Anorak | The Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival 1972: Possibly The Worst Music Gathering in History

The Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival 1972: Possibly The Worst Music Gathering in History

by | 2nd, September 2014

AFTER The Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and Isle of Wight captured rock ‘n’ roll’s attention, everyone was soon trying to get in on the action by putting on their own festivals.

England got Bickershaw and Glastonbury started to stretch out, and America saw festivals popping up all over the place. One such show was the 1972 Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival.





However, this was one of the most disastrous get-togethers in rock. The Rolling Stone’s Altamont gig in 1969 was bad enough, but this shindig, held over three days on Bull Island in Indiana, was blighted from the off.

Promoters of the show thought they’d be getting around 50,000 music lovers on-site, but soon enough, they found themselves swamped with over 300,000 ready to lose their shit and get messy.

The scheduled line-up looked like it was going to be quite the party. Revellers were hoping to see the scheduled Joe Cocker, Black Sabbath, The Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Santana, Canned Heat, John Mayall, Cheech & Chong, The Amboy Dukes, Bob Seger, Ravi Shankar, Albert King, Gentle Giant, Slade, Nazareth, and many more.

However, most of the bands pulled out and soon enough, everything at the Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival descended into farce and anarchy.

The people behind the weekend were buoyed by the success of a party they’d thrown a few months prior, at Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana where everyone got to go crazy for Edgar Winter, Ike and Tina Turner and Grateful Dead pals The New Riders of the Purple Sage.

A bigger show was planned for Chandler, Indiana, serving as something of a Tri-State Woodstock. The courts saw to it that this wouldn’t be happening, so the promoters decided on a site near Griffin in Posey County, Indiana. Or, as the locals called it, ‘Bull Island’. The courts said that no gig could go ahead in the county, but thanks to the changing course of the Wabash River, Bull Island is in part, in the State of Illinois.

The local Illinois officials in the tiny Carmi soon found themselves looking down the barrel of a shitstorm and they were powerless to stop the concert.

What with the weekend happening on Labor Day, everyone had the day off and thus, huge numbers swarmed to Illinois and seeing as you could only get to Bull Island by two roads, traffic was soon in a state of complete bedlam,

You have already read 1 premium article for free today
Access immediately the premium content with Multipass

Or come back tomorrow

Posted: 2nd, September 2014 | In: Music Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink