The 1974 Ozark Music Festival: Was It Bigger Than Woodstock?

Woodstock may be the best-known rock festival, but is likely that the Ozark Music Festival held over the weekend of July 19-21, 1974 was bigger.

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Ozark Mountain Dare Devils photo by Michael Ochs Archives and Getty Images
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Woodstock may be the best-known rock festival, but is likely that the Ozark Music Festival held over the weekend of July 19-21, 1974 was one of the very biggest. It is estimated that around 350,000 people turned up at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia. Initially, the company that organized 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 lineup was stellar with Bachman Turner Overdrive as the national 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.”

According to Dewey Bunnell of America: “It was just another stop on our endless summer tour of 1974 so we were pretty buzzed, but I do remember we arrived in a helicopter on the last day and it was incredibly hot! Everyone was sweating and sunburned! Flying in we could see it was a very large festival and the first thing I remember seeing as we stepped off the chopper was a bloody t-shirt amid the debris backstage. Dan was from Missouri so he was happy to be playing this big festival in his home state and I think he had relatives waiting. It was obvious that the previous 2 days had taken a toll on the audience, but everyone was having a great time. When we took the stage the festival crew were spraying water and beer on the crowd. I remember we just joined the masses and had a good show, interacting with the smiling faces and half-naked crowd.”

1974 Sedalia Missouri Bluegrass Music Festival (Rock Festival)

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While the Eagles hit singles may not have been as big as America’s, their first two albums had done well on the chart in the USA, and so they were considered headliners as well. Similarly, Joe Walsh and Barnstorm had done well on the album chart with their second long-player, The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get. The Marshall Tucker Band from Spartanburg, South Carolina was making a name for themselves with their brand of Southern Rock.

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 Southern 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. Bizarrely, the Italian prog band, Premiata Forneria Marconi also played, and given the rest of the bill it’s hard to imagine how they went over; let’s just hope they didn’t have to follow a bluegrass band.

Given the breadth and depth of the performers, the Ozark Music Festival can justifiably claim to be one of the ten all-time great gatherings of the era. We’ll leave the last word to The Missouri Senate and a committee report on the event. “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.”

Explore the sounds of the Ozark Music Festival with our Southern Rock playlist



  1. Scott Bennett

    July 20, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Wow. Had no idea. I must be a pup…,,:)

    • leon shader

      December 30, 2017 at 12:49 am

      iwas,there fantastic

    • J.C

      May 26, 2018 at 3:12 am

      I was there.Unreal.

  2. Michael Gross

    July 20, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Would it be possible to purchase a reproduction of this poster? I collect music art.

  3. Mark

    July 21, 2014 at 11:21 am

    The “poster” is actually a page from Rolling Stone where the add ran. Tickets were by mail and getting there was half the fun! It sure was hot, it seemed like 90degrees even at night with zero shade.

    • uDiscover

      July 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks, Mark

  4. Philip Dick

    July 21, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    By the time we got there, which was fairly early, our $15 tickets were not needed, the gate and much surrouding fence was flattened…Best b-day party ever! Turned 21 on July 20th 1974, met and visited with Wolfman Jack in a motel swimming pool that we crashed so we could cool off/bath late one nite! Had a blast…great music, and fun camping with friends. Turning point in my life, came home and asked my girlfriend to marry me, and she did six months later!

    • uDiscover

      July 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Cool story!

    • Peg

      December 1, 2015 at 4:19 am

      When we got there, the fence was down. No ticket necessary. All that music for free. A dream come true for us. A nightmare for the town. But not one local was rude or uncooperative. They were kind and helpful.

  5. Dennymojo

    July 22, 2014 at 12:53 am

    You said nothing of Lynard skynard.

  6. Jim Richardson

    July 23, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I was there, I was like100 degrees and probably 25% of the people were naked. By day three everyone had had enough of Wolfman Jack. Can you imagine three solid days of him?

  7. rick johnson

    October 26, 2014 at 4:49 am

    OMG! I was there.What a trip it was! One of my favorite times! The golf carts used for OD’s the last day it looked like e third world refugee camp. Aerosmith just came in from Boston.ALOT of music man and the Tunnel you went thru to get to concert ground. What an honor to have been there,

    • uDiscover

      October 26, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Rick, you are lucky to have been there!

