Was Bull Island The Worst Music Festival of All Time?



Fyre Fest, Woodstock ’99, Altamont… there have been many great festival disasters over the years. But none of these come even close to 1972’s Erie Canal & Soda Pop Festival (Also known as “Bull Island.”) The lack of preparedness, the lawlessness, the desperation of the crowd; it’s like the bad-acid trip version of Woodstock where [spoiler] everything burns down. [/spoiler]

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Some of the music heard in this video:
0 : 00 — In the Hall of the Mountain King
2 : 48 — Zodiac Structures by NoMBe
6 : 53 — Washington Post by US Army Band
7 : 43 — Blues Power by Albert King
9 : 53 — Free Spirit by Birtha
14 : 41 — Firebrand by Kevin MacLeod (
17 : 48 — The Sticks by Engine Summer (

39 comments

  1. In September 1970, there was a similar incident on Fehmarn, a small island in northern Germany. It rained throughout the first two Days, a group of 180 violent bikers from Hamburg declared themselves as the security, the Kinks, Ten Years After and Procol Harum bailed last minute, and on the last day, the ticket booths and organisations headquarters went up in flames after the last band, Ton Steine Scherben, commanded the crowd to "punch the orginazisers into the ground". On a bittersweet note, the organizers had actually managed to get Jimi Hendrix, who played his last official concert there, just two weeks before his death.

    Alexis Korner, Jimi Hendrix, Canned Heat, Ginger Baker, Mungo Jerry, Sly and the Family Stone and the German bands Frumpy, Embryo, Floh De Cologne and Ton Steine Scherben were among the Line Up

  2. I was there in ‘72! It was a pretty intense long weekend. I remember thinking if something serious happens, there’s no way out. Later, someone behind me (accidentally) caught my hair on fire. 🔥 It was pretty terrifying!

  3. So my dad played college basketball in the mid 70s and he actually led his team to the finals for the first time I'm many years. He got the cover of his local newspaper and it's a picture of my dad dunking the ball in the hoop. Now this has nothing to do with this festival but if you read it, you're a real one 😀

  4. Pretty good video. Obviously John and Michael from Woodstock 99 didn't learn anything from Bull Island when it came to sanitation and trash and not enough security. But hey all the drugs you want some real some not. Wild Wild west anything goes except the bands showing up to play.

  5. Some of the same things happened at Woodstock 99 and nobody recognized the similar situation (food, water, & sanitation) from decades before…"doomed to be repeated" SMH

  6. I just can’t see a pampered millennial influencer surviving one day at a 60’s or 70’s rock festival. No toilets or running water was no problem for a hippie.

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