The Ides of March – The Man-Pop Festival

:: When I was in high school some 32 years ago, I played lead guitar in a rock band called Ram. (The Paul McCartney album of the same name appeared some months afterwards, btw.) We were an eleven-piece band: bass, drums, 2 lead singers, 2 guitarists, Hammond organ, and saxophone, trombone and two trumpets. The first song we learned to play was “Vehicle“, by the Chicago-based group, The Ides of March. Now Rhino Handmade has issued “The Ides Of March – Friendly Strangers: The Warner Bros. Recordings“, a limited edition release of 2,500 numbered copies.

From the above web site are these words: The Ides spent most of 1970 on the road, opening for Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, and Iron Butterfly (one entertainment headline read “Ides Of March Steal The Show” after an off night for Zeppelin). I can report that I saw The Ides of March play on that tour, sans Joplin, but with The Youngbloods, led by Jesse Colin Young, on August 29, 1970, in Winnipeg, at what was called the Man-Pop Festival.

The festival began in the Winnipeg Stadium earlier that day, but rain forced 18,000 of us into the Winnipeg Arena – a decision made behind the scenes so as to allow the concert to continue. Imagine the sound technicians having to move the equipment in the rain from the stadium into the arena on a few minutes notice! I still am in awe of how they did it. I was 18 at the time. I can’t remember how it was that we didn’t trample each other trying to get into the arena. I remember ending up sitting in a chair on the arena floor, watching (in order): The Youngbloods, The Ides of March, Iron Butterfly, and Led Zeppelin. Tickets were $5.50, and if we turned in a receipt or something, we got a dollar back.

I don’t remember much about the show. I recall that after moving into the arena, The Youngbloods almost put the audience to sleep. Remember: “C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another, right now.. ” A great tune, but gentle country rock wasn’t what we needed right then and there. The Ides followed, and rocked out the arena. I remember Led Zeppelin coming on around 2:00 am, opening with “Immigrant Song” (which no one knew, as their third album had yet to appear), and moving right into “Heartbreaker“, which we all knew at that time – a big FM hit from LZ II.

When the show was over, around 4:00 am, we left the arena, not sure how we’d get home, only to find dozens of Winnipeg Transit buses waiting to take us home.

32 Responses to “The Ides of March – The Man-Pop Festival”

  1. kelly Says:

    I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but I’m almost CERTAIN my dad drove from Thunder Bay to be at that show.

    AWESOME.

    I wish I had been there.

  2. randy Says:

    Kel: I wouldn’t be surprised if he was there. I met a woman in the mid-90s, and last year we were talking about the show, and she told me she had attended as well. Small world.

  3. Garth Danielson Says:

    I was there too, and remember that the Ides did blow Zepplin off of the stage. It’s unfortunate that their albums were never quite so great. I did have some of them until I left Winnipeg. I can’t remember if I did ever tape a copy of any of those albums, not having looked at any of the tapes in more than a decade. There was anear riot and several of the glass doors were kicked in just after I got into the building.

    I thought that that concert was in 1970 for the Manitoba centiennial, or was that 1971. I might have a flier burried in the house some where but finding it might be a trick.

  4. Brian Says:

    Did anyone tape record that Led Zeppelin show in Winnipeg back then?
    Please e mail me!
    Brian, bcledfoot@aol.com Thanks

  5. Bill Says:

    Hello
    I was at the Man-Pop Festival when I was 16.
    The concert was in 1970 and I travel by Greyhound bus from Red Rock Ont.Also on the bill was Chilliwack but unfortually I miss most of the acts. When it started to rain I left and went downtown Winnipeg and found out the next day that they move the venue to the arena. I got to see a few local bands but miss all the headliners.I still regret the I didn’t see Led Zeppelin.My lost but that’s life

  6. Geoff Says:

    I still have my ticket stub for Manpop. I wonder what I could get for it on ebay? 😉 It was an awesome day, with a lot of local and obscure talent hitting the stage before the rain moved everything inside. Just as a bit of a footnote, a rumour I heard later was that Led Zepp was pissed that a lot of their equipment was damaged in the rain and they had refused to play. The rumour goes on that Dianne Heatherington, who was the lead singer for the local band “The Merry-go-round” … ~convinced~ the band to go on with borrowed equipment (how she did this convincing is best left to the imagination). This is possibly true, because their sound was very crappy compared to the Ides of March. Oh well, true or not it makes for some interesting history.

  7. Kim Says:

    I was at that concert too. I was 14 at the time. I’ve been trying to remember all the bands I saw. I did remember Chilliwack, Led Zepplin and Iron Butterfly. I met my first boyfriend at that concert. I remember there were people filming, I’d love to know what ever happened to that film. Dianne Heatherington was one of my favourite singers. Did you know she died of cancer. Does anyone remember Jr. Barnes and the Cadillacs. They used to play at the U of M all the time.

