Ozark Music Festival
The Ozark Music Festival was held July 19-21,1974 on the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri. While the Woodstock Festival from 1969 is the most well-known rock festival, the Ozark Music Festival was one of the largest music festivals ever held. "No Hassles Guaranteed" was the motto of the festival.
A company called Musical Productions Inc. (MPI) from Kansas City promoted the festival, and assured officials from the Missouri Department of Agriculture (the state agency which oversaw the State Fair) and the Sedalia Chamber of Commerce that the three-day weekend event would be a blue-grass and “pop rock” festival with no more than 50,000 tickets sold.
Even though the festival was not scheduled to start until Friday, July 19th, thousands had arrived by Thursday night and there was a steady line of cars, trucks, vans, hitchhikers and even an occasional hippie camper slowly winding towards Sedalia and the fairgrounds. While in line, festival-goers were advised that once inside the grounds, vehicles would not be allowed back outside until the festival was over; many left a vehicle outside the fence for beer runs.
The bands that performed included:
- Bachman–Turner Overdrive
- Premiata Forneria Marconi
- Peter Sinfield
- Blue Öyster Cult
- The Eagles
- Marshall Tucker Band
- The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
- Boz Scaggs
- Ted Nugent
- David Bromberg
- Leo Kottke
- The Earl Scruggs Revue
- Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Electric Flag
- Bruce Springsteen (did not perform)
- Carole King
- Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
- Joe Walsh and Barnstorm
- The Souther Hillman Furay Band
- The Ozark Mountain Daredevils
- Harry Nilsson (MC second and third days, did not sing)
- Charlie Daniels Band
- Bill Quateman
- Stray Dog
- Fresh Start
- Babe Ruth
- Locomotiv GT
- The Sweet
- Shawn Phillips
- REO Speedwagon
- Elvin Bishop
By Monday, July 22, the festival crowd had left, leaving a field of garbage behind. Damage estimates of $100,000 were reported, and with the Missouri State Fair only a few weeks away the fairgrounds had to be cleaned up quickly. Damage and garbage remained, along with a lingering few waiting around for their friends who had been sent to medical facilities for treatment for dehydration.
After the festival the city of Sedalia only had a few weeks to clean up for the Missouri State fair, so helicopters were used for spraying lime over the fairgrounds as a precaution against the possible outbreak of disease.
On the ground, bulldozers scraped up the topsoil, which was (reportedly) littered with discarded drug paraphernalia and gnawed cobs of corn from a neighboring field along with mountains of contaminated dirt and garbage which were hauled to the county landfills.
Meanwhile, festival-goers crowded the Interstate 70 rest stops to catch up on sleep lost during the weekend. Tents, cots and sleeping bags were spread throughout rest stops all along the highway.
Senate Committee report
The Missouri Senate met in October 1974 and discussed the events of the music festival in the committee report. The report states that, "The Ozark Music Festival can only be described as a disaster. It became a haven for drug pushers who were attracted from throughout the United States. The scene made the degradation of Sodom and Gomorrah appear mild. Natural and unnatural sex acts became a spectator sport. Frequently, nude women promoted drugs with advertisements on their bodies."