Love Valley Rock Festival…1970

What a festival this was and what a town it still is. It happened in Love Valley North Carolina. The headliners were The Allman Brothers who at that time only had one album out and were largely unknown to the masses. This huge festival was soon known as Woodstock South.  Between 100,000-200,000 showed up.

A man named Andy Barker always wanted to live in a western town. When he was 29 years old he bought some land in 1954 and moved his family there. The land was in Iredell County and he he built the town and it was chartered in 1963. It has a saloon, hitching posts, a small church and more. No cars are allowed in town…you can walk or ride a horse through.

It’s the place for riding horses, rodeos, and hiking trails with 2000 acres to cover. The population of Love Valley is right now at 96. Through the years it seems to stay around 100.

Love Valley: The Town Where Cars Aren't Allowed, Only HorsesLove Valley, NC - Town With No Cars, Only Horses

In 1969 Andy’s daughter Tonda wanted to go to Woodstock but he thought she was too young. So he asked her and her 16 year old brother Jet Barker to organize a festive concert in Love Valley. While in college she had worked with an entertainment coordinator at college and knew the ropes. She managed to secure the Allman Brothers Band who at the time were known in the south but that is about it. They also got some more local bands to fill it out…it was a large bill. It took place Thursday July 16-18, 1970.

One interesting thing that happened was that the Hell’s Angels and Outlaws showed up to do battle with each other. According to witnesses Andy Barker stopped them and confiscated a chain and ax from each and told them there would be no trouble here. They seemed to respect this man because after that the gangs dispersed and some camped out with no reported trouble. The festival went off without any major hitch.

Tonda: “It was perfect, it was like a dream. We had worked so hard and we could finally just sit down and enjoy it.”

Andy planned to make a documentary of it but it didn’t happen. All we have to look at is some grainy footage but that grainy footage shows Duane Allman a year before At Fillmore East was released. They were finishing up their second album Idlewild South at this time. Some very nice bootlegs are out there from their multiple sets.

Along with the Allman Brothers, the line up consisted of these bands: Big Brother and the Holding Company (without Janis), Radar, Peace Core, Wet Willie, Johnny Jenkins, Tony Joe White, Hampton Grease Band, Donnydale, Catfish Freedom, Sundown, Chakra, Hot Rain, Kallabash, Warm Stone Blind, Captain John’s Fishmarket. There were over 40 bands over that weekend.

Some like Wet Willie would go on to have a few hits. Tony Joe White had a top ten hit with Polk Salad Annie the year before.

Ed Buzzell was a UPI stringer and took these photographs...they are amazing. They don’t show many bands…just the people…you feel like you are there.


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

35 thoughts on “Love Valley Rock Festival…1970”

  1. wow! A remarkable story. I’ve never heard of that festival nor the town. I’m constantly surprised when reading about bands of that era how many festivals like that there were from ’67 to about ’71…seemed like there’d be one pretty much every weekend through the warm weather months. Yet we mostly only have heard of Woodstock, Monterey, Altamont …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea…I was shocked on how many people came! That was huge…and the thing is only the Allmans, Big Brother, and Tony Joe White were known….the Allmans weren’t THAT known yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. true, and none of them were really big at that point… I think tony Joe White was only know for the one song and Big Brother without Janis Joplin I couldn’t imagine being a very big draw. (there’s one line in a show my sweetie likes that has the woman talking of her trip to Atlantic City saying ‘we had a choice of Journey without their real singer, INXS without their original singer, the Supremes without Diana Ross and strangely, James Brown Band without James Brown.” It made me laugh because it seems true!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. THAT is hilarious! It IS so true! Any seventies band you name probably has a version without the lead singer.
        The one I did want to see was Elvis’s band without him of course BUT they played to his voice…that would have been interesting.

