Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Here's an email I received:

Shortly after leaving the military in '72 my best friend and I went to a
concert in Evansville at a baseball field there. We had a blast. So, when we
heard about Bull Island we immediately made plans to go.

We loaded up my car with ice, drinks and a little bit of food and all of the
appropriate drugs and paraphernalia. We dropped some acid and left our
little town near the Anderson-Muncie area. Anyone who has never drove a car
on acid that might think I'm just bull-shitin' but that seemed pretty normal
back then.

Most of the accounts I've read tell about parking and walking for miles and
then having to sneak or force their way in. We arrived in the late afternoon
on Thursday and found ourselves in a line of cars just a few hundred yards
from the gate. We were told that the gates wouldn't open until Friday
morning and so settled in to wait out the night by getting high and just
watching the people who continued to park somewhere behind us and make their
way in our direction. Directly across the road from where we parked was an
abandoned house or barn or both (my memory is a little foggy you
understand). As night approached people began gathering in this area,
building a big fire with wood from the old structure and started what
amounted to a really fun party. This was actually one of the highlights from
the five days we were there. That's right, I said five days.

There were a couple of local men that came to the party that night. To us
they seemed really old, maybe 40 or so and were really pretty drunk but I
had the feeling this was their normal Thursday night routine except this
time they had a lot of unexpected company. At one point they began jumping
over the fire with the encouragement of the crowd. Fortunately nobody got
hurt. Alcohol wasn't prominent on the menu but there was one guy there who
had hitched from somewhere in the east and was drinking. He wore a colostomy
bag and seemed to be celebrating even more deliberately than the rest of us.
When one of the local men commented about how he and his buddy were the only
ones drinking while everyone else was smokin' pot this guy jumped up and
said, "That ain't necessarily so because I've got two bottles of jack on
me". For years when my friend and I would talk we would often find some way
to work into the conversation the line, "I got two bottles of jack on me". I
guess this was just a way of keeping the memory alive and we always got a
laugh over it.

When Friday morning arrived we drove into the festival grounds. There were
maybe a couple hundred people already near the stage who had walked in ahead
of us but we were one of the first vehicles. The stage was way down the hill
and the parking area was at the top and stretched back a ways to where 7 or
8 feet tall weeds had not been cut down. I guess they figured there was no
need to cut all the weeds for the size crowd they were expecting. We parked
in the back close to the weeds and very near where the cars were coming into
the clearing on the theory that we could leave if we wanted to.

We sat there all morning and afternoon watching a never-ending stream of
people and vehicles of every discription pour into the festival grounds. At
first people gave some thought to where and how they parked but as the day
wore on they parked anywhere they could. By late afternoon the flow of cars
stopped for lack of space and it was clear we were going nowhere for the
foreseeable future. The foot traffic continued unabated.

At some point not long after the car traffic stopped we heard a strange
rustling sound behind us and getting louder. All of a sudden a car crashed
through the weeds and stopped just feet from where we were parked. It wasn't
just any car, it was a car full of our friends from our little town. We all
just looked at each other for a minute. We couldn't believe it could be a
coincidence. In the condition we were in it seemed more like preordination
or even creation. We were astonished to say the least. More cars followed
our friends and before long, instead of being in the back of the crowd, we
were now in the midst of it. Cars, trucks and vans now replaced all those
acres of weeds. By nightfall, miraculously in all that humanity, about
sixteen of our friends were together even though we came individually in
groups of two to five each without having made plans to meet or even knowing
the others were coming.

The next three days are a jumble of individual memories. The drug mart was
amazing. People carried signs advertising what they had to sell or wanted to
buy. Some people posted signs on car windows or antenna and set up shop.
Wares were on display like an open-air market in a third world city. That
was the atmosphere all weekend in fact, a third world city. It was a bit
frightening at times. Of all the drugs available the one that seemed in
short supply was pharmaceutical downers like Quaaludes or soapers. I know
one person that made a small fortune selling Phenobarbital. Late one night I
approached a crowd of people and found at it's center a guy sitting with a
single Quaalude. I think he was just screwing with people, pretending he was
considering selling it. I think he was enjoying the attention but I really
believe he was putting himself in danger. The crowd was not in a good mood.
What was not in short supply apparently was heroin. There was a shooting
gallery in the tent next to us. The guy running the joint started shouting
one afternoon and we saw him giving CPR to some guy who was turning blue.
One of the girls with us ran toward the stage to try to get some help.
Somehow they managed to get a jeep in there and take him away. I have no
idea if he survived.

On Saturday afternoon everyone went to skinny-dip in the river. Some local
boaters were out getting an eyeful and ran over one of the guys from our
town and didn't even stop. The prop practically took off his foot. He was
lucky the engine was not running at high rpm. He was evacuated by boat and
eventually recovered full use of his foot.