  8. Beasley Says:

    Kim.

    We must be from the same vintage. I used to see Jr. Barnes all the time at the U of M and the Windsorian.

    “Junior Barnes, Junior Barnes, Junior Barnes, Junior Barnes. Barnes power! Barnes power! Barnes power! Barnes power!…”

  9. randy Says:

    Hi Kim. Very cool that you were at the show as well. My brother used to watch Jr Barnes quite a bit, as you can see from his note.

    Do you remember when the show ended, and we all left the Wpg Arena, that all the buses were parked outside waiting to take everyone home?

    There is a nice tribute page to Diane Hetherington here.

  10. Bob Says:

    Does anyone else remember that the PA was so bad for Zeppelin that during Dazed and Confused, Robert Plant changed the words from “Every day I work so hard to bring home my hard earned pay, Tried to love you baby but you pushed me away” to Every day …, Saved all my money gonna buy a me new PA” ? Great stuff!

  11. randy Says:

    Hello Bob. I confess I don’t remember that. What really drives me nuts is that, I do remember that someone I knew who went to the show snuck in a cassette recorded, and recorded the Zeppelin set. Damned if I know what he was, and where the tape resides now, if anywhere.

  12. Dave S. Says:

    Hi Randy,

    Yes that day was a day to remember, sipping Southern Comfort to warm up as Chilliwack sang Ranio, and Diane Hetherington conviced Led Zepplin to play.

    I guess that day will stay in everyone’s mind as a day they will never forget.

  13. Blair S Says:

    Interesting to find this site. I to was at Man-pop. As the saying goes, if you remember it, you weren’t there. Guess that’s why I remember so little of it. I do remember Chilliwack, Iron Butterfly and Led Zepplin. I also remember in typical festival fashion meeting a girl, and sharing a sleeping bag when it started to rain. Much remains clouded, but reading previous comments did stir memories. Thanks

  14. Susan Davis Eley Says:

    While trying to track down some old friends in Canada, I came across the news that Dianne Heatherington had died. I am stunned. She was so full of life. I knew her more than 20 years ago…. I guess time changes a lot of
    things. It’s very sad — she was a bundle of talent and energy.

  15. Mike Borch Says:

    Just found this site! Thanks for the memories about the Man-Pop Festival. I believe it was put on by the Province of Manitoba as a bi-centennial festival. I am the drummer with The Ides of March, and that night was unforgettable for us. “Vehicle” was a quick hit in the US and Canada, and we were thrilled to be playing with the likes of Zep, Iron Butterfly, and, yes, the Youngbloods. Somehow, we soared that night, and went places musically in the jam sections that we hadn’t been before.
    The band is still intact with all the original members in 2005, after reuniting for a concert in our home town in 1990. Before that, Jim Peterik, who wrote Vehicle, formed the group Survivor and co-wrote all their music, including “Eye of the Tiger” the song used in the movie Rocky 3. You can check us out, 35 years after you saw us back then, at our website,
    http://WWW.THE IDES OF MARCH.COM.

  16. Sandy Spencer Says:

    How cool to read all the comments from others that were there. It’s true, if you remember it, you probably weren’t there but in this case, I do remember………..Am I wrong or wasn’t there a problem getting Led Zeppelin to come on stage? Rumour at the time was that they were worried about the stage set up (put together with little notice after the concert moved inside to the arena) and the fact they were on the floor very close to the audience. However, I do remember the sound was not good so maybe they did have equipment problems. I also remember Chilliwack (they rocked) and the wet,wet weather that forced us inside. I just followed the crowd, someone took me by the hand and I was inside at this intimate event. Very cool! Iron Butterfly was predictable, In A gadda A Vida is a rock classic, and the Ides of March were great. And yes, I remember the buses waiting for us. It was all surreal and yet felt natural. I had just arrived in Winnipeg and was ‘grooving”. Thanks everyone for remembering!!!!

  17. randy Says:

    Sandy: Thanks for your note, and everything you wrote was correct. Led Zep didn’t appear on stage until around 2:00 am, if memory serves. Rumour was always that Diane Heatherington had to convince them to play. I ended up on the floor with a girl I didn’t know (hey, I wasn’t complaining!) ;-), and don’t remember too much else about the show. I do remember that someone snuck in a tape recorder, and do remember hearing the tape some time afterwards, but who knows where it ended up!

    Great memories, to be sure!

  18. Bob Says:

    Today (March 26th, 2006) the (Old Barn) Winnipeg Arena that sheltered us all that fuzzy night in 1970 was torn down, I’ll miss it. That night of Man Pop will continue to be one of the most memorable nights of the Old Barn (other than the old Schmocky Nights)!