  8. Vince

    February 23, 2015 at 4:44 am

    I was there 4 days lost 10 pounds, showered with strangers, came from Chicago with 2 guys I didn’t know went back with1, waited an extra day trying to find him, Fun I could write a book

  9. Grateful Doug

    July 20, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I remember listening to it live all weekend on FM radio WDBR in Springfield, Illinois. I recorded Aerosmith and Babe Ruth at the time and have since lost the tapes. I’m sure there must be tapes out there of the full FM broadcast.

  10. Michael Weiss

    November 30, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I was there it was unbearable hot and humid those three days in July. I went three of my friends from South Minneapolis we drove all night arrived at the gates at 10:00 am Friday morning most what you read about drugs being rampant is true ,coed showers,couples opening having sex on top of their minivan was true, the musical lineup was hall of fame artists. Lastly I will never forget the experience and share those times fellow attendees in our closed group Ozark Music Festival July 19th -21st note I still have the ticket stub from those three days in the fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri.

  11. mike burchell

    November 30, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I was there a young man from Indiana what a 3 day party that was heat over 100 degree’s town was sold out of everything if you did find what you was looking for you paid for. People walking around with bill board sign’s of what they were selling helicopter’s flying over our heads with big spot light’s on the crowd wolf man Jack telling people about the bad drug’s people was taking telling the crowd what not to take . They will never ever be anything like this again what an experience for a young man from Indiana.

  12. Lanette Giese

    November 30, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I concur with everyone on the Ozark Music Festival being hot, crowded & the best danged line up EVER for a concert, ‘cept maybe the CA Jam. My friend & I got there on Thurs, found a close parking lot to park in & proceeded to have fun. We were lucky & got into the fairgrounds at 3:30 AM on Fri…..they opened the gates to relieve some of the shut down on the highway, which was 22 miles long on Thurs afternoon at 6PM. We came, we danced, we did drugs, we laughed & sought out places to cool off for 4 days. Our group was from Tulsa, campers like us brought everything with us, we only suffered the heat, we had all the food & water we needed, we guarded it well. The young & relatively healthy fared well, the people doing too many drugs didn’t.

    About this Sodom & Gomorrah label, this concert was NOT that bad, the forefathers put that label on it because they weren’t there & their assumption of what it was, was wrong. Out of ALL those people, very few girls even went topless & not THAT many people went totally nude. The sex acts & prostitution was NOT evident unless you LOOKED for it. We came to hear great music & do lots of drugs. Which we did. Having been in the promotional biz, this was a nightmare for the town, the bands & the people. I hope the promoters got everything that was coming to them. They put all those people & that whole town in danger, failing at something that COULD have been better, safer & LOTS more comfortable.
    I hope people ignore the negative label & enjoy the memories.
    The Facebook page “Ozark Music Festival July 19-21, 1974” is my baby & everyone that comes there is as amazed as I am every time someone new joins & brings their Polaroid and/or Kodak images out of their photo albums & to the OMF page, solidifying the fact they were there & they survived. Please, come ask to Join, it’s a fun page & it’s fun to reminisce. There are also some VERY good semi-professional photos there, the guys that took them are glad to share them. Rock N Roll is not the same, but in those days we thought they were going to last forever!!!!!!

  13. Jen

    December 1, 2015 at 12:40 am

    This was NOT a Sodom and Gomorrah weekend! For myself and my roommates, we were college students that wanted to see and hear the amazing music and people that were there. The state fair board was misled by the promoters. It was a shock to everyone to see the number of people that attended. But most of us kids were there for the music and fun. NOT the awful stuff the bureaucrats spout about. There was a huge mess left behind that was caused by too many people in a space unprepared for the crowd. Current music festivals are certainly managed much better. We had a blast. Wish we could do it over again…with air conditioning.

    • Peg

      December 1, 2015 at 4:10 am

      Definitely air-conditioning. Maybe a 30ft RV?? Lol, we’re showing our age!

  14. Fred Griffin

    December 1, 2015 at 1:25 am

    What an incredible weekend it was! I hitchhiked from Florida to the Festival… I was 17 years old, I had just graduated from high school.

    The music, the people, the spirit that was among the attendees… you had to be there to “understand”. It was one legendary band after another (there were two stages; while one band was playing, the roadies for the next band would be setting up on the other stage).