The lack of sanitary facilities was a real problem. I have a photo of a line
of about a hundred people waiting to use just one portable toilet and that
was before they were full to overflowing. Some people told stories like, "I
just shared a joint with some chick I was taking a crap next to". Having not
brought enough food was a bummer but the up side was it kept me out of the
crapping ground. I know what you're thinking, "TMI". I'll move on.

I've always regretted having left my camera in my car the morning the Amboy
Dukes played. It was dark when we left for the stage and I didn't know I
wouldn't be back before dawn. As it began getting light an unreal scene
revealed itself. A mixture of fog and smoke caused this mass of people to
gradually fade away in every direction. People had been camped there with
every kind of blanket, sleeping bag, folding chairs, coolers and campfires.
Most people were asleep or lying down and a few were standing watching the
stage. The paths between groups of people took on the appearance of alleys,
streets and highways. It looked like it had all been there forever.

When the Amboy Dukes played Ted Nugent was typically over the top and the
few people awake seemed to appreciate it. While he was playing a naked guy
came wandering through the smoke and fog. He was masturbating and trying to
put his hands on guys in the crowd. Some people simply moved away from him
and others reacted more angrily. One guy pushed him and he fell into a fire
but it didn't seem to faze him. He was obviously tripping really hard.
Almost no iris's, just black holes. He came over to where we were. One of my
friends was asleep in his bag and this guy stepped up on his back and starts
pissing like he was standing on a log pissing in a river. I swear to God
this is true. My friend woke up right away of course; thinking someone he
knew was trying to wake him up or just screwing with him. He looked up and
saw the guy pissing on the ground right next to him and freaked out. Talk
about a rude awakening'. Finally a group of five or six guys forced this
guy down and rolled him up in a blanket and carried him away to who knows

My friend and I didn't leave until Monday morning. Aside from the injured
foot we all made it back safely despite all the experimentation with
unreliable substances and lack of facilities, food and water. Even though
the normal constraining effect of authority was missing I'm not aware of any
actual crime, (other than drugs) and that is more than the average city of
300,000 people can claim on any given weekend. On the other hand, who was
keeping statistics? I wouldn't do it today but I'm glad I did it then.
Aren't you?


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Here's a comment from one person that was there. As you can tell by his message, it was an experience that he will not forget.

"I was at Bull island ,drove all night got there tired as hell stayed
couple hours and drove back to Moline ILL. Was an experience that I
take to the grave, was 19 years old.
B. Graham"

Thanks for your email! A concert of this size should not be forgotten, so if you were there leave a comment about your experiences.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Hi all,

I found a great place to look for hippies that may have went to Bull Island. It's a chat room in the Hippland web page. It's pretty cool cause there are a lot of like minded people there. So that is what I've been doing. I plan on going the the central library in Indianapolis and pulling up the newspaper about the concert. It's no all that informative but I would be remiss if I didn't included it. I believe there are some old grainy black and white pictures that is included in the article.

I wonder if veep Chenny will go the way on Agnuew if this leak business comes to a head, huh. I believe the Bush presidency will go down in history as a complete failure. What has he done that will stand out 20, 50, or 100 years from now? At least Clinton had a budget surplus during his stent in the White House. That's historical.

I be back with more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Here's a map that I got from MS Street and Trips. Bull Island is the part of Illinois that is protrudding into Indiana. From inside the concert, we kept hearing that Indiana wanted to shut it down but it was on Illinois land. Illinois wanted to do the same but didn't have a navy, lol. Both state were very pissed off at the promoter. I think he was fined. I know whoever put on the show lost money.
You can click on it to make it bigger.

Monday, November 14, 2005


I found this bit of trivia after getting an email from the old hippie's
I remember seeing this at the Gentle Giant web page

Sep. ? Bull Island, Illinois the date for Giant’s participation at this three-day Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival has come into question, with the original tour itinerary and one fan in attendance stating the band appeared in the early afternoon of the first day of festivities, Sep. 2, while two other fans claim they actually appeared in the early afternoon of the second day, Sep. 3. whichever day it was, it has been confirmed that GG did not really get a chance to play. one witness in the crowd says that the band stopped playing almost immediately after taking the stage, claiming the “organ was out of tune with itself”. another member of the crowd thinks there may have been a problem with the electric generators. the band was reportedly quite upset about not being able to play. oddly, though, Phil Shulman recalls this festival as being one of the highlights of his time in America, though he may be confusing it with some other gig. the festival, held on a 900-acre site on the border between Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, was poorly organized so many acts pulled out, including Black Sabbath, the Faces, the Allman Brothers and Joe Cocker. other bands appearing included Black Oak Arkansas, Canned Heat, Ravi Shankar and Nazareth. a few hundred thousand people were in attendance for this show, which was listed in the original tour itinerary as taking place in nearby Chandler, Indiana. it actually was originally planned for a site in Chandler, but was relocated at the last minute. the entire event ended up plagued by rioting, looting and general chaos