    I understand that now it’s flat, the site is going to be another of temple of retail worship (Mall)……..Tears.

  19. Robert Eaton Says:

    Does anyone no if you can get a copy of the” Dianne “show cbc 1971?
    Dianne Heatherington was the host and Brave Belt performed on it .
    Thanks
    Bob

  20. Harry Derkach Says:

    I was there, on the floor, wearing a wet jacket full of “Patch” incense,sitting in front,trying not to piss my pants ’cause I didn’t want to get separated from my friends or miss Zep’s first song. Then I thought “Fuck It” and ran to the can,pissed a gallon and pushed my way back to the front of the wet crowd and didn’t miss a note. It was great. I haven’t forgotten. We had to climb the school type fence out of the stadium, across the parking lot and into the Arena. What a day…H

  21. Randy. H Says:

    My sister Diane convinced Zeppelin to go out and play or they would be labelled and never forgiven for not playing. I think there was a certain amount of humiliation in the conversation. Humiliation towards Led Zeppelin. Twisting his arm and telling them what Winnipeg was all about and to do the right thing.
    Its pouring out and they’re soaked to the bone. This is the biggest thing to hit this town. Don’t let them down. I’m sure it was loaded with alot of bitching and swearing with a load of kindness thrown in. She was an amazing woman,sister and entertainer and I miss her.

  22. Randy. H Says:

    This is for Robert Eaton.
    The CBC in their great wisdom only kept 2 of her TV shows, from the “Dianne” series,1971 and neither of them have the band Brave Belt on them.
    Sorry !!!!

  23. Don Says:

    I was fifteen years old, hungover and about to be grounded, but my mom let me go to the concert (grounding afterwards). I arrived too late for the stadium acts but managed to get into the arena.

    The dollar back was a centenial silver dollar. The concert had been put on by the provincial government as a centenial event for the young people of Manitoba. Maitland Steinkoff (I am not certain of the spelling), iirc, who passed away not long after was the driving force for the concert happening.

    Ides of March did steal the show. The Youngbloods were a little too insipid but Iron Butterfly was down right dull.

    The rumours that went around suggested the Guess Who had provided the sound system that was used. Whether this was true or not, idk.

    I suspect the buses were provided to prevent having thousands of kids wandering the streets of Winnipeg at 4 am.

    btw… you may not remember me but we met at Keycon in 1988. Also at your convention in Edmonton shortly after when you had the Delints as guests.

  24. paul ceasrine Says:

    Hello Man-Pop Festival fans,
    I was there as an assistant for Atlantic Records promo man Johnny Lamm, working as a recording engineer. We followed Zeppelin wherever they went in North America. Yes we recorded
    several of the bands there with a TEAC reel-to-reel. The overall recording is fair, as the PA
    system inside the arena flat out sucked. I have the original tape, because nobody at Atlantic asked me for the tape, because the sound within the arena was poor, and Zeppelin who came on early in the morning were not at there best. Whether Ms. Herrington convinced the band to go on may be a mystery. We heard that Peter Grant (Zep’s manager) demanded an additional $4000 for the band to go on. He supposedly ripped the promoters for putting together a half-ass show. Zeppelin was scheduled to go on at 10:00 PM in the stadium, but was re-scheduled to 2:00 AM in the arena. We were told he wanted $1000 for every hour they were put on hold. Anyway, Johnny Lamm told me
    to record anything and everything. I’ve got it all, Ides of March with their awesome performance,
    Iron Butterfly with their incredibly dull set, and Zeppelins shaky performance, blamed on the
    PA system. Truth beknown, Zeppelin got $25,000 for the show, plus an additional $2000 for pain and suffering. Iron Butterfly (second billing band) got $8000. Iron Butterfly’s road manager Lou West
    tried to squeeze additional money from the promoters when he found out Zeppelin was getting some extra cash. He was told take it or leave it by the promoters attorney at the arena. When he
    threatened that they wouldn’t go on, the attorney called Butterfly’s manager Charlie Green in
    San Diego and told him not to pull they same crap as they did for the Woodstock event. Needless to say, Butterfly went on with the same tired set.

    Paul C.

  25. paul ceasrine Says:

    I was there, recording Butterfly and Zeppelin for Atlantic Records. Johnny Lamm the head of Atlantic promo hired us out of New York.
    The taped event was never given to Atlantic, because no one asked us for the tape, because the
    sound system was so bad. Our company at the time, On The Move Sound, was paid $650 to record that event.

    I still have the tapes.