    The announcer was the great Wolfman Jack. In between announcing the next band, he would call out things like, “Get down off those speaker towers before you get hurt, please”, and “Don’t take the window pane… it is causing bad trips and sending folks to the hospital.”

    Yes, there was heat, no, there was not enough water, yes there was an open air drug market that defies reality, yes, there were more than a few topless girls, and some people took it all off. But people were decent and respectful, we took care of each other.

    The sheer size of the crowd was mind-numbing. Every store in Sedalia was sold out of everything. Traffic was backed up 20 miles in every direction.

    BTW, the Festival was not “Sodom and Gomorrah”. That name was attached to the Festival by the Missouri State Senate, and the Kansas City Newspapers.

    Finally, a tip of the hat and a sincere “thank you” to the residents of Sedalia and of Missouri on that long weekend. Every “local” that I encountered was courteous, helpful, kind. Thank you, Sedalia, and thank you, residents of the State of Missouri!

    • Lucian DeBow III

      March 11, 2018 at 1:33 am

      I was there and would agree with your post totally! I was only 20 and had dropped out of college in late 73 and this small town boy got a real wake up call. Best time of my life but I definitely can relate to all you’ve shared.

    • James Clary

      August 3, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      Wow. What memories. I was 14 and told my parents I was going “camping”. They had NO clue. I lived in Springfield, only an hour away, but we had no car so we hitched. Never forget we got a ride in a pickup with a one armed driver who had a midget sidekick. No lie. It was so freaking hot and there was a LOT of drugs. Ran out of ice the first day, really hard to even find water to drink. I remember being thirsty the whole time. The only show I got up close for was REO Speedwagon. I play in a band with a guy who grew up in Sedalia. He didn’t go but told me that the town was furious at the scene. The fairgrounds were pretty much destroyed. Too many people, too many drugs!

    • Chris Snyder, St. Louis

      February 22, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      I was just thinking of that… covered with cobwebs in brain …. WMJ saying “don’t take the window pane”. thanks.. will have to go the above mentioned FB page. Didn’t know it was live cast. Hope a recording turns up. Had just graduated from high school that year… got our $15 tickets and headed out with Don L.. then saw Dennis V from school who said he got in for free. Great group – wish the town had been better prepared.. they could have made a bundle selling food. Had read article from someone in town who was serving food – they said they wish they had more to sell, and that people were cool… no riots or tearing up stuff like might happen with so many people. There was some trouble (if story about farmer’s pig and cow getting butchered was true), but considering so many people in such heat, it’s a mindblower that it was so peaceful.

  15. Peg

    December 1, 2015 at 4:06 am

    I drove there with 3 friends and met up with about 20 others from Paducah. It was packed, hot, dusty and HOT hot. Yeah it was scorching. There was some nudity, of course, but wow, Sodom and Gomorrah it was NOT. We went for the music and the party. Spent a good bit of time looking for open fire hydrants to cool off in and ice to eat. I’m sure I lost several pounds as ice was the only thing I ate all weekend. Everyone was kind and helpful, and I know it was a mess when we left. But we had a great time, Sedalia, and I thank you for putting up with what was not supposed to happen-52,000–>300,000.

  16. Kathy Cope

    December 14, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I lived in Sedalia. At the time I was on summer break from Mizzou and was working as a cocktail waitress at the Ramada Inn, Sedalia. Awesome! Many bands stayed at the hotel and EVERY night they were in the cocktail lounge. An ever changing group of rockers jammed every night. Band members from different bands – they just got on stage and mixed it up! So I didn’t get to go to the festival, but witnessed a concert every night! (I did get hit on a lot, and one particular band member almost talked me into getting in the helicopter with him to watch him play. BUT, I had just married in May. I shoulda gone! My ex cheated on me like crazy and I finally divorced him.) AWESOME
    summer job!

  17. Tim May

    December 30, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Kathy, would the bar at the Ramada be called the “Red Apple”?

    • Mike

      October 8, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      The red apple was across 50 highway from Ramada in the bowling alley

  18. Mishma

    February 26, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    What a zoo this festival was. I was reminded of it the other day when my friend called to say he found his ticket stub. We drove all night to get there-listening to Radar Love for 10 hours straight. I don’t remember much other than after two days we had enough and hitched hiked to Colorado and some sanity.

