(click on the pictures to enlarge...)

In 1970...

three young Germans had a dream: Helmut Ferdinand (33, engineer), Christian Berthold ( 28, innkeeper) and Tim Sievers (30, student) planned a European answer to the legendary Woodstock festival. Inspired by the Isle of Wight , they liked the idea of having the festival on an island, which quickly led to the isle of Fehmarn, a well connected small island between Germany and Denmark.
Hoping to engage artists directly after these had appeared at the Isle of Wight festival, the date for the LOVE & PEACE OPEN AIR was set for 4th-6th of September, 1970. The Fehmarn-Festival GmbH was founded to prepare a festival featuring 30 to 40 bands, including international top-acts, and expecting an audience of about 60.000 people. The german sex shop pioneer Beate Uhse sponsored the Fehmarn Festival GmbH with 200.000 German Marks in advance, and offered the use of her 20 german sex shops as additional ticket sale offices.

Helmut Ferdinand, one of the organizers
Beate Uhse among the visitors

While inspecting the Isle of Fehmarn, a suitable area was found: On so-called Flueggerstrand, the organizers rented a 50-ha-meadow belonging to a farmer Mr. Störtenbecker, near to the Fluegger lighthouse as well as the 55 available toilets of a nearby camping place. 100 additional mobile toilets were installed.
A school in nearby Puttgarden was planned to become a temporary hospital with 140 beds. Places to sleep for 4000 people were to be built

The artists, their crews and members of the press were to stay at the Hotel Dania in Puttgarden, close to the train station and the harbour.
Hotel Dania in Puttgarden

After failing to secure a contract with the big german food company Dr. Oetker about the whole catering for the festival, breweries and dairies from the surroundings were planned to cover the beverages and The German Red Cross was asked to provide a mobile canteen kitchen for the warm meals. Two fences were built around the festival area and a few telephone boxes were installed.
For 30,000 DM, the organizers rented a gigantic sound system from England , 150 phons coming from 32 speakers. A 10 x 20 m rotary stage was supposed to avoid longer pauses between acts. The festival management resided in two containers approximately 500 metres away from the stage.

building the from September 1st, 1970

setting up the sound system
the first visitors

Ten psychedelically painted minibuses started from Kiel to distribute more than 100.000 posters, stickers and festival newspapers everywhere in central Europe and in Scandinavia. International top-acts such as Ginger Baker´s Airforce, Canned Heat, Sly and the Family Stone, Ten Years After, Procol Harum, Keef Hartley, Rod Stewart and Jimi Hendrix were announced to attract rock fans and hippies from all over Europe.

announced acts
festival brochure


press tickets


festival newspaper

In the meantime, the costs of the enterprise had increased past the 500.000 DM mark, while a total of 600 ticket centers had only managed to sell 10.000 tickets, 12 DM each.... Getting these news, some artists like John Mayall and Joan Baez cancelled their performances. Nevertheless, hopes of the organizers rested on Hendrix, most of all probably, because they had already paid him. Hendrix´management had negotiated a fee of 70,000 DM as well as "special treatment ", a Mercedes transfer from hotel to festival and a caravan on the festival area. At that time, Jimi Hendrix was at the height of his popularity in Germany and the Woodstock movie had just hit the cinemas.

On September, 2nd, island authorities and all other organisations involved inspected the festival area and complained about considerable mismanagement: The waste disposal was not regulated, the protection of dykes and streets was not guaranteed. The payment of the 300 co-workers had not been properly negotiated yet. Adding up to this, news came from Isle of Wight, where hooligans had almost ruined the festival. It was feared that the Fehmarn Festival might attract a lot of hooligans as well. Which it eventually did.

On September, 3rd, approximately 4000 music fans populated the area as the festival facilities officially opened. During the night into the 4th of September, the wind increased and it started to rain. Also during this night, about 180 rockers of the "Bloody Devils" (later to become a chapter of the german Hells Angels) from Hamburg were on their way from Hamburg to Fehmarn. In Germersdorf, the rockers forced the local gas station to supply them with free tank fillings, and in the village of Petersdorf, they got into a fight with Persian students, originally enganged as security, and hippies, which left four Persians injured by stabs.
Most probably by the construction of a menace scenario or direct violence the bikers managed to be engaged by the festival management as a replacement for the Persian security. This is where the Fehmarn Love & Peace Open Air ultimately turned into chaos.

crowd before opening of festival
traffic chaos in Sulsdorf