The Horrors of Bull Island, “the Worst Music Festival of All Time” (1972)

It’s maybe a lit­tle unfair to com­pare 1972’s “Bull Island” Fes­ti­val to Fyre Fest, the music fes­ti­val scam so egre­gious it war­rant­ed duel­ing doc­u­men­taries on Hulu and Net­flix. But “Bull Island” — or what was orig­i­nal­ly called the Erie Canal Soda Pop Fes­ti­val — was an epic cat­a­stro­phe, maybe the worst in music fes­ti­val his­to­ry, and well deserv­ing of its own media fran­chise. Still, its orga­niz­ers had every inten­tion of fol­low­ing through on the event. What hap­pened wasn’t entire­ly their fault, but part­ly the result of a cam­paign to route thou­sands of hip­pies out of the state of Indi­ana.

Pro­mot­ers Tom Dun­can and Bob Alexan­der had pre­vi­ous­ly staged a suc­cess­ful fes­ti­val, the Bosse Field Free­dom Fest, in Evans­ville, an event fea­tur­ing Tina Turn­er, Edgar Win­ter, Dr. John, Howl­in’ Wolf, and John Lee Hook­er. Eager to top them­selves and bring a “bigger-than-Woodstock”-sized hap­pen­ing to the Mid­west, they booked “a block­buster col­lec­tion of artists” for their next event, writes Patrick Cham­ber­lain at Ever­fest, “includ­ing Black Sab­bath, The All­man Broth­ers, Fleet­wood Mac, Ravi Shankar, The Eagles, and even Cheech and Chong.”

Before secur­ing all the per­mits, they placed ads and start­ed sell­ing tick­ets. The two eager 20-some­thing orga­niz­ers both suf­fered from the trag­ic flaw of youth­ful over­con­fi­dence, which blind­ed them to the fact that there was no way their next fes­ti­val was going to hap­pen in Evans­ville, or any­where in Indi­ana, for that mat­ter. The error led to what may be, as Band­splain­ing explains above, the worst music fes­ti­val of all time. “The lack of pre­pared­ness, the law­less­ness, the des­per­a­tion of the crowd; it’s like the bad-acid trip ver­sion of Wood­stock where [spoil­er] every­thing burns down. [/spoiler].”

Although reports from locals most­ly char­ac­ter­ized the duo’s pre­vi­ous out­door fes­ti­val at Bosse Field as peace­ful, Evans­ville May­or Rus­sell Lloyd vowed it would nev­er hap­pen again. Yet Dun­can and Alexan­der plowed ahead with plan­ning the Eerie Canal Soda Pop Fes­ti­val, as Sean Mcde­vitt writes at the Couri­er & Press:

Con­tracts were signed, heli­copters were rent­ed, and holes were being dug for some 500 portable toi­lets. More than 30 rock groups were booked, and tick­ets went on sale in sev­er­al cities around the coun­try.

Obliv­i­ous to their fate, the orga­niz­ers sold almost 9,000 tick­ets. “Just eight days after its announce­ment, a restrain­ing order was issued against the event,” fol­lowed by a string of sim­i­lar ordi­nances in neigh­bor­ing coun­ties as oth­er locales got wind of the pro­ject­ed 50,000 to 60,000 atten­dees expect­ed to show up. Soon, those num­bers swelled to the hun­dreds of thou­sands. Alexan­der and Dun­can went on TV and begged author­i­ties to let the show pro­ceed to pre­vent mass civ­il unrest.

Forced to move the fes­ti­val out of state, they set­tled on a place called Bull Island, “not in fact an island, but rather a col­lec­tion of swampy fields,” Cham­ber­lain notes, “under the legal juris­dic­tion of the town of Car­mi, Illi­nois, but only acces­si­ble through Indi­ana.” When 200,000 hip­pies arrived on Labor Day week­end, it caused a traf­fic jam 30 miles long, and they were forced to aban­don their cars and hike for miles on foot, resem­bling “a defeat­ed army,” NBC Night­ly News reporter Edwin New­man put it.

