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Thanks to my co-worker Jill Jensen-Matelski, I saw this cool Summerfest 1970 poster that you can see above. She found it on the Facebook group "You know you are from Milwaukee WI if you remember..."
My eyes immediately went to "Roland Kirk" and I was blown away. Then I saw Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan and so many other amazing acts.
And teen idol Bobby Sherman. On the same grounds as Roland Kirk? I can only imagine how a meeting between the two of them would've gone.
I also noticed "Sidewalker Skippers," who I wrote about here.
But the real story comes from Gary Christensen, bassist and director of the All-Star Super Band, who, incidentally, celebrates his birthday today. Back then, Christensen was a member of Yesterday's Children.
"As the opening act for Sly Stone, Yesterday's Children began a tight, rehearsed 30-minute tribute to James Brown," Gary posted on Facebook. "Ninety minutes later we were still on stage covering for Sly, who refused to come out. The security fence was gone and the audience had their elbows on the stage. The band eventually stopped performing and ran into our bus parked next to the stage. At one point, Sly walked out on stage, promptly received a shock from the microphone – on the lips – exited and again refused to perform. The booker came on our band bus and begged for weed.
"He said Sly refused to perform unless more weed was provided. We all said we had none. Then one of our guys provided a couple of hand-rolled j's. I left when the beer tents were being invaded by the crowd. I thought it was 230,000 people, but the MPD estimated 190,000. Lots of angry people. Scary night. Summerfest does not talk about this night."
A few years later, in 1973, angry crowds trashed the grounds when Humble Pie played, leading Joel McNally to later quip (and I paraphrase), "it was the most frenzied response in rock history to a band containing Peter Frampton."
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