1st St. Louis Pop Festival, Kiel Auditorium, 1970

1st St. Louis Pop Festival, Kiel Auditorium, 1970
Authored By John Nicholson

This was a gathering of the tribes in St Louis on Saturday Mar 07, 1970 sold as 'An Indoor Woodstock' (of course it was!!!) and 8,000 hippies and freaks turned up at the Convention Hall for a nine hour show which featured Aardvark, Alvin Pivil, Blue Magoos, Chuck Berry, Country Joe & The Fish, Cradle, Frijid Pink, Jay Barry, Murge, Pax, Rotary Connection, Spur, Steam Stop, The Amboy Dukes, The Frost, The Pleasure Seekers, The Stooges, Touch

A lot of those were local bands, of course. You’ve got to wonder what Chuck Berry thought of gigs like this. He really played a lot of gigs on the late-60s festival circuit. I’m sure he must have dug the scene even if it was so different from the 1950s rock n roll years. Mike Quatro - brother of Suzi & Patti, produced the show. “We’ve got all the medium names tonight,” he said, somewhat damning his own show with faint praise. He said he’d put $30,000 into the show.

With tickets at $5 each, that meant he’d took $40,000 netting a nice 10k profit for the show. Yes, there was money in those rock n roll hills even though he said he just wanted to make enough money to put on more free festivals “that’s where my head is at” he said, like a groovy cat.

A funny point about this was that the Kiel Auditorium management insisted Mike put chairs out for the groovers, like this was a normal respectable show and not a rock show where freaks wanted to get their groove on. However, they promised if there was no trouble, they’d be allowed to - shock horror - sit on the floor next time!

The sweet smell of dope was everywhere but the cops let everyone have a good time and although they had posted 12 officers at the event despite, as patrolman Al Jackson said to the local paper “there ain’t no Abbie Hoffman here.” (a sign of how prominent the Yippies leader was in 1970)

Reports suggested everyone had a good time and buzzes were most decidedly got right on, baby

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