Music History

Remembering The Police Picnic, 40 years on

Not too far from where I live now, there’s an Esso gas station in front of a field that will soon be developed into housing and condos. But in 1981, that intersection on Trafalgar Road in Oakville–then called The Grove–was the site of The Police Picnic, a New Wave-theme festival.

Starring The Police, the one-day affair also featured Killing Joke, Iggy Pop, The Go-Go’s, The Specials, Oingo Boingo, and the Payolas. The date was August 23, 1981. Attendance? About 25,000. And it all went pretty smoothly, actually.

Want to hear the Police from that day? Absolutely.

A good write-up on the ven can be found here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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2 thoughts on “Remembering The Police Picnic, 40 years on

  • Wow! That makes me feel so freakin’ old!!!!

    I wish I had gone. It’s funny to think, looking at the kids in the audience, some of them are grandparents now!!!!

  • We worked at Willy Woggs and left right after work at 3am, we didn’t realize they wouldn’t let you in the venue until 10 am. It was so freaking hot, my sister and spent most of the time sleeping under bushes. We got burned so bad, but it was worth it


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