The following article appeared on page 14 in the Globe and Mail, December 18,
Lennon plans peace festival at Mosport in July
By Blaik Kirby
After the festival had been launched at Mosport, Lennon said he hoped to take it elsewhere including Russia. "I think there's a good chance the Russians might let pop stars in."
The festival, he said, would be organized by promoter John Brower and freelance pop music writer Ritchie Yorke of Toronto, and the performers would be paid, but "we'll get some cream off the top to set up a peace fund."
Yorke said the fund would be administered by a peace council, one of whose members would be Rabbi Abraham Feinberg of Toronto. Rabbi Feinberg appeared at the press conference nattily dressed in a black and white turtleneck shirt, and carrying a black and white striped cane.
Yorke said that when the peace council decided money should be allocated to a specific project, such as Biafra, the cash would be conveyed there by a courier.
He said the state at the Mosport festival would be "the largest bed in history," capable of holding all the festival's performers simultaneously so that they could end the affair with a mass performance which would be "the ultimate in pop music."
The entire stage would be covered by a mattress, reminiscent of the bed-ins held by the Lennons in earlier peace publicity campaigns.
Lennon revealed details of the festival at a press conference attended by about 75 reporters and photographers, including some from the United States.
Those invited had to pass through two security screenings. Seven security guards and three OPP officers in plain clothes were on duty outside the lecture room at the Ontario Science Centre.
Lennon spent the first night of his week-long visit in seclusion at the Mississauga Road home of singer Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins. Yorke said he would probably be moved elsewhere because radio stations had revealed the location of the hideout.
Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were dressed wholly in black, including a large droopy hat which Mrs. Lennon refused to remove. The hour-long conference was a constant succession of clicks and whirs from the dozen of photographers present.
Lennon, looking like a rather timid priest, answered almost all of the questions. He spoke quietly and lucidly in a Liverpool accent, and none of the reporters questioned the sincerity of his peace mission.
He said that while here he would sign 5,000 lithographs which he had done, some of them erotic. He said his week-long visit would also include a visit to Montreal, where broadcaster Geoff Stirling had offered to dedicate his radio station to peace, using tape-recorded Lennon peace pleas. The tapes would be offered free to other stations.
Lennon said he hoped to set up a peace committee which would be international, but based in Canada because "we think there's some hope here."
He said his choice of Toronto as a launching site for the peace crusade had nothing to do with his hopes of gaining entry to the United States, where he was previously refused because of a conviction for possession of marijuana.
"I've given up about that," he said. "And I believe I'm getting in anyway, in February, as a Beatle." The quartet is scheduled to launch a film there at that time.
"I'm starting this in Canada because it's like...well, it talks to China, and Canada has all these vibrations. We've been here before and liked it."
"We like it 'cause you're not fightin'. You've pulled out of NATO. You're a young nation, and you're right next door to the other place.
"We think advertising is the game, the way to promote peace, and this is the way to do it. The money is coming out of my pocket at the moment. How much? It's cheaper than somebody's life.
"We don't think other people who wanted peace tried advertising. We think advertising is it: it's sell, sell, sell."
He said "of course" he would be willing to meet Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as part of his peace campaign, but felt it would be improper for him to press to do so.
He said he would not pursue his peace campaign in Biafra or Vietnam, or China, because "We don't wanta be dead saints. I'm scared of going there until I'm convinced that I'm doing better there than I am staying out of it."
Lennon also plans to set up a peace vote for all the youth of the world. The vote would be a straight choice of peace or war.
"If anyone thinks what we're doing is naive, let him do something else and if we like it we'll join him. But publicity is a game; it's a trade we've learned and we practice it.
"By the way, we also claim support of the silent majority. If we get one vote from millions of kids around the world who want peace, that's some impressive figures to wave around.
"We'll get peace as soon as people realize that they have the power, not Mr. Wilson or Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Nixon. Let's advertise to tell people they have an option. What can they do? They have the vote, haven't they?"
The only hostile note in the press conference came when a Toronto Star photographer asked the peaceful Lennon his opinion of an assault on another Star cameraman. Photographer Frank Lennon, 42, no relation, was injured after following the singer from the airport, on his arrival Tuesday.
Photographer Lennon said he suffered a cut inside his jaw, and a leg abrasion.
Lennon the singer said he did not know of the injuries suffered by Lennon the photographer.
Copyright by the Globe and Mail, December 18, 1969.