It's obvious that Phil Shulman had a great time, after all he said this of the show"The festival as being one of the hightlights of his time in America". The festival was a beautiful thing. There was some bad things that happened. It was a large group of people and people are unpredictable. One person drown in the river and another was accidently ran over by a van they he was sleeping beside. Tragic as those deaths were, they were not caused by the concert. Here I go. I recently had a friend die from a possible drug overdose(Sunday 11/13/2005). The person that had taken him in caught a windfull of hatefilled words from the dead friends family because of his death. Not thanks for taking him in because we didn't want his problems. It seems that everyone in this country wants to do the blame game. There are many examples of this but the one that really sticks in my claw is the Ozzy Osbroune vs the parents of a teen suicide victim(how can you call someone who commits suicide a victim??).

Friday, November 11, 2005

*****Please choose FireFox as your Browser*****

Explorer Destroyer

Friday, November 04, 2005

This is my first drible about something that happen a long time ago. There was a concert in southern Indiana in 1972, around Labor day. I was kind of like Woodstock but with newer acts for that time. I'm blogging this because the concert that I remember was a wonderful event and not how the Evensville press has made it out to be in wikipedia.


Here it is, from memory, the list of bands that played, that I can remember.
  • Foghat
  • Black Oak Arkansas
  • Flash (kind of like Yes)
  • Gentle Giant
  • Cheech and Chong
  • Brownville Station
  • Bob Seger
Damn! I know there were more than that but I can't remember. Around that same time period there was a group that was calling themselves "Fleetwood Mac" but they were found out for the fraud they were and forced to stop that act. I think they played at Bull Island.

For all you partying people from around Indianapolis and the central Indiana area, you will remember that the very next weekend there was a concert at Bush Stadium. But that's another story.

Anyway, Bull Island was the largest party I have ever attended. There were an estimated 300,000 people there according to the Indianapolis Star, The Evansville newpaper, and another news paper that I can't remember. The people who put this concert on lost their asses because the powers that be kept then from setting a time and a place for the event. No one in our government wanted another Woodstock! Well Damn them we did! Much to the chagrin of poor Gov. Otis Bowen and his counterpart in Illinois. Assholes all. My hats off to the people who pull this thing off. Everytime they set a time/place a judge would pull the ol injuction no function bullshit. So somehow these guys got an island out in the Wabash River that was unreachable by Illinois, who had jurisdiction over it. There was a road that went down to it from Indiana. Genius! If you read the Estabishment newpapers or wikipedia(which is actaully the Evansville newspapers depiction of the events) they'll tell you how awful the condition were but if anyone has ever done any camping it was about like that.

The concert was supposed to last three days and start on friday. I believe the ticket price was $17.50 but it was a free show when I got there on saturday. I had to park my car on the Interstate 64. I will probably never see an intersate highway turned into a parking lot again. As a matter of fact, I bought an old 1956 chevy impala 4 door($50) just to drive to the concert were ever it was going to be. There were 4 of us who went down there. I remember that I was going to hitch a ride but my girlfriends brother suggested that we drive the car. The reasoning for me was, it was being broadcasted that you could not park for twenty mile of the concert, so why drive. I wasn't that bad , we only had too walk about six miles off the interstate. I was concerned that they would tow my car but that was completely unfounded.[pause]

Thursday 11/3/2005

So here it is, it's Saturday afternoon, Labor Day weekend, and the sky is cloudy and ugly looking but it doesn't look like rain. We get our stuff out of the car and head out to the show. We're already moved by the amount of cars we see, knowing that there's going to be one hell of alot of people here. I vaguely remember the walk in. I do remember passing by an old farm house with people on the porch talking to some fellow concert goers about where the bast place was to buy stuff in Griffin, IN, and asking how far away it was. Seems like we passed a store but ...... We got to what was once the entrance to the show. It was destroyed. We continued on till we reach the stage. It was unforgetable, unimaginable, and wonderful. It was Woodstock. It had that same feel. Everyone was very happy to be there and all the people were "groovy". I haven't said that word for 30 years but it is the only way to desrcibe how the people felt about each other. [pause] I just tried to do a google for groovy and the closest I could come to a definition was "The Oldhippie's Groovy site". The site offers counterculture stuff but it would be impossible describe how it felt to be groovy. Sounds pretty stupid to those younger than me or those of my generation who were not.

Friday 11/4/2005

Got a comment from catherine calspa. It would appear that catherine likes kissing? I think I've forgotten how. It's been so long. That's another story.
It's not that I'm not happy, hail yeah I am. I'm close to 50 and unlike when I was in my twenty's or thirtys, a relationship with someone is not a priority. Maybe that would change if I found the right person? I hope not, lol.

I'll be back, later.