Some of the acts — includ­ing Ravi Shankar, Ted Nugen­t’s Amboy Dukes, and Black Oak Arkansas — did make it, chop­per­ing in to play a set, then swift­ly leav­ing. “Cheech and Chong were heli­coptered in, per­formed for fif­teen min­utes in a del­uge of rain, cut their set short,” and got out, sure­ly sens­ing bad vibes every­where, caused by strych­nine-laced acid. Big acts like Rod Stew­art and Black Sab­bath had already can­celed, leav­ing long stretch­es of silence between sets.

For most fes­ti­val atten­dees, the open-air drug mar­kets stood out most in their mem­o­ries. “The dope dis­trict looked like dou­ble rows of fish stands at the coun­ty fair!” one remem­bers. “It was eas­i­er to buy drugs than it was to buy water,” recalled anoth­er attendee. The police, vast­ly out­num­bered, left well enough alone and stayed out­side the fence. Jemayel Khawa­ja at Ozy paints the scene:

Inside, chaos was already in full swing. The stage was half con­struct­ed, and the camp­grounds — crammed with over four times as many peo­ple as expect­ed — were lined with open drug mar­kets. Hawk­ers set up stalls sell­ing mar­i­jua­na, mesca­line, LSD and hero­in. “I nev­er saw so many drugs in my life,” attendee Ray Kessler recalled to local news­pa­per The Mount Ver­non Demo­c­rat. With only six out­hous­es and half-dug wells to serve as san­i­ta­tion, thou­sands instead took to reliev­ing them­selves en masse in what became known as “The Turd Fields” and bathing in the Wabash Riv­er.

What hap­pened was sure­ly inevitable. Price goug­ing caused atten­dees, rabid with hunger and thirst, to attack ven­dors. Some caught pneu­mo­nia in the tor­ren­tial rains on the third day. One attendee drowned in the Wabash, anoth­er was run over by a truck but sur­vived, many were beat­en and robbed, one over­dosed, one gave birth. By that evening, “the crowd had endured enough,” Cham­ber­lain writes. “The last­ing image many have of the fes­ti­val is the crowd set­ting the stage on fire. It was a fit­ting end­ing. By this point, the pop­u­lous turned to mass exo­dus, dur­ing which com­mon themes were intox­i­ca­tion, break­downs, theft, long dri­ves, and come­downs.”

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Lis­ten Online to Every Minute of the Orig­i­nal Wood­stock Fes­ti­val

Leg­endary Protest Songs from Wood­stock: Hen­drix, Jef­fer­son Air­plane, Coun­try Joe & More Per­form Protest Songs Dur­ing the Music Fes­ti­val That Launched 50 Years Ago This Week

Revis­it the Infa­mous Rolling Stones Free Fes­ti­val at Alta­mont: The Ill-Fat­ed Con­cert Took Place 50 Years Ago

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Jerry says:

    I went ‚rememe­ber very lit­tle ‚except no sleep ‚cold ‚wet and hun­gry ‚great time.Some good music. 70s were crazy.

  • Dave says:

    We had fun, we sur­vived. We were free. Few peo­ple today can say they even know what they is like, let alone judge it for being good or bad with any sort of first hand knowl­edge.

  • Dan Davis says:

    I think that one of the rea­sons that it has been called one of the “worst fes­ti­vals” is because a large part of the crowd left before Mon­day, which is when the most bands played. Only about 6 played on Sat­ur­day, and about 9 on Sun­day, but about 13 of the most famous bands played on Mon­day. That is prob­a­bly why peo­ple say there were long peri­ods of silence. There cer­tain­ly was on Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, but not on Mon­day. Com­pare that to Wood­stock when Jimi Hen­drix played. Of the half mil­lion peo­ple, only 200,000 stayed to hear him because it was the last day, but he is still con­sid­ered the top per­former of that event. I was at Bull Island and I had a good time and don’t think it deserves a “worst fes­ti­val” label­ing. I pub­lished a book about it last year, with pho­tos and my and oth­er atten­dees sto­ries. If you google “the Bull Island rock fes­ti­val book”, it will pull it up. Peace.

