Labor Temple Book CoverCOSMIC TRIP: Rock Concerts at the Minneapolis Labor Temple, 1969-1970

Text by Christian A. Peterson
Poster Art by Juryj (George) Ostroushko
Published by Smart Set, Minneapolis, October 1, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-9984844-4-0

From February 1969 to November 1970, an unprecedented series of music shows was presented at a stately building in Southeast Minneapolis, known as the Labor Temple. Nearly 50 weekly dance concerts, modeled after those at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, took place in the Temple’s ballroom, which was acoustically sound and accommodated about 1,500 people.

These concerts featured leading internationally known American acts like the Grateful Dead, the Byrds, and Johnny Winter, along with English musicians such as Savoy Brown and the Jeff Beck Group. Opening bands generally were drawn from the rising tide of local musicians, such as Jokers Wild. While rock music was the main theme, other genres showcased included rhythm and blues, folk, and country. Psychedelic light shows accompanied the events, as did a hazy atmosphere of marijuana smoke.

An essential element to these concerts was the accomplished, colorful posters designed by the budding local artist Juryj Ostroushko. Aware of the San Francisco psychedelic posters, Ostroushko appropriated images from published sources, rendered his own illustrations, and hand-lettered typography that was intentionally difficult to read (to simulate the effects of recreational drugs). The posters were printed in small quantities and, as usual, stapled to telephone poles and taped inside shop windows, but rarely kept, making them scarce today.

Presently, few people know much about these concerts and their accompanying visual advertisements. Nonetheless, they form a vital chapter in the long and rich history of Minnesota music and greatly deserve recognition, documentation, and interpretation. This publication rectifies that situation, in four sections. First is an overview essay about the Labor Temple as a venue, who ran it, and the nature of its concerts. Second is information on each individual show with a reproduction of its corresponding poster (or, if one was not printed, handbill or newspaper ad). Also included is an extended interview with Ostroushko, the poster artist. And, closing the book is a handy index to the approximately 250 musicians mentioned in the text.

This softcover book measures 11 x 8 ½ inches and runs to 120 pages. It features about 100 quality reproductions, including full-page, color images of all the posters and photo-graphs of the Labor Temple, the musicians, and other related subjects. $35 each, postpaid ($50 for copies signed by Ostroushko and Peterson). Institutional orders will be shipped with an invoice. Available directly from the author: petersonachristian@gmail.com


Jeff Beck performing, March 23, 1969, Minneapolis Labor Temple