Jeff Lujin’s big day is almost here.
His documentary movie, “The Story of the Ozark Mountain Festival: Three Days of Sodom and Gomorrah in Sedalia, Mo.,” will make its premiere in Sedalia this Saturday, telling the story of a music festival held 40 years ago this month. There was sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll – plenty of each, by all accounts – and some things got out of hand.
Lujin, who lives in Independence, is originally from Sedalia, and he’s always had a fascination with the festival. He’s interviewed more than 140 people and has been rounding up artifacts and footage and putting the movie together for six years. This week, the logistics are about projectors and popcorn machines.
Now, at the big moment, how does all that feel?
“I don’t know. ... Ask me when it’s over,” he said Tuesday.
Lujin said about 350 people are expected at each of the two showings Saturday night. Those are at 7 and 9 p.m. at Convention Hall in Liberty Park. There’s a question-and-answer time with Lujin and promoter Chris Fritz after the first one.
After the Sedalia premiere, Lujin would like to show the film here.
“We’re planning on it,” he said.
It’s a colorful story, and in some quarters there are hard feelings to this day. The event at the Missouri State Fairgrounds drew at least 200,000 people who came to see Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Eagles, Joe Walsh, Bob Seger, REO Speedwagon and others.
Problems abounded. It was 100 degrees each day. There were only four portable-potties. Water was cut off for half a day. There was some violence, with injuries, and there was one drug overdose death. The community was greatly in fear of what was going on, and some of the mayhem spilled beyond the fairgrounds into neighborhoods.
Lujin said people buying tickets for this weekend have come from many places around the country.
“We’ve got some younger people wanting to see what transpired,” he said.
The title – the “Sodom and Gomorrah” part, meant to be ironic – has caused a few negative reactions, but overall the reception has been very good, he said.
Some people, he said, take the movie in the context of the times: It’s a few years after Woodstock, America has pulled out of Vietnam, and it’s the summer that President Nixon resigned. (The Eagles played “Already Gone” and changed some of the lyrics to mention Nixon.)
But those are not the parts Lujin has tried to highlight.
“This thing holds together in its own little world,” he said.