Thursday, December 27, 2007

SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK AND ROLL- The Texas International Pop Festival


Several months after beginning my radio career, I was picked by KLIF News and KNUS FM to cover this rock event that took place two or three weeks after Woodstock . Many of the groups that were at Woodstock were there too with a some deletions and a notable addition of Led Zepplin. I must have been one of their first concert appearances. As John McCain said of Woodstock, this too was a major historical and pharmaceutical event. I'm sure he was tied up during this one too.

I was sent to Lewisville, Texas to the Texas International Speedway, the location of the show. I packed up the KLIF news cruiser (an Olds Cutlass with the KLIF logo all over it) with my tape recorder, two way radio, and extra batteries and away I went. This was a 4 day show, so would have a place to sleep too if needed.

I first went to the scene of the show about a week earlier before the show was to start, and met the promoters. These guys planned a lot better physical security than their New York Counterparts. They put up a fence that didn't come down. I believe they did let some people in free on the last day of the show.

It was rumored that the promoters had invited the mayor, city council and police chief to have a spaghetti dinner at the concert site some time before the show was to start and they showed up hungry. It was said that the main ingredient of the spaghetti sauce was a certain herb, unbeknownst to the diners, but many of the officials were reported to have said that it was the best spaghetti they ever had.

The police totally left the concert goers alone at the show, except for tending to the occasional medical emergency. The scene inside of the fence looked exactly the way things looked at the Woodstock concert. That's from the basic stage setup to the people who were everywhere. It was like a mirror image.

A high police official (so to speak) drove a golf cart around the area checking up on things during the 4 days. Maybe he was looking for more spaghetti. Rumor was that he received a substantial amount of money to provide "security" for the show and immediately retired after the show was over.

The promoters also had several free stages set up along the shores of Lake Dallas where local musicians performed for free. There were lots of campsites along the lake and thousands of people. It also had volunteers from the "Hog Farm" with Wavy Gravy and a free food tent there too.

This concert lasted four days. The press pass that I had received as an official radio newsman to cover news stories for KLIF AM and KNUS FM that was issued by the Dallas Police Department opened every door at the pop Festival. It was better than a back stage pass because it was issued by the cops and also had the powerful KLIF logo on it. KLIF was the number one station in the entire Dallas area with at least 27% of all of the radios that were on at any given time were tuned to it.

Along the way, here are some of the acts that I remember meeting and interviewing: Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Sly and the Family Stone, Janis Joplin, The Who, Sam and Dave, and others. Some of the others were Grand Funk Railroad, who had driven themselves and their equipment down to Texas in a VW Microbus and Santana, who were personally selling their first album for a dollar each while walking through the crowd.
Our radio station was given about ten four day passes for the show. We gave them out outside the gates at the show itself.

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