  • Bill Winters says:

    We did­n’t know the loca­tion was changed until after we drove up from Ten­nessee, went to a record store in Evans­ville, bought tick­ets, and then tried to fig­ure out where we were going. We drove as close as we could, then walked and walked, fol­low­ing the crowd. There was some­thing of a fence where we final­ly went in, but by then, the fence was being torn down, and peo­ple were crash­ing through with­out pay­ing. We set up a tent not too far from the stage, crashed, and woke up to a hel­lu­va lot more peo­ple around than the night before. The peo­ple behind us did­n’t seem to like that we had a tent, and they did­n’t, so from the first night, trash piled up against the back of the tent, and a lot of folks pissed on the back of it, too. I remem­ber telling my bud­dies that this was­n’t peace and love any­more, but we had a great, high old time, even with the ugly announce­ments about the bad acid, etc. Sur­vival of the fittest. We stole food, we stole beer, alot of beer. The guys near us did­n’t seem to notice that their cas­es of Miller High Life were dis­ap­pear­ing fast. My group drank well over 50% of it, and we nev­er had a con­ver­sa­tion with any of those guys, we just stole their beer, open­ly. My bud­dy, Mike and I went search­ing for food dai­ly. A cou­ple of girls near us gave me about $20 total before one of these for­ag­ing trips, ask­ing me to bring them back any­thing they could eat. We found a truck, or van that had some­how come in with cool­ers full of all kind of ice cream treats. Huge crowd push­ing each oth­er, get­ting pret­ty ugly. Could­n’t push our way through the crowd. Mike was big­ger than me, so he got behind me, put his head down, and lit­er­al­ly drove me through the crowd to the front, all the time with me yelling ” Hey man, this ain’t cool, wait your turn!!!!!” We scored a bunch of treats, nobody we shoved out of the way seemed to notice we were actu­al­ly “work­ing” togeth­er. After we got our stuff, we dropped down to the ground, and crawled under their tables and truck, and got the hell out of there with our treats. We’d have nev­er made it back through the crowd with our ice cream if we’d tried. Mike and I ate all of it before we got back to our tent, told the girls that some guys took it all away from us, so we did­n’t have their mon­ey or ice cream. They did­n’t notice all the ice cream I had all over my shirt. Things were get­ting rough by then, so get­ting ice cream hijacked was very believ­able. We stayed so stoned every day, and drank a ton of beer, too. The low point was peo­ple going into our tent to shoot up hero­in with­out ask­ing. Some of my friends did, too, but I could­n’t stand to be around the folks shoot­ing junk. I was a drug sponge and vac­u­um in those days, except for junk. Walk­ing miles out, past the row after row after row of Indi­ana State Troop­ers, parked nose to tail, all stand­ing by their cars with rifles or shot­guns point­ed up to the sky, silent­ly watch­ing us stag­ger by, was sur­re­al as hell. Thanks for let­ting me share this. Lots of sto­ries in my mem­o­ries. Bill

  • Adam H says:

    Hi DAN DAVIS !!! Your book is won­der­ful. Thanks for writ­ing it. I’d love to speak with you about your expe­ri­ence at Bull Island. I’m the exec­u­tive pro­duc­er of a doc­u­men­tary about the rock fes­ti­val at Bull Island and we are cur­rent­ly in pro­duc­tion. Sev­er­al key inter­views have already been filmed, includ­ing those that helped facil­i­tate the event and I was able to film their recent­ly! We also have unseen footage. Please con­tact me! Email:

    If any­one else is inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing by shar­ing their sto­ries, please email me.

    Josh, great arti­cle! Thanks for this.

