Ted Klumb is a Commercial and Residential Real Estate agent with First Weber and CEO/Founder of TKOR, LLC property management (www.tedklumb.com). He lives and works in Menomonee Falls, is a graduate of UWM, and is married with two children. Ted is also a former member of the Menomonee Falls School Board, a faith development music teacher, and musician who’s enthusiasm far exceeds his talent.
With all of the attention being given to Woodstock, let’s reflect on a music event, that same year, in Milwaukee.
There have been many excellent music events in Milwaukee. Indeed, Summerfest brings great music every year. I never got a chance to see my favorite band, the Beatles, but did see the Rolling Stones in 1965 and was one of the paltry 500 fans in the Milwaukee Arena. After that concert, the Stones allegedly vowed never to perform in Milwaukee again. They did, about ten years later.
Without a doubt, the greatest Rock music event in Wisconsin was the 3-day Midwest Rock Festival in 1969, at StateFairPark. I dare say it rivaled Woodstock in terms of more artists and artists that would become famous. Tom Tolan, of the JournalSentinel wrote about it last week-Midwest Rock Festival. I was there too, very young and somewhat innocent, so I can remember most of all 3 days.
One of the big names that played was an unknown group out of England called Led Zeppelin. I knew this group only because of the former Yardbird guitar player Jimmy Page. The performance was unbelievable and launched the Heavy Metal genre. Eric Clapton, another Yardbird guitar player was there with former Cream member Ginger Baker, Traffic keyboardist Steve Winwood and Rick Grech, as Blind Faith. The first and only tour of this new brand of “Super Group,” that blew everyone away. John Mayall with his Turning Point lineup was spectacular. Johnny Winter (with Edgar Winter) closed the festival with an unbelievable fury of guitar riffs.
The quantity of music was, I believe, superior to Woodstock in that there were no gaps in the lineup. Some of the best local bands, and regional bands kept the music cranking. Some went on to become major artists. Bob Seeger System was one of those bands. Seeger rose to stardom and was one of the top rock artists in America in the mid 80s. Other great regional bands that faded away: Shag, SRC, MC5 (the first punk band ever), Bertrum Grimm, and Jim Schwall.
Some of the more obscure (at that time) national bands: Sweetwater (the first interracial band, jazz fusionist pioneers, and played Woodstock), Pacific Gas and Light, Joe Cocker, Buffy Sainte Marie, Kenny Rogers (at one point one of the biggest artist in the U.S.) and the First Edition, Taste featuring Rory Gallagher, Delaney, Bonnie & Friends, who were joined by Eric Clapton. Other than Santana, name one artist from Woodstock who became much more famous after the event.
Bands that were there, booked but didn’t play due to rain: Jeff Beck, (former Yardbird guitarist with unknowns, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood and Nikki Hopkins) Jethro Tull, and there are probably many more that don’t come to mind, for age related reasons, rather than substance related reasons.
It was a good thing this event preceded Woodstock because post Woodstock, municipalities put the kibosh on mega music festivals. Those who attended the Midwest Rock Festival were treated to a cornucopia of great music, great bands, future greats, and were able to go back home and sleep in their own clean beds. Even as an adventurous teenager that was just fine by me.