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Now, here's a strange tale. Someone made a movie called "Winter's End" about a girl who overdoses on drugs and falls from a two story window and survives. By all accounts it was one of those counterculture type movies that did decent business around this time and the Winters End Pop Festival was put together to help promote the movie. At least in theory.
Ads were placed in newspapers and free press stating.
"All the tribes of Woodstock Nation will gather together March 27th, 28th and 29th, in Miami, Florida, to celebrate Winter's End and perform the Rites of Spring. 600 acres of quiet countryside will be the host. Winter's End is the Hog Farm and communal kitchens, Indian tribal gathering, trading posts and villages ... $20 for the entire weekend."
Sounds far out but although it was promoted to take place in Miami, as per usual, the local goodfolk said no way where they were going to allow a lot of long-hairs and freaks get their groove on in their town and refused the promoters a permit. Boo.
But freaks always be thinking, said 'ok straight dudes, you win' and promptly moved the gig to Bithlo, a small town just outside of Orlando, Florida. At the time Bithlo had no police force!! So, as you can imagine, there were lots of illegal activities going down. Acid was plentiful with some vintage Orange Sunshine and something called Green Oz available. Wow.
The festival was filmed but that footage is nowhere to be found, probably due to consuming all the Green Oz. However, the festival itself was one of those anarchic affairs which went off the rails from the start. The original Miami proposed bill of acts included Grateful Dead, Iron Butterfly, Steve Miller Band and many many more top acts. But in fact, those who played at Bithlo were quite different. Headliners the Allman Brothers stole the show but Edgar & Johnny Winter and Mountain also provided the good vibes but there were only a couple of bands on each night. Reports of locals breaking into cars and breaking heads resulted in fights and the whole thing got a bit messy.
The promoters and ranch owner, holed up in a nearby motel, got busted by the fuzz. Local papers referred to them as 'promoters of a local dude ranch festival' which sounds very exotic. Charged with violating zoning orders.
What could've been a historic event became just another footnote in the golden age of festivals