  • Doc says:

    (First post­ed on a Soda Pop Fes­ti­val Blogspot years ago)

    We drove up to the Soda Pop Fes­ti­val from Nashville, Tenn. (Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty). There was four or five of us in this nasty light blue Grem­lin. We were wast­ed for three days. I only remem­ber Foghat and Cheech and Chong when it was rain­ing. We were using a bik­er (we thought he was dead) for a mat­tress. The girl I was with changed her under­wear out in the open every day. When we left the fes­ti­val on a dirt road we let some peo­ple ride on the hood of the car. It forced the front end down and we hit a tree stump with one of the car’s cross mem­bers. The cross mem­ber cut into the oil pan and we lost all the engine oil on the road. A mechan­ic at a near­by truck sta­tion fixed it for us for $200.00. We did­n’t have enough mon­ey so a drug deal­er gave us the rest. It was a mis­er­able night. I drove every­body back to Nashville wast­ed.

  • Steve McGill says:

    I spent decades not being able to get any infor­ma­tion on this event. I start­ed won­der­ing if I had real­ly been there or was it just a dream. A friend of mine, who passed away 40 years ago, had just got his dri­ver’s license and offered to dri­ve. None of our oth­er friends were inter­est­ed or avail­able so it was just the two of us. We con­coct­ed a cov­er sto­ry for our par­ents and left Cincin­nati Sat­ur­day morn­ing. It was def­i­nite­ly in an out-of-the-way, des­o­late loca­tion. I remem­ber Blue Oys­ter Cult, the Eagles & New Rid­ers of the Pur­ple Sage per­form­ing way off in the dis­tance. The open-air drug mar­ket was aston­ish­ing! We took way too many drugs. I remem­ber an attrac­tive com­plete­ly naked girl walk­ing right by us and we were too high to real­ly care. Our 16 year-old minds could only take so much stim­uli so we split after 3–4 hours. It took us anoth­er 2–3 hours to find our car. There was a strange vibe in the air and we were lucky to get out of there when we did.

  • Peace653 says:

    Oh man, what a mem­o­ry Bull Island was. We hitch­hiked from Spring­field Illi­nois to Bull Island. No one would pick us up except anoth­er freak. We got there on day one. The next three days are pret­ty much a drug infest­ed blurr. We had a very high time with no trou­ble from any­one. I nev­er saw one police­man or secu­ri­ty guard. Food and water were scarce and those that had some were sell­ing it at inflat­ed prices. We brought our own drugs due to past fes­ti­val expe­ri­ences. So we had some bar­gain­ing pow­er when it came to trad­ing acid or mesca­line for food and water. I was at a fes­ti­val in Streator IL. and it was 10 times worse than Bull Island. When you get that many peo­ple togeth­er there are bound to be some prob­lems, you just go with the flow, enjoy the music and free­dom. Those were some of the best days of my life and I feel for­tu­nate to have sur­vived it all and tell about it. Long Live The 60’s and 70’s!

  • Stephen McGill says:

    I’d just like to add that we saw none of the real­ly bad stuff that the arti­cle men­tions dur­ing our brief time at the fes­ti­val. It’s just that, as two 16-year-old boys alone, we were in way over our heads. Unfor­get­table expe­ri­ence but we prob­a­bly had no busi­ness being there and were lucky to make it home with­out any seri­ous mishap.

  • Mike says:

    I had a good time. The worst rock fes­ti­val thing is wear­ing me out. I’ve been to some bad concerts/festivals. Three days of music, weed, and Boones Farm. So hun­dreds of thou­sands of young kids got togeth­er in peace and had a par­ty. I did­n’t see any trou­ble. Try that today. I say one LEO the whole time I was there. I did­n’t see any­body forced to stay if they want­ed to leave. But some folks got­ta run down every­thing. Peace to all.

