John Lennon and Yoko Ono had flown to Toronto, Canada the previous day for the latest episode in their ongoing campaign for peace. On this day they gave a press conference at the city’s Ontario Science Center.
The conference was attended by more than 50 members of the press and broadcast media. Although Lennon and Ono outlined a range of protest ideas, none apart from the ‘War is over’ poster campaign would come to fruition.
The whole press conference lasted for 53 minutes, with the reporters unusually sympathetic towards the peace campaign.
John Lennon: We’ve come back to Canada to announce plans for a big peace and musical festival to be held at Mosport Park near Toronto on July third, fourth and fifth next year. We aim to make it the biggest music festival in history, and we’re going to be asking everybody who’s anybody to play.
We’ll try and get everyone we know to donate their time. But people will be paid for their performance and we’ll try and cream some off the top to set up a peace fund. I can just see some of the performers thinking, ‘He’s going to come and hassle us and do something for nothing.’ So, we’ve got to give them something to get them interested and to pull them away from whatever work they’re doing. We hope to take in Russia and, in fact, take it around the world.
Reporter: You’re doing it in Canada. Could it be because of its close proximity to the United States?
John Lennon: The visa, you mean? I believe I’m getting in the States anyway in February, as a Beatle, for The Beatles’ première. So I’m not that bothered about that. If they get me in, they get me in.
Reporter: You’re performing your peace campaign primarily in Canada. So, why Canada?
John Lennon: Because Canada talks to China, you know. We’re playing the political game, but we don’t know a lot of details. I know we like peace, you know. Canada’s vibes are good. We’ve been here before and had a good time.
Reporter: Where’s the money coming from for the ‘War is over’ poster campaign you’ve got now?
John Lennon: It’s coming from our pockets at the moment. But we’ve had a few offers to help. People have asked how much it is, but I don’t know. I know it’s cheaper than someone’s life. That’s the answer.
Reporter: Will The Beatles play at this festival?
John Lennon: I’ll try and hustle them. Maybe I’ll get one or two of them, or something like that. I got George on the other night for Unicef in London. So, I can’t speak for The Beatles because I’m only me. BUt if I can get them, I’ll try. I’ll even try and get Elvis.
Reporter: How’s Paul?
John Lennon: I haven’t seen him for months. He’s been on holidays. He’s in the Bahamas at the moment.
Reporter: What do you think of Bob Dylan’s comment that he doesn’t do interviews because he’s simply being used by the press for selfish reasons?
John Lennon: Well I dunno, you know. Bob’s a home loving lad at the moment.
Reporter: Do you believe in God?
John Lennon: Yes, I believe that God is like a powerhouse, like where you keep electricity, like a power station. And that he’s a supreme power and that he’s neither good nor bad, nor left, right, black or white. He just is. And that we tap that source of power and make of it what we will. Just as electricity can kill people in a chair, or you can light a room with it, I think God is.
Reporter: What, in brief, is your philosophy?
John Lennon: Peace, just no violence, and everybody grooving, if you don’t mind the word. Of course, we all have violence in us, but it must be channelled or something.
Also on this day...
- 2013: The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 is released on iTunes
- 2010: Paul McCartney live: the 100 Club, London
- 2009: Paul McCartney live: Köln Arena, Cologne
- 1969: Mixing: Plastic Ono Band live: Lyceum Ballroom, London
- 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono are interviewed by WABC-AM radio
- 1963: Radio: Saturday Club
- 1962: Television: People And Places
- 1961: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
- 1961: The Beatles’ first photo session
- 1960: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.