Sherwood Forest

“We are all outlaws in the eyes of America” – Jefferson Airplane

Although the repercussions from the 1970 Goose Lake International Music Festival in Jackson County had effectively ended the rock festival era in most parts of Michigan, the events did continue until 1974 in what would seem to have been the most unlikely of locations. Sherwood Forest was located in Richfield Township, just east of Flint and north of the small town of Davison. The amusement park was the brainchild of Don Sherwood, a farmer turned businessman; and the music festivals held there were organized and promoted by an enterprising disc jockey named Peter C. Cavanaugh.

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Best Albums of 2015: Two Views

Stop the presses! MRRL’s annual listing of the Best of 2015 once again features the informed and unbiased opinions of Mid-Michigan’s Dr. J and Metro Detroit’s Larry Van Cleve.

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Deb and Jo – Sweet Little Rock and Rollers

"Dear Sir or Madam will you read my book, it took me years to write will you take a look"  (Lennon/McCartney)

Saginaw teenagers Deb Harden and Jo Hintze didn't realize they would become female pioneers when they got a dream job writing a weekly column for the Saginaw News during the 1960's.  Learning on the fly, their entertaining and informative columns provided an invaluable record of the vibrant Saginaw music scene and of the national and regional rock and roll artists who appeared there from 1965 to 1968.

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Tale Of Two Michigan Pop Festivals (Bay City and Goose Lake)

“We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden” - Joni Mitchell

Michigan hosted over a dozen successful music festivals in 1969. With the images and sounds of Woodstock in the air and in the marketplace, it seemed that 1970 could be a prime year to offer more such events to rock and roll lovers across the state. But by the end of August, the festival scene in Michigan was on life support; a victim of the courts, conservative politicians, law enforcement, a fearful public, and the callousness of festival attendees. This is a tale of two of them: Goose Lake in Jackson County and Super Tuesday in Bay County.

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Bay City's 1st Michigan Pop Festival

On August 26, 1969, what was first billed as the 2nd Saginaw Pop Festival, but later changed to the 1st Michigan Pop Festival, became the biggest rock and roll event in Bay City, Michigan, up to that time. It drew an estimated 4,000 music lovers to Roll-Air on State Park Drive for a day-long show that featured some of the state’s finest bands.

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Meat Loaf a la Michigan

The singer Meat Loaf is best known for his Bat Out Of Hell album trilogy consisting of “Bat Out Of Hell”, “Bat Out Of Hell 2: Back To Hell”, and “Bat Out Of Hell 3: The Monster Is Loose”. The overwhelming success of the trilogy is the primary reason that Meat Loaf is one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, with worldwide sales of over 80 million records. He has also appeared in over 50 movies and television shows, most memorably for his role as Eddie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Many of his fans may not realize the importance that Michigan and its artists played in the early years of Meat Loaf’s career. His first recordings were done in the state, and he is represented on the MRRL Hall of Fame ballot for his work in both the Popcorn Blizzard (a.k.a. Floating Circus) and the duo of Stoney & Meatloaf. In 1999, he published Meat Loaf - To Hell and Back: An Autobiography, a humorous look at his life and career that included some priceless anecdotes about his Michigan connections.

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Bay City's Madonna Tour

Bay City is a great place to grow up and live. It is relatively quiet and safe and provides numerous recreational activities. There are a respectable number of good restaurants and bars in town, although there is a noticeable lack of live music options. Unlike many Michigan cities, the downtown area of Bay City seems pretty healthy. Sports have always played an important role in the city and there are ample opportunities for citizens from children to adults to participate in a wide variety of athletic activities. The Rail Trail and Riverwalk are stellar additions to the community that encourage a healthier lifestyle. The public school system is in fairly decent shape and the town has both a junior college and university nearby to provide higher education at a reasonable price.

The big economic news is that Uptown at River's Edge project has finally gotten off the ground.  The former 43-acre industrial site along Bay City's riverfront is now the home of Dow Corning and will soon include McLaren Bay Region, Chemical Bank, a new hotel, and a number of new restaurants and shops. It's hoped that 500 new jobs will be created, and in the words of former mayor Chris Shannon: "It's not just the jobs; it's the intangible...that, after decades of economic decline and jobs loss, this brings a level of confidence that investment in Bay City has returned." So where does Madonna fit into all of this?

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