    Paul C

  26. jack floyd Says:

    I too being 15 at the time remember the outdoor , then rain and a rush to the doors of the arena.We needed our ticket stub but everyone ran and luckily someone inside released the doors and we all poured in. I recall that a girl beside me during the outdoor gave me her beauty buckskin jacket tassles and all as it started to rain and we had a pc of plastic, when the rush started i totally lost her and returned home after the concert with the jacket. I recall the whole thing fondly as it was the summer and my friend and I were hitch hicking to B.C. with a stop in Winnipeg, All the while against my parents will, times were great then.

  27. peter durie Says:

    I was 17 yrs. old at the time. I remember some one allowed me to shoot him up with some seven-up, i did a good job and he thanked me. Seven-up rushes, anybody remember them? I remember smoking some Hash and dropping some kind of pills, which made for a lot of “trails”. I had fun, I went with my best friend’s girlfriend. We ended up inside the arena, about 20 feet from the stage, I don’t know how we did it!

  28. Barry Carr Says:

    I was at Manpop as well. In fact I was the drummer from one of the local bands that played outdoors earlier before the rains came.

    The outdoor sound system (provided by Kelly Deyong Sound) was completely trashed and unuseable. The sound system that was eventually set up in the arena was a combination of the Guess Who’s touring system, plus gear from many of the local bands including my band.

    When the decision was made to move indoors, the graet people from Garnet Amplifiers and many of the local musicians and roadies performed what I look back on today as being a next to impossible feat. The gear was not designed to do what it did but it somehow “did it”. There was no planning and no time to get it put together properly, but it worked remarkably well considering the odds.

    I was working hard as were many to ensure that the headline acts got to perform to a great audience. Being front row centre and witnessing acts like Zep was incredible and I will never forget it.

  29. Randy Reichardt Says:

    Barry: Thanks for your comment. With which band were you drumming that day? When I think of the logistics involving moving thousands of fans into the Winnipeg Arena as well as setting up another sound system in there and convincing the bands to play, it boggles my mind. Describing the task as “next to impossible” doesn’t do it justice!

    It was a night to remember for all of us.

  30. Trish Lewis Says:

    I was 11 then and lived right on the border in Minnesota near Pembina, ND too young to go to concert, and only an hour away! Paul Ceasrine, I went to link you gave here and it’s a website but nothing clear on how to contact you. I would DEARLY love to get a copy of the recording you have of the concert. Please contact me if you see this. If anyone reading this knows how to get ahold of Paul, please let me know. My email is trishymouse@gmail.com THANKS!

  31. Randy Says:

    Trish: Thanks for your comment. I tried reaching Paul when he first posted here, and at the time he said he’d get a copy of the show to me, but then I lost contact with him. Pity, because it would be so great to hear it again.

    I checked your blog, and see that you live in TRF, in addition to having lived in Pembina. My great aunt, Blanche, and her husband, George, lived in Pembina for decades, and my Dad’s sister and her husband and her family moved from Winnipeg to TRF in the mid-50s. They have both passed, but two of my cousins are still in the TRF area. Small world, isn’t it?

  32. Moe Hogue Says:

    We should have held a reunion in August 2010 on the 40th anniversary right there on the site of the old arena.

    I was there in the thick of it from day one. The Manitoba Centennial Corporation hired a group of us from out of the Get Together Winnipeg Street Festival organization to organize ManPop. We did not include the rain in our plans.

    Little known fact was the stadium site was extremely wet already from rains and the Winnipeg Whips doubleheader on the set-up night went way longer than anticipated. That left the crew behind and then with the ground already soaked, the front end loader from the arena which was transporting the flat pieces of the indoor track started getting stuck. Next thing you know we were hand-carrying the track pieces from the street basically to the stage. We got behind because of that, and there was no time to get the cover over the sound towers. I don’t think there ever was a plan for a “roof”. But it wouldn’t have mattered — the rain was so torrential and coming in almost flat, that everything and everyone got soaked.

    What happened inside was one of those things that happens only in Winnipeg: people coming together to patchwork a sound system (most of the bands travelled with their own backline back then, but none had PA systems.)

    I was the one who stepped up to the microphone and said “welcome to ManPop part 2”. I was also the one who was trying to convince the Youngbloods to wrap up their way too long set. First they didn’t want to play without getting their money. Then we convinced them to go on. Then they decided they wouldn’t come off until they got paid. I ended up giving them a personal cheque from Maitland Steinkopf, the boss of it all.

    I loved the jolt of The Ides of March. Talk about a band being truly pumped up to play.

    It was a surreal weekend. There was a fog/haze/smoke/wet-body mist hanging over the arena floor. People were fantastic. The first few hundred
    sitting on the floor were probably mostly kids who kept trying to sneak over the fence at the south end of the stadium. But it was all cool. You had to have been there to appreciate what really happened in that 40 hours of weirdness and music.

    Bruce Rathbone wrote a piece in the Winnipeg Free Press about it in 2010. You might find it in the FP archives.

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