  19. Moe

    June 8, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Yea, i was 17 and hitch hiked from NY to this event. When i first saw the title of this, i thought Man i don’t remember open sex and girls walking around naked. Maybe a few with their tops off but it was so ffing hot and sunny that anyone walking around without some coverage was going to get burned very badly. As it was I got my face sunburned pretty bad and i don’t sun burn. Can’t imagine walking around without clothes.
    Yes, a fair amount of drugs were bought and sold at that event but what would you expect at something like that.
    The music was great, people were awesome. Most of the bands there were early in the career and ended up being superstars. That was a fun 3 days and including the hitch hikiing part i could write a book about my experiences.
    This was a bunch of old Rednecks making up fables about how bad it was.

  20. David C Thompson

    July 19, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    We had gone to see CSN&Y with the Beach Boys on that Friday in Kansas City at Royal Stadium, and after a miscommunication about having a place to sleep, we ended up driving straight to Sedalia.
    We “slept” in a parking lot of a grocery store, so bright and early we bought bread, oranges, peanut butter, grapefruit and a case of Budweiser.
    Sure enough, by the time we got to the gate, in the ensuing chaos we got our wristbands, no one took our money, and we rolled on in with our sleeping bags, our food, and more surprisingly, our case of Bud.
    Locomotiv GT was the first band on, followed by Aerosmith on their first major tour. After that, it got to be a haze, but I do remember Electic Flag WERE electric. Honestly I don’t remember many of the bands that day, between the beer, the passed around Southern Comfort and the blistering sun. I do remember lots of topless women, and people dropping right and left from the heat and bad “Mescaline”. Luckily we were near one of the water stations, and we could stand in the spray of the hose when we need to.
    When the sun went down, Lynyrd Skynyrd hit the stage to the unfurling of a Stars and Bars that was enormous. I listened to a few songs and than burrowed into my sleeping bag only to awaken later to an enormous roar of feedback emanating from the guitar Ted Nugent had leaned against his amp. As the band pummeled their way through god knows what, dear Ted (bliss his little black heart) was shooting flaming arrows at a bison skull set on a pole. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
    The next day, Sunday, we got up with the sun and made our way to our car, and headed back to Joplin dazed, confused and sunburnt. We did stop at a lake side park to eat fried mushrooms and soak the experience in. Loved every minute!

  21. Lj mckowm

    August 18, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    I was there thurs night. It started our HOT and ended sun night REALLY HOT. We partied . Had our own food n drink. Camped in the camp area. But had a makeshift shade camp set up about 75 ft from the stage. . Best time I’ve ever had. The music line up was Un real. So many bands. Excellent bands. . I think there’s some confusion as to whether or not OZARK MOUNTAIN DAREDEVILS were really there. . They’re not on the original poster . But I swear to the good LORD they were. . And when they broke out with. “IF YOU WANNA GET TO HEAVEN “. THE CROWD WENT BERZERK. . Great time . Anyone else remember. OMD. BRING THERE. Fun fun fun. Turn back the hands of time. I’d love to relive that 4 day festival.


    October 15, 2016 at 2:43 am


  23. joel ewing

    January 10, 2017 at 4:29 am

    There I am in the video above, from 0:24 thru 0:26….the tall blonde guy with the grey football shorts on. I was walking with my college bud Bob Harbold who had the white hat on. I distinctly recall taking that little stroll and seeing the gal to our left go topless and bending over while getting dressed. We had just arrived that morning Fri. July 19th, found our spot to park and camp, gotten plenty stoned and decided to walk around a bit. I STILL have those grey football pants from my high school in Arizona, although I can’t fit in ’em anymore…lol. What an incredible life experience those 3 days were. But dude….it was SO DAMN HOT and HUMID and MISERABLE….OMG. But I wouldn’t change a thing, and am very proud to have been an attendee for all 3 days! God Bless my fellow campers at the OMF!

  24. Rick R

    January 15, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Luckily, we found a decent parking space fairly close to water and not too close the the bad bikers. Greatest lineup of acts you could imagine. Outstanding performances but the place sure got nasty by the end.

