14 August 2003  

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, 1971, 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.

Posted by Randy at August 14, 2003 10:26 PM | TrackBack

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.


I wish I had been there.

Posted by: kelly at August 14, 2003 11:12 PM

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.

Posted by: randy at August 15, 2003 01:15 AM

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.

Posted by: Garth Danielson at August 22, 2003 02:28 PM

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

Posted by: Brian at December 16, 2003 04:59 PM

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

Posted by: Bill at February 14, 2004 04:35 PM

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.

Posted by: Geoff at August 6, 2004 11:26 AM

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.

Posted by: Kim at September 9, 2004 06:08 PM


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!..."

Posted by: Beasley at September 16, 2004 10:02 PM

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.

Posted by: randy at September 16, 2004 10:45 PM

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!

Posted by: Bob at September 21, 2004 08:35 PM

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.

Posted by: randy at September 23, 2004 10:15 PM

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.

Posted by: Dave S. at October 22, 2004 08:27 PM

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

Posted by: Blair S at January 11, 2005 02:13 PM

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.

Posted by: Susan Davis Eley at June 2, 2005 11:40 PM
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