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50th Anniversary of Wadena Rock Festival

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Iowa’s version of Woodstock.

The Wadena Rock Festival took place in a farm field west of Wadena in Fayette County July 31st through August 2nd of 1970. Some of the musical acts included The Doobie Brothers, Little Richard, REO Speedwagon, The Everly Brothers and The Youngbloods.

Around 40,000 people attended the festival, which was originally planned for Galena, Illinois. The festival was moved to farmland west of Wadena when Galena locals opposed the event.

As the stages were being built, Iowa Attorney General Richard Turner filed an injunction to stop the show – but two days later, Governor Robert Ray lifted the ban and made an onstage appearance, telling attendees to “have a good time” and “behave like ladies and gentlemen”.


photo courtesy of Wadena Rock Festival Facebook page


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