  25. Terry Morris

    February 24, 2017 at 1:58 am

    Oh the memories! I went with about 4 vehicles full of fellow dudes and several cases of beer and wine and various drugs. We got there the night before and roads were packed but we were able to scout out a way to drive up about 20 cars from the front gate and bribed our cut in line with a case of beer. We were able to park under a big tree so we at least had shade. I had so much fun doing other things I only watched about two bands the whole time. First day I did a lude which gave me the courage to just randomly start talking to the babes and met a cute blonde from Ames, Iowa (Hello Amy!). She stayed with me the three days and we did the nasty at night. Too dang hot in the day. Drugs could be found laying on the ground. I remember a Winnebago with a loudspeaker announcing the drugs they had for sale. A couple of dudes brought in a box van full of ice bags and was selling them for an outrageous price. Some big dudes jumped on the truck, threw the sellers off and handed out the ice to everyone for free. The pond had about a foot of black stinky mud on the bottom but at least it was water to cool down with. Things seen and done that will never happen again. I would LOVE to see the documentary!

  26. Feed your head

    March 8, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Sunburnt titties as far as the eye could see. Also nude bikers with nude bitches on back. My reasoning was nearby nudist camps showed up. Should’ve taken thousands of pictures of bands and crowds. I was too young to think about posterity. In one moment of clarity I remember whirlwind damaging awning over one of stages

  27. sunshine allen

    May 22, 2017 at 10:06 am

    yes, i was there. then, i was living in springfield , mo. then. knew the ozark mt. daredevils. good friends w/soup, the bass player and larry lee, the drummer who also did vocals-jackie blue-.there was also the festival in eureka springs, ark. close to that same time. thepromoters leased out the land for 10 yrs. for future festivals.that festival was also WAY BIGGER than was planned. it was not that far from springfield and we used to go and camp out there quite a bit. it was charming,scenic and picturesque.the townspeople expected music w/people camping out in the woody countryside. not what came about.there was lots and lots and lots of very loud and irritating to them-what they would not call music. much drugs, nudity, people sitting w/ signs saying, ‘syringes-$1. and there was lots of rain. i got there a couple of days early and helped dig up holes to put in w/dirt on top,the cables from the sound board to the stage. needless to say, the leases were tore up w/no festivals there ever since, i’m sure. sunshine

  28. Larry

    May 23, 2017 at 4:46 am

    A close friend went to that. The crowd trashed the paint on his car scratches all over. But he had a good time


    July 23, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    i never heard about this – I WOULD HAVE WENT

  30. Tom D

    August 17, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    I was in summer school at SIU in Carbondale IL, on Thursday the local FM station started talking up the festival, by friday they reported that all roads to Sedalia were packed. What to do? Four of us were enroute by Friday evening and arrived Saturday morning, the party was on. Parked in the shade on a hill behind Dairy Queen and started looking for a way in. We heard that a bike gang had cut a hole in the fence on the west side of the fairgrounds and was charging a couple bucks to get in, so off we went. On the way to the entrance we were walking along the 10 ft stone wall on the north side of the fairgrounds, there was a guy on top pulling people up and over for a buck. I hoisted the two girls with us up and someone game me a hand, at the top I turned to pay the entrepreneur and when are eyes met we both broke out in yells and laughter. We knew each other from our small hometown in northern Illinois, we had both gone to Vietnam and had lost touch, the party was on at this point!!!

    • Bob Broutend

      August 21, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Love the above story!!

      • leon shader

        December 30, 2017 at 12:57 am

        i hitch hiked from oregon and was there from thursday til monday left with the guys from penn.we had ben camped next to selling the opium fantastic.

  31. leon shader

    December 30, 2017 at 12:53 am

    i hitch hiked from oregon and was there from thursday til monday left with the guys from penn.we had ben camped next to selling the opium fantastic.

  32. Paul Bumpus

    January 28, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Drove to Sedalia from Wichita Falls, TX with old friends Johnny and Jimmy, where? What a trip. What a show. Did someone say it was HOT??? Temperature and show. Those were the days!