        But yea…I guess if you are a fan of that band…like when I watched Beatlemania…you squint your eyes and go on!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It really does…I would love to visit this town…it sounds really peaceful….I can’t believe they didn’t have another festival.
      I’m doing well…hope you are also

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A real slice of musical history. I got to the drum solo that never ends and had to stop. Up until then I was in the groove! There is something about outdoor live music that makes it feel even more rejuvenating. I’ve never been to one of those huge campout kinds of venues but would love to do it at least once, as long as I have my travel trailer and easy access to a bathroom 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I would have done it when I was younger…but they weren’t like this one probably….but yea…give me a travel trailer and I could do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Iredell County. Well, damn… I wish I’d known about this place. I’m embarrassed, being a native North Carolinian. I spent some time in Iredell County. The woman that was supposed to be my roommate when I went to Driver License school in Salemburg in early 2015 was from Iredell County. I visited with her and her family several times. Her hubby is a Troutman police officer and her DMV office is in Mooresville. She went on to be a CDL Examiner in Statesville. She took me to Lake Norman.

    I was trying to figure out why she didn’t mention Love Valley and I just looked at a map. It is north of Statesville. It probably didn’t occur to her. That place is dead center between Statesville & Wilkesboro…30 minutes in either direction. As many times as I have passed by that town on US421, heading to the Blue Ridge Parkway…I had no idea. I may have even seen a Love Valley sign where NC115 crosses US421 but, just thought it was a valley like Maggie Valley. No clue…

    Cool write-up. If we had been the proper age, we would have enjoyed this…instead of being 3 & 2 1/2, respectively. It was pretty much a month before my 4th birthday. WE WERE BORN TOO LATE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes we were been born too late!
      I could only imagine the vibe around that place back then. I love those pictures the guy took.
      It looks cool now! I would not mind visiting that place one day. I think Andy Barker died just died in 2011…not too long ago. He had a dream and done it…pretty cool that the small town is still going.
      You were awful close to it! It’s pretty cool they don’t allow cars in the main strip.


      1. Wow you are right. I have a buddy who loves riding horses and he is the one that told me about the place. If we ever go I will give you a buzz!
        I would love to rent a horse and go about. As long as it’s the fattest, slowest horse they have…NO horse that runs…that would scare the hell out of me.


      2. I’m game. I had horse training in the 4th grade thru 4-H club. All the other kids went with the western saddle and my weird ass decided to be different…just to be different. I trained on an English saddle. They taught me the proper British way to hold the reins. I’ve forgotten the actual way to hold it but, it involved dropping your pinkies for some reason. Later, as a teen, there were horse farms around my county. Riding horses qualified as good first date. My date’s horse had been ridden too much that day and was tired. Once he was in the saddle, he made one round thru the pasture and the horse headed straight for the barn. The horse ducked under a 2 x 6 beam to get into it’s stall and my date had to grab onto the beam or get knocked off! LOL!

        I even remember the name of my horse from training…Roman.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is great! That horses said F this I’m going back to the house lol. Wow you were trained right…well different but right! Even with the pinkies involved.

        I’ve ridden two horses…one time the damn thing took me right into a tree and knocked my dumbass off.
        The second time…on a date…we went to a horse trail place and I told them…I want the oldest slowest horse they had. It took me 30 minutes to go through the date was done in 15…I was happy and so was the horse.


  4. That’s really a cool story, Max. Like the other folks who commented thus far, I had never heard of this festival before. The photos and the clips are cool. Only for the Allmans it would have been worthwhile to attend. And the tickets were probably less than what you pay for a beer at a concert nowadays!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yea they were cheap because most of the bands were not paid…Tony Joe White would have been cool but yea…it was the Allmans show.
      It their autobiographies most mention this festival.


  5. My father allowed a Rock Festival on his farm back in 1968 – because the terrain formed a natural amphitheatre. It was a great success apparently – I was all of 18 and don’t remember a great deal about it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that would have been really cool Bruce. I wonder if he actually made money…many didn’t because of the gate crashers.
      I didn’t know if you ever heard of Love Valley since you were around those parts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No – I hadn’t heard of Love Valley – or at least not that I remember. I recall Dad was rather pleased with the success of the Festival – even though the police descended at some stage and arrested people for drugs.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The blue meanies just has to show up! Lol.
        There were a lot of bands in New Zealand at the time… they had some really good ones. I’ve looked up a few from then.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. “Keep On Smiling”…. Yea it couldn’t have helped…you know I never stopped to think of that because I’ve heard of them all of my life….lol but you are right!


  6. I have heard about this festival all my life. My Mom met what came to be my father at this festival when they were 16. They went on to marry and have 3 kids and stayed together until my Dad died last year. Thanks Greg Allman!

    Liked by 1 person

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