1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival

1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival

1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival

July 4 and 5
Atlanta International Raceway, Hampton GA
1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival
View of the stage from the side. Like most festivals of 1969, there was only one stage.
1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival

1969 Festival #21

We are more than a month away from THE Woodstock festival and are already up to the year’s 21s festival.

The 1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival was mainly a success. No riots. No rain, but 100o temperatures. Local fire departments sprayed water on the crowd to alleviate heat issues. Long lines for food and beverages.

There is no movie (a home 8mm does not count). There is no album. Both those negatives were positives that helped propel Woodstock into its place in history.

The line up was a good as any that summer. Woodstock Ventures had booked seven of the bands for its Bethel soiree in August. I’ve underlined them.

1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival

Line up (underlined performed at Woodstock)

  • Chuck Berry
  • Al Kooper
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • Booker T & the MGs
  • Canned Heat
  • Chicago Transit Authority
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Dave Brubeck
  • Delaney, Bonnie & Friends
  • Ian & Sylvia
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Janis Joplin
  • Johnny Winter
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Pacific Gas & Electric
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Johnny Rivers
  • Spirit
  • Sweetwater
  • Ten Wheel Drive

Yesterday, I posted a piece about the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival which included the fact that due to early disruptions, organizers had cancelled Led Zeppelin’s scheduled appearance in hopes of reducing the number of kids hoping to get into the sold-out venue. It worked a bit (not enough) and Zeppelin appeared as scheduled. You will notice their name here, too. They played on the 6th in Newport which enabled them to rush up there from Atlanta.

Johnny Winter, again, seems to be everywhere this summer and he along with Blood Sweat and Tears will also head north immediately for Newport. The life of  musicians!

Noteworthy is that it was 1969 and there was a strong sense among some young venture capitalists that making money wasn’t what it was all about! The festival was a financial success and that Monday, July 7, the festival promoters gave  a free concert in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. Some of the bands who had played at the festival Chicago Transit Authority, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Spirit, and the Grateful Dead performed.

And of course there’s a recording of the Dead on that July 7, 1969.

1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival

Freaks Unite

One of the most common takeaways that I often hear from other Woodstock alum is that they never realized how many of “us” there were.

According to a  2009 article from Georgia Music, “The flower children were awestruck as well, never having seen so many of their own in one setting. In fact, the turnout caused many of them to reflect for decades to come.

“We may have felt like freaks, but now we knew we weren’t the only freaks,” writes Mark Kemp in Dixie Lullaby: a Story of Music, Race and the Beginnings in a New South. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but the feeling of community . . . was the beginning of a healing process—in me and in many southerners of my generation—that continues to this day.”

And in 2023, Steve Young had this to say: I was there….5 of us…..8 hour drive….no tickets…..snuck UNDER the speedway fence…saw a few bands and missed a few…no shade…..yo yo’s that had lights at night and made amazing trails….saw Janis but missed Grand Funk Railroad and Joe Cocker

Next 1969 festival: Bullfrog Lake Music Festival

3 thoughts on “1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival”

  1. I was at the 1969 Pop Festival in Atlanta, then went to the Atlantic City Festival and from there went to Woodstock. And yes it was hot in Atlanta but the people and bands were wonderful. The Atlantic City one had a complete different vibe to it. More hectic feeling between some of the bands and people. But now Woodstock completely blew me away. I stayed for a month camping out with the Hog Farmers. My picture was in The Special Edition of Life Magazine. I’m the tall skinny girl with Indian print dress on with jeans under it. Barefoot and holding a wine bottle soaking wet. I learned something at each of the festival ‘s I went to. The last festival I went to in 1969 was the West Palm Beach Festival. That was also wet. I was 16 at the time.

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