickly looked to the left and right and even turned to see behind me. This is when I realized that it's not good to camp to far away from the crowed.
    I was told to put my hands down and hand over the cash, which I didn’t have. So they went through my pockets and got pissed when they found them empty. The one on my right hit me in the head and I slammed back into the car and fell to my left side. As I hit the ground I heard someone yell, “What’s going on?!” So I rolled and came up running!
    I looked back over my shoulder after a few feet to see what was going on and saw that they had taken off in the opposite direction! It seems my future brother in law was asleep under the tarp on the opposite side of the car and had been wakened by the car being rocked when I was hit.
    So we had a smoke to calm our nerves. Pretty soon the others returned and between the four of us we figured a bunch of smack freaks had marked us out.
    So we stuck together after that.
    The rest is a blur except for meeting a follow concert attendee in a restroom out on the highway on our way home. We giggled a lot.

    Its official name was “The Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival” do a search under that name.

    Here’s a site about it with a few pictures:
    http://www.billbloodworth.com/html/bullisland.html

    Here’s lots of stories:
    [FONT=&quot]http://bullisland.blogspot.com/2005/12/heres-comment-from-one-person-that-was.html[/FONT]
     
  7. robert46

    robert46 Guest

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    Some friends and I are exploring the possibility of making a documentary about the historic event of the Bull Island concert on this, the 40th anniversary of the show. Any contact information, useful clips or photos, testimonials, and especially film footage would be helpful for this non profit project. Feel free to contact me at robert_cowgill@yahoo.com. Thank you.
     
  8. huggija

    huggija Guest

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    Yes I was there! I hitchhiked with a friend from Peoria, Illinois in hopes of finding some of our friends, who had left the day before. Spent Friday night with some people that we met; the next morning, I came out of the tent and spotted one of my friends...unbelievable in a crowd such as that! The entire weekend was a blur...way too many downers and way too much pot. But damn it was fun. Met a guy there that I dated on and off for 5 years, so it's very near and dear to my heart. :daisy:
     
  9. jellydonut

    jellydonut Member

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    i was there, too. between my junior and senior year of high school. hitched down from indy with a friend of my older brother. totally unprepared...i don't think we took anything with us. it rained, we tripped, saw my first boobies and needles there. lot's of crazy, fuzzy memories of that one.
     
  10. charleyb

    charleyb Guest

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    Yeah, I was there also. I was stationed in Kansas City, Mo, a Marine. I had just gotten married, she and I and some friends drove to the concert, left our car on the highway and walked through fields over fences and through streams. We didn't have tickets, but went on in. We sat near the stage through most of the show, people fed us. It was a great honeymoon. I was 19, she was 16, and it is an experience I will never forget. Our car broke down just outside of KC on our return trip. I would do it all over with very few changes
     
  11. CeruleanRush

    CeruleanRush Guest

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    I was there. I was 14 and rode in from Kansas City, MO, with several other guys I barely knew. I recall lots of scenes, but surprisingly little of the music. On the second day after sleeping more or less in the rain and mud that night I awoke to Ted Nugent and a lot of loud feedback at dawn. I was surprised and very pleased to find a number of posts online about the event.
     
  12. Rixxx

    Rixxx Guest

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    I was there....drove up from Nashville w/2 buddies.

    Never seen anything like it, before or since. Talking about wide open....actual stands set up selling ANY drug you might want. First into to heroin there....never saw it before. Someone was shooting up right there.

    Vendors walking around hawking pretty much anything. I remember hearing one holler 'chocolate mescaline' very late one night after the rain. I woke up, bought some, gave 1 to my buddies and went back to sleep. Woke up not long after, looked at 1 of my friends and he was asleep with his head in a puddle. LOL (he's no longer alive, not from that though)

    it was an amazing time, I was 19 at the time.

    I remember the food trucks coming in and ripping people off...2 pieces of bread and 1 piece of bologna for a buck. No mustard, no nothing. Ciggs were priced high as hell too. Sure enough, wasn't long before they were looted and burnt. Somehow a carton of Marlboro made it by my way. :)

    The interstate photos of cars parked looks too familiar....I'd almost bet my car is in the photo somewhere....:)

    Great memories.....THANKS!
     
  13. Davis Sun

    Davis Sun Members

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    I went with three friends after reading the ad in Rolling Stone. It seemed like we walked about 8-10 miles from where we left the car on the freeway. It was a mess, the music was good, but the facilities were inadequate. I was 16 and all four of us were from the Flint, Mi area.
    We walked through a small town - there were people on their porches looking aghast and the ribbon of people strolling by - this was a remote farm country and they were not use to seeing hippies.
    I remember the music, we were about 300 feet from the stage, just off to the left. The sheer size of the crowd was mesmering to me.
     

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