  33. DL

    February 5, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    OK…Here’s my adventure…we left from West Frankfort, Ill on Thursday night…in an already overheating Chev Vega…drove all night to Sedalia…about 20 miles out of town on the interstate…we ran into backed up traffic…before long…bikes and trucks/jeeps started driving on the sides of the road…next thing you know…vehicles start driving on the other lanes of the interstate…all roads lead into Sadalia…no traffic was coming from the other direction. Next…Highway Patrol helicopters were trying to calm everyone down and trying to get the traffic under control…which was useless. Our car was overheating by now…but somehow we made it to the off ramp area and just left the car nearby (it was actually still there when we returned 3 days later). From what I remember…we got a ride in a pickup truck to just outside the Fairgrounds. I walked to the McDonalds to get something to drink and the line was outside the building…and while standing there looking inside…I noticed a lot of people rolling joints right there inside McDonald’s…you knew it was going to get crazy from this point on!!! The grocery store was only letting 10 people in @ a time because they were getting so ripped off…and blocks of ice were already selling for $20 a piece.
    My buddy and I next made it to the fairgrounds…and crawled under the wire fence like everyone else in the are was doing…so much for having to find tickets!!! After walking around for a while inside…we somehow miraculously found our other friends who had already pitched a tent and had a little camping area set up. Then my other buddy walks up with an 8×10 sheet of “windowpane” he had just purchased..and you can imagine what the rest of the wk-end was like!!! Music and drugs everywhere…what more could you ask for!!!
    There will probably never be anything like that again…what a wonderful experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    As mentioned…we made it back to the car Sunday evening…and had to drive all the way back to West Frankfort, Il with the heater on to keep the car from overheating…but who gave a fuck…it was a trip of a LIFETIME…ROCK ON…!!!

  34. Keith Moens

    February 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    It was the music that attracted us to the Ozark Music Festival. I challenge any festival anywhere, anytime to put together a better lineup of bands than the OMF. My three friends and I left from Normal, Illinois ISU, for Sedalia and had the experience of a life time. Most stories about the OMF are probably true, but it was the music, Baby!

  35. Mark steven Phelps

    February 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Unbelievable experience.. Left northwest Indiana early Friday.. 1962 Volkswagen and two other friends…..the bug broke down.. We would not be denied..we stuck our thumb out… The very first car picked us up…a cold case of beer was there on ice…amoung other essentials..when we got to Sedalia…it was total caous.. Freaks were on top of McDonald’s..yes the roof..every staight lock pop machine was robbed and empty…its. Evening now..Joe Walsh comes on playing barnstorm and yes the walls came tumbeling down… It was a freebie free for from then on.. 100 plus three days running…I never realized the magnitude of it until years had passed..wolf man Jack made the mistake of announcing a local event nationally… Like Nugent says free for all…and it was! Local officials were powerless and the party raged on…

  36. Kathy Wood

    May 7, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    I went with three friends from KU in Lawrence. We had a great time but conditions were awful. Extreme heat, terrible sunburns, overflowing garbage cans, blocked toilets. First and only place I ever went where people walked around with open boxes of drugs for sale. The music was great, people were friendly and kind, and we had a good time. The planning was terrible because they never expected so many people. I knew all the drama afterwards meant no rock festivals there again for decades. I never realized how many people were there or remembered how many famous bands played.

    • Terry Garland

      August 5, 2018 at 4:34 am

      I knew a kathy wood who was from Springfield, MO. You wouldn’t be her would you?

  37. Steve

    July 16, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    He left out the best part Fri night Joe Walsh played then the eagles did their set then Walsh came back out to play with the eagles until the power was shut off about three am or so (sorry was too buz zed to know the time). Everyone around me was talking about how they needed to keep playing together. AZ

  38. Michael Gordon, tulsa

    August 2, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    My buddy Randy Vaughn and I hitched from Norman Oklahoma. The first ride took five minutes to catch and went right to the venue, which was nice. The gates were already open when we arrived in the morning, so we went in and climbed on top of the stone wall to burn one with a new friend with four Missouri highwaymen standing thirty feet away and no problemo,which was cool for that time.. while up on the wall, a guy wheeled in in a paper tag Datsun 240Z, popped the hatch, pulled out two sledgehammers and set up a car bash.. this was on the north side.. does anyone else remember that? The concrete tunnel of drugs was Crazy, anything and everything, cash and carry, first come, first serve.. but late at night the ground was littered with dope, just look down and you would find. The golf carts ran constantly, taking O.D’s and sunburns to the clinic, usually with a ‘bellringer’ running ahead to clear the way..some people were bright red, some were blue, but if you needed help, you got it..! The sound system was pretty darn good, and the bands were really into it, making for a super energy show. I had no ticket or camera, so have no physical keepsake, but all these years later, its still fairly fresh.. and yes, it was HOT, but i was tough enough.. I don’t remember ever seeing a fight, and with so many people in close proximity, that’s pretty cool! I doubt it could ever happen again, but it did and i was there..what a hell of a thing. Did I mention it was HOT,,