  • Patricia Green says:

    When I talk about my expe­ri­ence at Bull Island ‚I am not blam­ing pro­mot­ers or any­one for what went wrong for me.I was start­ing my sec­ond year as a sopho­more at West­ern Ken­tucky university,.I had heard about the con­cert ‚I just thought it would be fun,I blame my self I was total­ly unpre­pared ‚I did not bring food,I maybe brought an extra jack­et ‚maybe a jack­et and a blan­ket not even sure about that ‚past the mon­ey for a tick­et which I did not use because by the time we got there the gates had already been crashed.I was sup­pose to meet friends there so I sep­a­rat­ed from a friend who had giv­en mearide ‚but Iwas nev­er able to find them,.The sec­ond day anoth­er friend I ran into decid­ed to try to hitch back to Bowl­ing Green my ‚but we did not get very far ‚so after eat­ing at Ky.Fried chick­en we hitched back to Bull Island.The friend I had hitched with and I got sep­a­rat­ed ‚Itwas get­ting Late and it rained at some point and I was very cold ‚In between times I did lis­ten to some good bands ‚final­ly on the last day I found my friends camp but they were not there ‚soI helped my self to some of their peanut but­ter and crack­ers .I made sure to mem­o­rize exact­ly where it was located,so I could catch a ride back as planned when the con­cert was over..When peo­ple start­ed leav­ing itwas get­ting dark so I start­ed walk­ing towards the camp I final­ly found a cou­ple in the group,The camp was not far but they decid­ed to hop on the back of the car.I didn’t make it so I con­tin­ued walk­ing ‚a young guy start­ed walk­ing with and talk­ing to me,I sus­pect­ed noth­ing when he sud­den­ly grabbed me from behind and said he had a knife and if I screamed he would kill me.I start­ed walk­ing ‚even though it was dark there were still plen­ty of peo­ple around.I sud­den­ly through my weight for­ward and screamed he lost hold of me ‚some­one said what is going on,the guy ran.I did nit stop to explain I ran hys­ter­i­cal­ly to I came upon the camp,Myfriends calmed me down,and we head­ed back to Bowl­ing Green,happy to just be alive. Toth­is day I jump if some­one comes behind me,but also after that I was very care­ful and plan when I go any­where.

  • Rick L Gardner says:

    I was there with my friend Jim S. We were there for 3 days. It was too hot and too wet not enough food and drink or bath­rooms only 6 or 8 of them I think. The crowd was always yelling for this one or that band that they want­ed I remem­ber Joe Cock­er was one of them. I watched the peo­ple over­run the ven­dors when they tried to Rip every­one off price wise and take all their goods and give them away to the peo­ple they were rip­ping off. We hitch­hiked all the way there and back to Grand Rapids, Michi­gan. Drugs every­where hip­pies every­where no where near enough good music for sure but some. Not what we thought it would be. Still it was a Wood­stock Feel and that’s part of why we went.

  • Paul Moore says:

    I have seen almost noth­ing per­tain­ing to “Bull Island”.
    Now I have to get the book!
    I went there in 1972 with a group of friends. Most have since passed.We ditched a 65 Chevy on the express­way, Clung on vehi­cles com­ing and going.
    Arrived hear­ing Cheech & Chong singing: Gonna nail my peck­er to a tree. Left a day lat­er when things start­ed to “catch on fire”. Met some Super nice peo­ple. Got seri­ous­ly dirty.
    Loved some of it/Hated some of it. Thanks for the mem­o­ries!

  • Tim Fisher says:

    We got there ear­ly. Two had tick­ets, 4 hid under camp­ing stuff in van. Woke up in a small city. Came with a bunch of home­grown. Soon gone. Found hash on one end , tripled it on the oth­er. Only time in my life I was a true cap­i­tal­ist. Like many say, no food, no toi­lets no water. But then!!! I know oth­er folks may claim this. I ran into Black Oak, they cleaned me out and gave me a Gold­en tick­et. It got us back­stage where food and every­thing was plen­ti­ful, We swiped beer & sold it under the fence. If you saw a kid sell­ing cig­a­rettes out of an old suit­case dur­ing Canned Heat. It was me at 14. We left in a near riot as they burned the stage. I was poor but came back loaded, with Hashish. Time of my life, one any­way.

