Close to 120,000 people converged on Pocono International Raceway, Long Pond, on a Saturday, July 8, 1972 not for fast cars but for rock ‘n’ roll.
Called Concert 10, the day of rock featured acts such as Three Dog Night; Faces with Rod Stewart; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Humble Pie; the J. Geils Band; Cactus; Edgar Winter; Mother Night; Clare Hamill; Ramatam and Bullangus.
The audience started arriving July 6, and by the afternoon of July 8, state police reported that traffic was backed up all the way to Delaware Water Gap. Some concertgoers using Route 115 to get to the show abandoned their vehicles and walked to the racetrack because of the traffic congestion.
The concert started with sets from Claire Hamill, Mother Night, Cactus, Ramatam and Edgar Winter. When the music started, so did the rain.
The music and rain continued. At night, concert organizers paused the show because of the precipitation. It started back up at 4 a.m. with Emerson, Lake & Palmer taking the stage. Next came Faces with Rod Stewart, Humble Pie, J. Geils Band and Three Dog Night, with the music finishing at 8:30 a.m. the next day.
Despite the large number of people attending, the concert stayed pretty peaceful. On-site medical staff reported treating 15 people for bumps and scrapes. The state police only arrested one person, on a charge of malicious mischief. The individual smashed a window with a rock at the nearby state police substation in Fern Ridge. However, Dennis Ferment, 17, of Wallington, New Jersey, died in a traffic accident on Interstate 80 while trying to reach the concert on July 7.
The audience did leave behind a lot of trash once the concert ended Sunday morning. One-hundred Boy Scouts worked alongside maintenance workers to clean the racetrack. A spokesperson for Pocono Raceway said some concert-goers stayed to clean up as well and that the racetrack gave them money for a ride or food for their help.
Bernard Ruttenberg, one of Concert 10’s promoters, reported that they sold 100,000 tickets to the show.
“This looks like the first rock concert that worked,” he told The Scranton Times.
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Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast