Originally published in the Milwaukee Journal • Monday, July 28, 1969
Declaring that they three day Midwest Rock festival “would have made Haight-Ashbury blush,” Assemblyman Robert T. Huber (D-West Allis) said Monday he would present complaints from his constituents to state fair officials.
In a statement, Huber compared state fair park, where the festival was held, with Haight-Ashbury, area of the San Francisco hippie community, and accused Vernon G. Wendland, state fair administrator, of allowing the park to become a pigsty.
Huber arranged a meeting with Wendland’s boss, Douglas G. Weiford, head of the state department of local affairs and development, at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the conference room of West Allis Mayor Arnold H. Klentz.
Chief to Attend
Huber said Weiford would invite Wendland and Werner J. Schaefer, chairman of the state exposition advisory council. He said West Allis Police Chief Louis Reinsch also would attend.
Huber said Reinsch put West Allis police on weekend alert because he was concerned about what might happen. Reinsch told Huber that he had not been told that the festival would be held and found out about it when policemen “found hippies in sleeping bags lying just anyplace” in West Allis.
West Allis police are responsible for maintaining order around the fairground, but the fairground has its own police for.
Huber said the “goings-on at the tents on the grounds almost bordered on a semi-orgy situation. The boys and girls were anything but discreet.”
6 Taken to Hospital
Six youths at the festival were taken to county general hospital Friday and Saturday, apparently suffering the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. Detective Lt. Terry Roundy of the state fair police said informants had told authorities that an especially potent form of LSD was circulating in the crowd.
Huber accused Wendland of “grinding state fair park into a sty to get the fair moved” from its present location. Relocating the fairground has been under discussion for years.
Huber said one constituent said she was asked by a spokesman at a fairground office that if she did not like the situation, “Why don’t you help us move the fair?” Huber said Wendland allowed youths to sleep on the grounds in sleeping bags.
Youths, who bought food at a bakery in the 8300 block of W. Greenfield av., threw bags and leftovers on the street, he said. Because “Wendland allowed the promoter to charge $1 to enter the fairground, people parked on Greenfield av. — even overnight,” Huber said.
Wend land labeled Huber’s charges ridiculous but said he did not want to “get into an editorial argument.”
He said the arrangements for the rock festival were “no different than normal contractual procedures for other events” and set no precedent in the area.
Other rock events have been held at the Arena and Stadium, he said, and the Midwest Rock Festival at Camp Randall stadium at Camp Randall stadium, Madison.
A review of Sunday’s rock festival performance is on page 11.