  • Holly Jones says:

    I went to Bull Island. We picked a cou­ple up hitch­hik­ers. in our Van, they were going there too. The strange thing about that was what the preg­nant woman said she was going to name her baby” Win­neba­go” I remem­ber we were walk­ing down the road going in and all of a sud­den peo­ple were naked. It was very embar­rass­ing because of my sis­ter and broth­er-in-law who I was with, my sis­ter Deb­by had nev­er been with any­one but her hus­band Dan before.
    Well, her hus­band got mad at Deb­by because that was the first time, she got to look at oth­er men naked. We were from the small town of Mar­tinsville Ind. Some­thing else strange hap­pen at least it was strange for me Of course we were on Acid “Sun­shine’. The female friend and I start­ed to walk around. We peo­ple swim­ming nude. I want­ed swim nude bad, but I could­n’t because my sis­ter was there with her hus­band. Teena and I did get in the water, and I did undo the of my hal­ter top. The two oth­er guys that road there with us won­dered around by their selves. One of them was Earl Col­lier. Teena end­ed up get­ting togeth­er with him years after that and mar­ried him. To be hon­est I haven’t even thought of Bull Island for many years because it was such bust There was one oth­er thing when we were walk­ing into Bull Island there was a man who stole my Heart. He kissed me a long pas­sion­ate kiss and I nev­er saw him again. But I won’t for­get him

  • Richard Fawcett says:

    Right on broth­er I was there too and of course it was­n’t ran per­fect­ly a lot of it because of some of the per­mit chaos that was going on with a cou­ple of young entre­pre­neurs. But this clown that wrote this arti­cle almost acts like he’s got an extra grind or is try­ing to be con­tro­ver­sial to raise his pro­file. But your povs are spot on, if some­one’s look­ing to find the neg­a­tive in it just like you could do the same thing with Wood­stock or so many of the oth­er giant con­certs you could have done it with this and this ass­hat that wrote this piece AKA Josh Jones has a dif­fer­ent view of those of us that were there. It was tough the walk from the high­way was an adven­ture of its own. Naked peo­ple swim­ming in the Wabash lots of par­ty favors for those who indulged and great music to be had for those who hung on.

  • Bing Kimmell says:

    I was there and had just grad­u­at­ed high school. It’s fun­ny how some peo­ple take expe­ri­ences or other’s mem­o­ries to form a sto­ry to fit their nar­ra­tive to try and sell a sto­ry. I knew two peo­ple who were at Wood­stock, so I wasn’t going to miss this. I bought my tick­et months before, but nev­er need­ed it. I think it cost $18 or $20. Three friends and I in my 1962 Stude­bak­er Lark pulled off the inter­state on Fri­day after­noon at Gri­ifin IN to find traf­fic backed up as far as the eye could see. We we stop/started all night long to final­ly ditch the car and walk anoth­er cou­ple of miles or so car­ry­ing a wash tub full of Boones Farm Wild Moun­tain Berry wine and some Din­ty Moore beef stew. I remem­ber dig­ging a trench around my pup tent and it rained very hard through the night. A friend who had to work told me before I left to meet him stage right on Sun­day morn­ing. Remem­ber, this was before cell phones. He con­vinced his par­ents to dri­ve about 75 miles and let him out on the inter­state where he hiked in. I found him ear­ly Sun­day morn­ing all clean with pressed cloths sit­ting in the mid­dle of a bunch of stoned out hip­pies. He had a back­pack full of food and water that he shared and we sat there through the night lis­ten­ing to the music. I would guess that at its peak there were over 200k peo­ple there. My best mem­o­ry was when YES came on in the mid­dle of the night. I remem­ber the food trucks burn­ing, but it seemed of no con­science to us.
    I nev­er saw the oth­er guys who came with me. I couldn’t find my keys when we head­ed out until I got back to my car only to find them still in the trunk latch. 10’s of thou­sands of peo­ple must have passed by there and they were not touched. It was prob­a­bly the longest stretch in my life of going with sleep, but it is also an expe­ri­ence that I do not regret and will always remem­ber.

