The top draw almost dropped a sour note into the plans

Reprinted with permission of The Dallas Morning News

By Russell Smith
Published 08-06-1989

"This was a progressive festival,' says Angus Wynne, one of the chief organizers of the Texas International Pop Festival. "We put it together on the run, and it came off on the run.'

The festival's top draw, Led Zeppelin, almost dropped it in its tracks.

The band's management, it seems, had neglected to inform the band that it was scheduled to perform at the festival during what was supposed to have been vacation time. When Led Zeppelin took the stage for a Dallas concert a month or so earlier, the musicians still hadn't been told.

"Right after the first number,' says Mr. Wynne, "Robert Plant (the lead singer) comes up to the microphone. He says, "Anybody ever hear of the Texas International Pop Festival?' Everybody goes "Yeahh!' There's this deafening roar in the place.

"Then he says, "Well, we just got to town today, and we seen our names plastered all over billboards and fliers, and I want to tell you that we've never heard of the Texas International Pop Festival. They're trying to rip you off. Don't buy tickets; don't go to the thing. It's a total . . . (expletive) ripoff.'

"Of course, we're sitting out there having heart attacks,' says Mr. Wynne, who can laugh now but was downright unfriendly when he located the undependable road manager responsible for the fiasco -- who, at the time, was "entertaining a young lady in a limousine inside the building.'

Accompanied by some burly associates, Mr. Wynne banged on the tinted limo windows. Then they began rocking the car until "it looked like it was gonna tip over.'

Out popped the road manager, who was sufficiently moved to finally apprise Mr. Plant of the situation backstage during a long instrumental break.

"Plant turns around and grabs him and starts shaking him back and forth, like a rag doll,' says Mr. Wynne. "Plant gets back up to the mike after the number is through and says, "Say, you know that festival we were just talking about? Well, our sniveling, slimy little road manager didn't tell us this, but we're definitely gonna play there, and we're sorry about what we said, so come on out.' '

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