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August 11, 1970 - Image 6

Resource type:
1970-011, 1970-08-11
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4 * S S

Page Six



Tuesday, August 11, 1970



Tuesday, August 11, 1970





Electrified barbed wire fences warded off most
gate crashers.

Ticket holders had to pass through three checkpoints
to the park.

Some 200,000 fans peer over the ten-foot high wooden and wire fence as they groove to the big, loud, heavy sound.

Marijuana was sold on the open market at from $7 I
$10 an ounce. Most of it was green and smelled
like spinach.

IF 1969 WAS THE year of Woodstock, the
mother. rock festival, then 1970 has been the
year of Woodstock, the $3.50 a head flick, and
the Woodstock myth which has sent young
people by the hundreds of thousands streaming
to a procession of concerts in search of what
may never be again.
A glut of good dope and a smattering of
harder stuff, enduring the elements, nude swim-
ming, the big blue-white sky above, that vast
field filled with young people smoking and
drinking and groovin' to the big, loud, heavy
sound-these are the essential elements of the
Woodstock myth, components the new wave of
rock festivals promoters have labored to pro-
duce to draw the big crowds.
One element of Woodstock and the attendant
myth has been lost in the big time promotional
k shuffle, though. Woodstock was, perhaps above
all else, a free concert. And for many young
festival followers, the concept of the free concert
has gravitated to the center of the Woodstock
myth, perhaps because it is the only part of the
to reality of that big weekend in the Catskills that
hasn't been plagiarized by this year's festival
promoters. Or perhaps for the more political
reasons espoused by many underground and rock
papers-that the promoters and bands should
serve the people who support them, not rob them
blind and beat them over the head.
THE GOOSE LAKE International Music Fes-
tival, which'drew an estimated 200,000 fans
to a 390-acre private park in the farmlands east
of Jackson, Mich., last weekend, was the anti-
thesis of thewfree concert.
While almost all of those inside Goose Lake
Park, Inc. seemed to be fairly well-fed, healthy
and safe from police interference in the wide-
open drug market, hundreds were turned away
for aik of money and scores outside the park
were arrested by civil authorities on dope
Bordered by water and electrified barbed wire
fencing, the park was designed quite explicity
to prevent gate crashing. Each of the two main
gates had three blockaded checkpoints heavily
staffed to make sare no -one who hadn't paid
the $15 admission fee got in.
The emphasis on keeping non-payers out
sometimes took on extreme forms. For example,
one group of about six people in a re-converted
yellow school bus explained that they had been
barred from entry into the park even though
they were supposed to be with a band. Another
group held up at one of the checkpoints was,

one of its members explained, a "family" with
special medical training which had come to of-
fer its services.
Even representatives of the press, who are
normally accorded special privilege to induce
favorable publicity, had to h av e special car
stickers and hospital-style wrist tags and had to
pass through check points to get into the press
area up front.
SECURITY WAS TIGHT all over the park.
The management hired 250 professional, uni-
formed guards who carried guns and clubs, and
a security force of 800 high school and college
age kids, who, though perhaps visually more ac-
ceptable, w e r e no less actively interested in
maintaining order and, even in busting heads.
Hundreds of young people who had hoped to
get in free massed outside the main gate Fri-
day waiting for a chance to break in, and after
dark, they assaulted the fence. Some got in,
some were repulsed by the Goose Lake forces.
The next day, members of what looked like a
motorcycle gang were cast in the incongruous
role of guarding the gapping holes torn in the
fence. A press spokesman for the management
later assured me, however, that the arrangement
Text by Martin Hirschman
Photos by Sara Krulwich
with the group had-been worked out well in ad-
vance and that they were not, in fact, a motor-
cycle gang, but rather, "a special private motor-
cycle security force" from Chicago.
On Saturday, one member of t h i s rather
grubby looking analogue of .the police tactical
mobile unit was selling admission through his
hole in the fence for $10 per couple-half the cost
at the gate that day. A hundred yards down-
the fence, another member of the group boast-
ed a security police badge and proudly pro-
claimed that the security of that entire stretch
of fence was under his command. He claimed
to know nothing of the deal his subordinate
down- the road was offering, but said he had let
in one or two people himself - "You know, it's
hard'to turn away bikers," he said.
One of the ticket sellers who had observed{
the charge Friday night spoke well of the per-
formance of the special motorcycle group. "They