  • Claudette Barber says:

    I was there, came down from north­ern illi­nois. A 15 year old at the time. It was a wild fes­ti­val and felt like I was lucky to make it out a live. The high ( lit­er­al­ly) points I remem­ber were the traf­fic jam on inter­state , we drove down the medi­an to get there. Chil­dren walk­ing around with sand­wich boards adver­tis­ing drug sales. Tak­ing a bath in the riv­er there& my friend cut his eye open wait­ing for me on a car door, should of had stitch­es, still has a scar from it. No food or water, I was able to secure a back­stage pass and had 1 good meal. Slept out­side in sleep­ing bag and some­one stole my purse with all my mon­ey and a friends car keys in it. They had to Hotwire the car. The only band I remem­ber was the doo­bie broth­ers. Last mem­o­ry was see­ing the stage and a semi start on fire. I was able to get a ride out of there and the ride home wasn’t any bet­ter! Thank God for His pro­tec­tion.

  • Debbi says:

    My sis­ter and I drove over from Bloom­ing­ton where we were stu­dents at IU. I also remem­ber park­ing along the Inter­state and walk­ing for­ev­er to get in. Pass­ing through drug alley was scary. I had nev­er seen any­one shoot up before. We were cold and wet. I remem­ber shar­ing a can of beans with 2 spoons, in the rain and see­ing the cam­era crews film­ing us. We final­ly left by walk­ing and stand­ing on a car bumper. The last thing we heard on the way out was a group singing “oh, oh, oh, Lis­ten to the Music.” We had nev­er heard of them so con­tin­ued on out! We saw the smoke from the fire. A month lat­er we were at our home in north­ern Indi­ana when our Dad asked us to sit down at the table. He had been at a state wide meet­ing of the Indi­ana State Police who showed every­one videos of the Bul­l’s Island Fes­ti­val and every­thing hap­pen­ing there. We were about to crap our pants, think­ing Dad saw us in those videos. Thank heav­ens he only want­ed to talk to us about such events and tell us to avoid them at all costs. “Yes, Dad­dy”! Whew!!!

  • Mike says:

    Deb­bi, my Dad worked for the IN State Police and I remem­ber he went to a “meet­ing” to watch the films that the police took. I am glad I did­n’t go to Bull Island (I was still in high school.) He would have giv­en me a talk­ing to for sure. It was bad enough in 1970 when we drove through San Fran­cis­co. He went on and on about those damn hip­pies and their g‑damn love news­pa­pers that seemed to be on every street cor­ner. I laugh about it now- he was a great dad who tru­ly loved our mom and their chil­dren.

  • Tony says:

    Not worse , I was at Bull Island and in 71 at Cel­e­bra­tion of Life I. Louisiana which was Def worse fes­ti­val of 70s 70s scene. I went to many

  • Sabrina says:

    I was a sopho­more in high school when the Bull Island Fest took place. I did­n’t go. In the small town I lived in in souther Indi­ana, Hwy 64 ran through it. I could see the high­way from my back door. It was not at all unusu­al to see some­one hitch­hik­ing. Some dressed like hip­pies, some quite nor­mal­ly. Some did­n’t have any­thing except what was on their backs, oth­er had back­packs. I hope who­ev­er they were got there safe­ly and got home safe­ly too.

  • Rebecca Bagby says:

    I’m 70 years old now but I remem­ber a few things about the fes­ti­val. The worst thing that I remem­ber was there were only sev­er­al bath­rooms avail­able. Most peo­ple were pee­ing in the grass . Many peo­ple walk­ing around naked. Park­ing was a dis­as­ter.

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