Music History

Yeah, Woodstock ’69 was big. But we also need to acknowledge Toronto’s Great Rock’n’Roll Revival

While much effort has been put towards remembering the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock (and we’ll no doubt be inundated with stories of the disastrous Altamont in the coming months), what about a little love for Toronto’s Rock’n’Roll Revival in September of 1969?

Gilles LeBlanc will start us off.

“Now that Woodstock’s ballyhooed 50th anniversary has mercifully passed, here is a non-brown acid flashback regarding another music festival that almost didn’t happen a month later but ended up becoming extremely memorable and noteworthy. Minus 400,000 or so additional attendees, mind you.

“I am referring to the Rock ’n’ Roll Revival, a one-off hullabalooza that took place on Saturday, September 13th, 1969 at Varsity Stadium. Up until then, the 20,000-person capacity venue was known primarily for University of Toronto athletic events and Grey Cup championship matches. But a 2-day “Pop Festival” that predated the vaunted Woodstock featuring the still-relatively unknown Band in addition to The Velvet Underground(!) set the scene for Toronto to be the saviours of rock and roll…for the first time at least.”

Read more here.

Let me add this. Lost to history is the fact that this Toronto event went a long way to the break-up of The Beatles. John Lennon was terrified of playing live in Toronto. It was first time he’s played before a large audience since 1966 and the first time ever he’s performed without his bandmates. But because things worked out so well, John realized that he didn’t need the rest of The Beatles. So when Paul quit in early 1970, John wasn’t too worried, He knew he could make it on is own.

I’ll have more about the RnR Revival as we get closer to the anniversary.

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.

Alan Cross has 37893 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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