did a real fine job last night," she said. "They
didn't let anybody. in."
ANO'THER POINT of friction Friday n i g h t
was at the ten-foot high solid wooden fence,
that surrounded the press area and the stage.
Latecomers to the park that day apparently had
to choose between a spot in the mammoth Goose
Nest ("where the music is at . . . no camping
please") way in the back, or right up front
where the fence allowed no view of the stage.
Inevitably, several hundred fans up front de-
cided to topple the fence.
Planks in the fence were ripped away and
the security force of mostly young people in
Goose Lake T-shirts had their hands full keep-
ing the fans out of the press area, bolstering the
fence and dodging projectiles.
Cast in the roll of law 'enforcers, the atti-
tude of the young guards quickly changed to
suit their job (or perhaps ,Goose L a k e hired
kids who "always wanted to be a policeman").
Yelled one angry marshall: "I'm gonna shoot
one of those motherfuckers. He had no gun, but
many of the young guards at the stage carried
impromptu billy clubs and used them to prod
the fans away from the fence.
At one point, a fan charged through a hole
in the wooden fence brandishing a flashlight in
one hand and a bottle in the other. He was
surrounded by the T-shirted guards, brought
to the ground and then slugged in the head sev-
eral times with the flashlights. Meanwhile,
though, about 100 fans had surged through un-
guarded holes in the--fence.
The next day, strips of cyclone fencing were
inserted to patch up the fence and afford a
view of the stage as-well. A Goose Lake spokes-
man admitted-that the high opaque fence had
been a mistake. "We're learning," he said. -
DESPITE THE PROBLEMS over security, the
biggest rip-off at Goose Lake was strictly
financial. If the crowd estimates of 200,000 are
about right, the festival grossed about $3 mil-
lion - and that doesn't include revenue from
food concessions. Yet according to a press
spokesman, only $150,000 of that money w a s
spent on fees for the bands. Even the 800 secur-
ity kids were a bargairn for the Goose Lake man-
agement. They worked twelve hours every otlier
twelve hours for $15 a day and, presumably for
the pleasure of listening to the relatively cheap,-
mostly mediocre entertainment.'
To be sure, Goose Lake's 35-year-old owner


Richard Songer has a problem of overhead to
look after. The park, which he purchased last
December, and renovations were costly. B u t
Goose Lake has now made a name for itself and
is sure to be remunerative as a perpetual camp
site and amusement park. In addition, "Songer
is planning another major rock festival for La-
bor Day weekend, and a country and western
concert later in September. At least three big
rock festivals are planned for 1971. (In fairness
it should be noted that the admission fee will
be lowered to $10 for the Labor Day weekend.)
Ironically, but not surprisingly, the biggest
outcry over Goose Lake will have little to do
with the rigid security or the high price.
What made Goose Lake a sure-fire financial
success were the legal problems that beset the
weekend's two other scheduled rock festivals.
The Harmonyville festival in New Jersey (which,
incidentally, boasted a much better selection of
bands) was blocked early last week by a court
order. A n d the Strawberry Fields festival in
Mosport, Ontario, was plagued by aninjunction
that was lifted only at the last minute and sur-
prisingly heavy amount. of interference put up
by Canadian border guards to the invasion of
long-hairs at the Detroit and Buffalo crossing
AND NOW, IT SEEMS, Goose Lake may suf-
fer similar problems. Set on making political
capital out of an.attack on the youth culture,
Jackson County and state politicians (notably
Gov. William Milliken) are making the famil-
iar noises about drugs, long hair, nudity and
free love, with the possibility that future fes-
tivals will be enjoined on the grounds that a
public nusiance will be created in the area. (The
only nuisance this time was the inefficient traf-
fic directing performed by local and state -po-
All Goose Lake was, of course, was an over-
priced chance for young people to live their cul-
ture together and out in the open, a right they
would freely enjoy in a more just society. It was
exploitation of the societal .outcast just as own-
ers of gay bars exploit the homosexual with ex-
pensive drinks and ghetto merchants m i l k
black people in general.
- Perhaps if Jackson's community understood
that the festival was o n 1 y a microcosom of
America, they'd be less upset about the invid-
ious things those kids were doing inside the elec-
tric barbed wire fence at Goose Lake Park, In-


Members of a specially-h
group" - Goose Lake's ver
mobile unit, guard a h

"Litter," a little known Chicago group, plays
to the house.

The bigges

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