Midwest Woodstock: Goose Lake International Music Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary


Goose Lake International Music Festival poster

The Goose Lake International Music Festival was the Woodstock of the Midwest.

Between August 7-9, more than 200,000 people traveled from around the country to Jackson County's Leoni Township and set up shop at an otherwise unremarkable lake area where the got to hear some of the biggest name in rock 'n' roll including Jethro Tull, Chicago, Mountain, James Gang, then regional fave Bob Seger, and many more. Alice Cooper, Joe Cocker, and Savoy Brown were slated to play but did not, so the fest added The MC5 and Faces, whose singer Rod Stewart was having such a good time that the band canceled its next gig at the Fillmore East in New York and stayed in Michigan to party.

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the Goose Lake fest. It's had a lot of coverage over the years, some of which we've collected below, including two documentaries and a Nerd Nite talk on the festival. But the recent big news about Goose Lake is that Third Man Records unearthed audio from The Stooges' August 8 performance there, which was the last show by the band's original lineup, and have released it on vinyl and CD.

▶ MLive.com has a great collection of photos and articles on the festival here.

▶ "Goose Lake Music Festival’s 50th anniversary celebrates ‘Michigan’s Woodstock’" [MLive.com, August 7, 2020]

▶ "Rock legend debunked: Redemption, Goose Lake and the lost Stooge" [The Detroit News, August 6, 1970]

▶ "Goose Lake and the Stooges" photo collection [The Detroit News, August 6, 1970]

▶ "Iggy Pop on the Stooges' historic, chaotic Goose Lake festival performance" [Macomb Daily, August 2, 2020]

▶ "Remembering Goose Lake — Michigan's Woodstock— 50 years later" [The Oakland Press, August 3, 2020]

▶ This documentary is from the DVD created from an 8mm movie by Goose Lake Park owner Richard Songer.

▶ "Nerd Nite #13 - Michigan’s Woodstock: The 1970 Goose Lake International Music Festival: The Greatest Show You’ve Never Heard of" [AADL, January 6, 2015]

▶ "Goose Lake memories," written by Mark Deming, who also did the Nerd Nite talk [Metro Times, July 2, 2008]

▶ "More Fun: A soundboard recording of the original Stooges lineup's final concert is coming out on Third Man" [Pulp, June 11, 2020]

The Forgotten 70's Festival That Was Actually Bigger Than Woodstock is a mini-doc.

▶ 1970 Goose Lake Rock Festival color photos by Steve Edwards.

▶ Goose Lake International Music Festival 1970 flyover filmed in 8mm.

▶ "Goose Lake festival clicks" [Windsor Star, August 10, 1970]

▶ "Goose Lake draws 200,000 fans" [The Michigan Daily, Aug 8, 1970]

▶ Tremendous video of residents' reactions to Goose Lake music fest (spoiler: they were not happy).

▶ "Rock and Roll Dope" [Ann Arbor Sun, July 23, 1971]

▶ "Rock And Roll Re Run" [Ann Arbor Sun, August 6, 1971]

True Story: Goose Lake Festival documentary shot by JTV Studios.

▶ Videos of Goose Lake performances, in order: SRC, Mountain, a combined clip of Mountain and John Sebastian, The Stooges

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.