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The Cleveland Pop Festival, The Festival You Probably Never Heard About?

The Cleveland Pop Festival, The Festival You Probably Never Heard About?

In 1969 there were a multitude of summer music festivals, the Atlanta Pop Festival, the Atlantic City Pop Festival, the Texas International Pop Festival, Altamont and of course the granddaddy of all festivals Woodstock but did you know that before all of these well know festivals Cleveland had one. In April of 1969 Belkin Productions put on the first (and last) Cleveland Pop Festival.

Being Cleveland you had to play to the weather where opening day for the Cleveland Indians usually had snow so the Cleveland Pop Festival was held indoors at Public Auditorium (Public Hall) which held about 3000 people. The bill was small as far as festival’s go but it was really good lineup.

The Belkins (Mike and Jules) were at the time just about 3 years into doing shows, not like the giants of the industry we remember in the 70’s and they wanted to get a foothold into the trend for the Cleveland area not knowing that after Altamont the feelings of peace and love along with festivals went away.

The show was a sellout with such a diverse lineup of Blood, Sweat And Tears, Iron Butterfly and the folk legend Tim Buckley there was something for everyone and with the enthusiasm for this type of show, the Belkins created later in the summer the Cleveland Summer Pop Festival (another one you probably never heard of) and the St Louis Pop Festival. Sadly after that summer the festivals for us went away but the Belkins over next coming years became giants in the industry and in 1974 launched the World Series Of Rock concerts in Cleveland and the Summerfest in Buffalo giving us back that feeling of 1969.

Poster Courtesy of rawsugarstudio.com


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