Bigger Than Woodstock
Woodstock may be the best-known rock festival, but is likely that the Ozark Music Festival held over the weekend of 19-21 July 1974 was one of the very biggest.
It is estimated that around 350,000 people turned up at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia US. Initially the company that organised the event said they would sell no more than 50,000 tickets, but it was obvious from the Thursday evening that it was going to be way bigger as people arrived from far and wide, despite the first bands not scheduled to play until the Friday.
The line up was stellar with Bachman Turner Overdrive as the notional headliners – their single ‘Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ was on its way to topping the Billboard chart. America had already topped the charts 2 years earlier with ‘A Horse With No Name’ scored a couple of other top ten hits and were heading for another American top 5 record with ‘Tin Man’.
The festival was billed as one featuring bluegrass as well as rock so it was that The Earl Scruggs Revue and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were included. Other bands, not on the poster that played included The Ozark Mountain Daredevils and The Souther Hillman Furay Band – refugees from The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Flying Burrito Brothers; the cream of California country rock.
Others that played but went unbilled on the poster include, Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult and Boz Scaggs. There was apparently even an English band that played – Babe Ruth. Not a household name by any means and it would be interesting to know how they ended up on the bill.
Ticket cost: 15$ (in advance, 20$ at the gate) for the three day event.
The Festival was hosted by Wolfman Jack, one of the most popular disc-jockey in the US.