    • Chris Snyder, St. Louis

      February 22, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      To Michael Gordon, tulsa: You’ve got a better memory than I but the place was huge and we probably stayed on a path between the car/stage and the lake. I don’t remember the car bash (they smashed the Z or some clunker?), but clearly remember other things… like everyone, including cops, were cool, a few topless chicks (no assaults of them as far as I know), no fights, and everyone hanging at the lake because it was HOT (but fine for me since my job then was cutting grass at apartments [for $1.60/hr w/gas @ 40 cents/gal] so didn’t much notice it). I can still see this tall thin naked guy covered with mud with hair down to middle of back doing somersaults down a sloped bank and into the lake… rinsing and repeating. Good times.

  39. Elizabeth Cotner

    March 22, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    I as there. My husband and I had a concession stand called “Mustard’s Last Stand”. We were so busy selling hotdogs over the 3 days 24/7 that we did not have time to change the water that we were boiling the weiners in. There was 3 inches of scum on the top. We had people coming up to the stand totaling naked and wanting to trade a joint for a hotdog. It was wild!!

  40. Aldo

    August 17, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    I went with 2 of my friends. We got there early Friday morning & it was already backed up for miles. When we got in, we noticed people bathing naked in the horse troughs. It was unbearably hot all 3 days. We temporarily lost Hub, our driver, as he chose to stay near his car. Raul & I staked out a spot near the front between the 2 stages with 2 water jugs & a bag of dust. Didn’t eat much but stayed hydrated & high. Went into town Saturday morning for some food & there wasn’t much left. The liquor store was nearly cleaned out. Yes, there were a lot of naked people & some doing it under the covers but no unnatural stuff. The drug dealers parading back & forth in front of the stage advertising their wares on paper plates were mostly from Chicago. We knew ’em. I was 20 years old & had never been to anything like this & it was a blast. The rumor going around was that it was 250,000 people there. I believe it having seen how they just rolled over Sedalia. They just took over everything. The music made it all worthwhile. Anyone remember the name written over the stages? Tiglath Pileser lll. The Assyrian king who began the scattering of the 10 lost tribes of ancient Israel. A little trivia

  41. rick thomas

    May 20, 2020 at 3:03 am

    I was there it was awesome. Hold on To Your Hats but a man name Jeff in Kansas City has put a documentary together and hopes to do the premire next summer 2012 at the Missouri State Fair Grounds In Sedalia,Mo and also put a plaque where the stage stood in 1974. I have talk with him since i still live in Sedalia Missouri . Through doing the documentary he became on good terms with The Nitty Gitty Dirt Band and Ozark Mountain Daredevils so hopefully they would come in and play . It’s just in the talking stages now. Jeff love to put documentary out on DVD but it takes money and a distributor also he is afarid someone would put it on Youtube and slow down or kill the sales of the DVD, but only time will tell. Maybe in summer of 2021 Sedalia Missouri The Missouri State Fair Grounds can crank up one more timne for a very nice peaceful premire and plaque ceremony and some music. Maybe some Smaller bands will come play it’s only in talking stages now so just give us time on this oh Next year would great it would be the 47th Anniversary Of OMF!!!!!

  42. Gray Dynae

    July 20, 2021 at 4:32 am

    The Ozark Mountain daredevils did not appear, but their name did on one of several bootleg handbills for the concert. The Daredevils were working on their second album at that time, halfway across the country. (See the Daredevils site and a recent post from their official FB page to Springfield radio station)

  43. Richard

    February 11, 2022 at 1:47 am

    17 years old just graduated high school. don’t remember any band but Joe Walsh but that might have been the acid, and the refer and the beer and the hash and maybe some white cross. wow, what a thrill. ran the reservoir out of water. choppers were dumping it on the crowd to cool us off and then we rolled naked in the mud. Met a really cute Cali girl there…coulda, woulda. Some went overboard but we just stayed high, wet and mellow. Statute of limitations are up, right?

