You Have Another Chance To See “The Story of the Ozark Music Festival”
July 19 -21, 1974 are three days many long-time Sedalia residents will never forget. And three days that Sedalia's city fathers, old-timers, and the Missouri State Fair still seemingly don't want to acknowledge. Yet that didn't stop many in attendance from helping Sedalia native Jeff Lujin tell the story of the Ozark Music Festival in his documentary, which you can see next week at Smith-Cotton Junior High School.
Mike Pettis and I had an opportunity to hang out with Jeff earlier this week and talk about his film, the Ozark Music Festival, its impact on Sedalia, and some of the characters he interviewed while making the film.
It's really amazing how outside of Missouri the Ozark Music Festival isn't really well known, even among music fans. In an article on the film in the Examiner, they say 27 bands including Aerosmith, REO Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Charlie Daniels, and BTO were scheduled to play. You'd think that would have gotten some attention.
Lujin told us some of that is due to the fact that there wasn't a lot of attention paid to the festival by the television networks or even Kansas City media. He went on to say, professionally shot film of the event is hard to come by. And there isn't even a lot of film shot by people who attended the festival.
Additionally, Sedalia's city fathers, the Missouri State Fair, and the Missouri legislature were so angry and embarrassed about what happened with the festival they had no desire to revisit or acknowledge the event even existed.
I never heard about it until I joined a Facebook group celebrating Kansas City's legendary radio station, KYYS KY-102, where it's occasionally come up as a topic of conversation. (And I've spent a fair amount of time researching and putting specialty weekends together for radio stations celebrating music festivals like Monterey Pop and Woodstock.)
Today the festival is still a sore spot with some of Sedalia's residents. Yet, as perhaps the last of the big festivals of the late 60s and early 70s music era, I think it's time for the City and the Missouri State Fair to acknowledge and celebrate the festival while acknowledging some of the problems and issues it brought to the City.
I'd also like to see the Missouri State Fair and the City entertain the idea of a 50th Anniversary festival. Or at least a concert with a few of the artists who originally played the festival. Heck, I'd like to see the Missouri State Fair program concerts and festivals throughout the summer. It's ridiculous that we have this great facility that for the most part is underutilized.
Will it happen? Lujin had a surprising answer when we posed that question to him.
Take some time and listen to our wide-ranging interview with him about his film, "The Story of the Sedalia Music Festival: 3 Days of Sodom and Gomorrah in Sedalia, Missouri".
The film is being screened at Smith-Cotton Junior High School Tuesday, December 28 at 12:30 PM and 6:30 PM CST, and Wednesday, December 29 at 12:30 PM and 6:30 PM CST. Advance tickets are $15.00 and are available at Backwoods Guitar, 120 S. Osage, in Sedalia. Or at the door for $20.00.
Listen to the interview here: