Thursday, 17 April 2014

1970 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival Documentary

A short Woodstock style documentary on the 1970 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival.

The program for the 1970 festival included headliners Howlin’ Wolf, Albert King, Bobby Blue Bland, Otis Rush and Son House - unfortunately none of them are included here. Were they even filmed?

The first festival was in 1969 and both festivals lost money. The all-blues program couldn't bring in enough people to break even and, like Woodstock and the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, many crashed the fences and got in for free.

Funnily enough after a quick look on google I can't even find a poster or program for the 1970 festival so one wonders how well publicized it was and whether that also contributed to its financial shortcomings.

It's a great little documentary resonant of its time. A time when large scale festival organization was still in its infancy. If only there were more music. 

More on the festival here
The Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival – A Brief History by Michael Erlewine (official historian for the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz festival)

Michael Erlewine's video history of the first two festivals

The Ann Arbor Chronicle -  Singin’ the Ann Arbor Blues. 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival was Midwest's Woodstock

More on stranger than known
Cream live at the Spalding Bar-B-Que, 29th May 1967

Freddie King live on POP2 - September 1973

Texas International Pop Festival with Led Zeppelin... 

1 comment:

  1. Ann Arbor Blues 1970 was up against the Goose Lake festival in nearby Jackson,
    Mich. the same weekend. Goose Lake featured Grand Funk, one of the hottest bands of
    that year. I had heard about Ann Arbor Blues through my subscription to Downbeat
    Magazine. My friends and I packed a borrowed Ford Econoline van with provisions;
    the vehicle became our home for the two weeks it took us to attend the Blues festival and continue on to NYC - the first time for all four of us. For four hicks
    from rural Colorado, we did ok. Breakdowns in Williamsport,Pennsylvania, an
    exhaust manifold change in the parking lot of Proctor-Gamble in Cincinnati,
    Ohio. with borrowed tools. All in all it was a good trip. If nothing else, the music at the festival was incredible. And the experience prove the old saying, "Travel is the best education. I will never forget Roosevelt Sykes
    (RIP) opening the first night..."Ol Big Ben", "Boot That Thing"....Magic.