As we learned last month…
John VanHaver fell into some financial difficulties causing him to rethink his dreams of a Renaissance castle. He eventually decided to put the Castle up for sale in 1969, which led Arthur and Erwina Reibel to become the third owners. They re-named the property Castle Farms.
The Reibels originally purchased the property with the intent of founding a riding horse academy because of Erwina’s love for horses. A riding stable was established, but new plans evolved which included a theater and tavern and eventually an outdoor concert site.
As rock music became increasingly popular, it didn’t take long for Castle Farms to earn a name as a premier rock concert venue. A fifty-foot wide, covered concrete and steel stage greeted concert-goers as they proceeded through a large fenced-in area with security guards keeping a watchful eye.
After a few years, a grassy earth mound nearly twenty five feet high was built near the road to enclose the view of the stage. Two wings of The Castle were removed to accommodate larger crowds and reserved seating was installed in the form of wooden benches. Fans with general admission tickets sat on lawn chairs or blankets. Huge amps and immense light towers lit the night sky.
For the next two decades, big name acts like Aerosmith, Tina Turner, Ozzy Osbourne, and the Doobie Brothers performed before crowds of up to seventeen thousand people. Rock fans were thrilled not having to make the trek five hours south to Detroit or other far-away venues to hear their favorite groups perform.
If the Castle Farms Music Theater was doing so well, why did it close? Find out next month!