Originally published in The Minneapolis Flag • Wednesday, August 6, 1969 • Featured on LedZeppelin.com.

Milwaukee hosted 10,000 heads early Friday, July 25. State Fair Park was the temporary home for the many blues-rock seekers with the whole scene aptly titled The First Annual Midwest Rock Festival. Programs advertised the giants of the Rock Scene would make it. The whole scene on Friday promised yet two more days of well-knit sets of rock styles to dig. From that evening on, Mom Nature had bad luck crippled hopes with rain, electrical trouble and general hassles.

Shag started off utilizing a police siren and two drum set-ups. Sweetwater recovered from a slow start and then had the crowd at its feet as they had done at the Labor Temple last spring. The 1st Edition bombed. SRC rolled in powerfully with a fine rendition of Beck’s Bolero. Buffy Sainte-Marie received two well-deserved standing ovations. A lot of enerty in the little woman. Pacific Gas and Electric set the mood for the evening’s crowning glory—Led Zeppelin.

Jimmy Page raced into Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You and then onto a dazzling Dazed and Confused. The final number was a twenty minute How Many More Times and the ensuing tumultous ovation led to Communications Breakdown. It was beyond belief. Friday worked like a fine watch.

State Fair Park was opened for tenting facilities to all who attended. 

Saturday had been ominously named “Blind Faith Festival Day.” Dark clouds rolled in around 3:00 P.M. Rain was responsible for the cancellation of seven local groups. However, the show went on. Shag and SRC repeated their Friday night show. MC5 came on loud and strong, Ireland’s Taste trio proved very refreshing, and the rain gushed as John Mahall took the stage. Thousands sat receptively in the cool summer rain. Mystically, the clouds parted at 9:00, everything fell into place like an act of Providence as Blind Faith played. Eric Clapton’s guitar mastery and Ginger Baker’s superb drumming pressed the crowd into frenzied enthusiasm. After the performance, Ginger Baker admitted that his twenty-minute drum solo had been the very best he had ever done. Both Blind Faith and the dazed audience agreed; it was a classic. The night was capped with Faith’s In the Presence of the Lord and a Sunshine of Your Love curtain call. Saturday had produced many surprises, good and bad, and times when the music surpassed Friday’s peak.

Unfortunately on Sunday, Jeff Beck—cancelled; Jethro Tull cancelled; Zephyr, Jim Schwall, SRC, and MC5 were all given the boot. Three empty hours passed and then the albino blues-master Johnny Winter appeared and pulled some of the hottest things out of his guitar anyone had ever heard. For an hour, he stunned everybody. He really gets it on!!

The First Midwest Rock Festival had promised the best of electric listening pleasure. Much of it was the best. Some said the Festival was doomed from the start. That, of course, must be determined in the heads of those who attended.