The Blackfoot Boogie

The Blackfoot Boogie was a huge party on the Blackfoot River featuring a line-up of many local bands. Held one Saturday each summer during the early 1970s, they were organized by Bill Stoinoff, owner of the Joint Effort, a Missoula head shop. Starting around 1970 the parties were advertised sparsely on posters that said they were to be held at the “usual place” i.e. Red Rocks in Johnsrud Park. All were held there except the last one in 1977. (1976 was skipped owing to The Rainbow People’s presence in the area that year). The 1975 event featured a dozen local bands on the east side of the river, with the audience, many of whom were nude, on the west bank.  A man would canoe attendees back and forth over the water for the price of one beer.  Cars were parked for miles down the road. The 1977 party, ostensibly celebrating the 10th anniversary of Bill’s high school graduating class for permitting purposes, was held at Harper’s Lake Fishing Access at the junction of Highways 200 and 83. Mission Mountain Wood Band was one of the acts. One could spot Bill deep in the back recesses of his big black 1947 Buick as he was chauffeured about the event. If one knew him or was just lucky, he or she would be invited inside for a ride and some – ucchhhah! – refreshments.  After the 1977 event, a permit could no longer be obtained owing to the massive size of the crowds.  In 1980, Bill hosted the last of his big parties up on the reservation near Ronan. That one was called The Full Moon Festival, and was much like the Boogies, save for the fact it was not on the Blackfoot River.

Tiny Stokes – Blackfoot Boogie-1

2 thoughts on “The Blackfoot Boogie

  1. One of the final Boogies, if memory serves, had an incident with some party participants going off the road, down a steep bank, and into the river in a VW. All were able to get out of the water and walk away but it seems like it was used by “anti boogie” folks to strengthen their case against the festival being held at all. The following Boog I think was at Harper’s. At Red Rock, near the Whitaker Bridge several miles past Johnsrud, nakedness was enjoyed by many and lots of people would walk back and forth across the river to the ‘band’ side then head back to the half naked side. Swimmers were jumping off the cliff, kids were romping about, bodies were parked and relaxed everywhere you looked, and the acoustics were sensational. Thanks, Uncle Bill. You are a Missoula icon.

  2. The 1975 Boogie was the last at Red Rocks. By then the party was getting very big, as word was spreading with each passing year. The powers that be, as always against young people having fun (and getting naked), were looking for any excuse to deny a permit. The VW incident was probably it. The 1977 “Boogie” at Harper’s Lake was permitted as a 10th high school reunion party for Bill’s graduating class. Of course, many many more people than that turned out, in violation of the terms of the permit, and so ended the Boogies in Missoula County. The Full Moon Festival in 1980 was essentially the same party as the Boogies, but was held on the Flathead Reservation in Lake County. For whatever reason, it was the last of Bill’s big parties.

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