Explo ‘72 took over downtown Dallas from June 12-17, 1972. It was “an evangelistic conference sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ” and “the most visible event of the 1970s Jesus movement,” says the Wikipedia entry.:
Explo ‘72 was held in various locations in Dallas and included a nightly event at the Cotton Bowl. Explo’s classes, seminars and concerts were aimed at encouraging high school and college students toward personal evangelism and a career in Christian service.
Evangelist Billy Graham spoke on six different occasions during Explo, which included a final, public, eight-hour-long Christian music festival. Dubbed “The Christian Woodstock,” the music event drew between 100,000 to 200,000 attendees. Featured artists were Love Song, Larry Norman, Randy Matthews, The Archers, Children of the Day, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson.
The festival was held on open land just north of downtown Dallas. The concert site was lost to excavation for the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, which today links I-35 and US 75 (Central Expressway).
Explo was criticized by some conservative Christians for its ecumenical approach and use of rock music; Newsweek described the attendees as “militant Christians.” In attendance were a few Jesus movement fringe groups, such as Children of God and the Christian World Liberation Front.
Read more about Explo ‘72’s impact and about Christian music festivals in the U.S. here on Wikipedia.
1. At the now-Woodall Rodgers Freeway site on June 16. Taken by staff photographer Larry Reese.
2. An aerial of Explo ‘72 the now-Woodall Rodgers Freeway site.
3. Attendees’ clothes drying on somebody’s Volkswagen at an Explo ‘72 campsite.
4. The caption in our archive for this photo, taken by staff photographer Jack Beers: “A vacant field near Arlington exploded into a tent city Tuesday with the arrival of another wave of delegates to Explo ‘72, the young peoples’ evangelical training session in Dallas this week. Jacki Stalley (above) of Hopkins, MN, dries out clothes after a Monday night rain.”
5. The caption in our archive for this photo, taken by staff photographer Clint Grant: “Joe Johnson, 17, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, leads an impromtu Explo ‘72 song fest late Tuesday afternoon from atop a Fair Park Automobile Building ledge.”