  44. Dawn L Kowal

    August 11, 2022 at 11:10 am

    I was there and I still have my T-shirt! It was crazy, but oh so HOT. We camped and the tent was like a hot box. One day, we hiked to our car and drove to the other part of town to a convenience store. I washed my hair and sink bathed. We waited in line to eat in McDonalds near the venue. Everyone inside was smoking pot while waiting for their food. They left a hose out back for people to wash off with. People would just take their clothes off, wash up, and get dressed again right in the parking lot. There was an area to the side of the stage with cars selling drugs out of their trunks. I remember an announcer saying over and over again to avoid the window pane acid. It was poisoned!

  45. Lil Redman

    July 6, 2023 at 1:12 am

    I was there, went with four friends in a rented cabover camper, loaded up w/food, beer and ice. I was not quite 20 yet, wet behind the ears in many respects. At nearly 69 now, I can honestly say it was absolutely the wildest scene I have ever been part of! It surprises me to this day that more people were never aware of it. Wolfman Jack was the MC, and some of the hottest bands and up and comers…AWESOME TIME! Wish that I could experience that excitement once more

  46. LJ Jones

    July 21, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    Very inaccurate article. Bachman Turner Overdrive did NOT play. Blue Oyster Cult did NOT play. Ozark Mountain Daredevils did NOT play. A quick fact-check would have helped.

  47. Cheryl

    July 23, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    I was there. My husband and I came with a couple in a blue Ford Econoline van. We got there Thursday night and she and I climb the fence to get in. We brought no money. The guys sold mescaline as soon as we got there so we had money for food and drinks. I had never seen anything like this before and was in shock for several hours. Trying to figure out where I was going to go to the bathroom was a big deal. It was a trip❣️

  48. Ray Briggs

    August 30, 2023 at 10:06 pm

    I’m from Sedalia, but was living in K C at the time. My parents house was off of 16th street across from the Fairgrounds. Arriving at their house I saw 3 tents pitched in their yard. My mom put the garden hose out for them to wash down and drink. She also made some of them coffee( that my mom)❤️ The kids camping there was saying how kind she was so they took me over where they had cut a hole in the fence for getting in. I remember, the intense heat some nudity and if you walked through the tunnel at the race track all the tables selling whatever drugs you wanted. What an amazing lineup of bands. I was lucky to go home after each night to a bed and A/C or windows fans. I was 29 at the time and just moved to K C from Ft Lauderdale. It sounds like maybe a 50 year reunion concert may be planned in Sedalia in 2024. If so I hope it is better planned than the one in 1974 because it was a cluster (****)

  49. Mike Veloria

    December 28, 2023 at 11:12 am

    I’ve still got my wristband
    I’m glad 3 friends and myself got there a couple days before most
    Cars lined up, signs on the windshield selling most anything and a beer truck selling right off the truck
    Nothing but people roaming freely enjoying one another
    One big happy family
    I’d love to do it again
    My special thanks to
    Jackie N, Carl P, and Jerry M
    We road together from west plains ,Missouri

  50. Tom Dattalo

    March 2, 2024 at 4:36 pm

    I was there with 6 guys from Chicago.
    We traveled all night in a van and waited in a mile long line trying to get in the main gate, never made it and found a fence down to drive in.
    3 days of over 100 degree, 24 hr a day great music, coed showering,too many people to believe and an experience of a lifetime never to happen again !

  51. Tom Dattalo

    March 2, 2024 at 4:52 pm

    I was there with 6 buddies from Chicago. Drove all night in a Van and waited hours in over a mile long line trying to enter the main gate. A fence went down and we got in with the man made shortcut. 3 days of over 100 degrees all sun no cloud heat, heavy drug availability, no toilets (full and tipped over), coed showering owing to the heat, 24 a day hour great music and too many to believe made it a once in a lifetime experience not ever duplicated in my 70 years now. Everyone was friendly, peaceful and kind!
    One of the biggest Wows of my life outside my family! I missed Woodstock but fortunate to be a part of the Ozark Music Festival 1974 !

  52. Becky Muys

    April 5, 2024 at 9:24 pm

    Wow, and I was there all 3 day! I was 18 yrs old and hitchhiked there. Got a ride with 3 guys I had never met before in a van at a Jack in the Box! I remember it like it was yesterday, except I am now 68 yrs old. It was an unbelievable experience. I had no idea it was actually bigger than Woodstock!

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