1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

Saturdays between July 12 and Aug  23

1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

1969 Festival #25

OK. This is not quite a festival in the sense that I’ve been posting them. It’s more a season. Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme were not at any of the other festivals I’ve blogged about so far. Not surprisingly, they will not be at any of the remaining 24 I will cover.

The prices were pricey considering the fact that only one or two acts were on a single night’s bill.

In 1968, I had attended the August 24 event at this venue. It was a strong bill: Soft Machine, Chambers Brothers, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. The stage was in the middle and rotated so we all could see. The stage was in the middle and rotated so we all couldn’t see.

Fear of Rock

The Doors had played at Forest Hills on August 12, 1967 and it got out of hand. I wonder whether Woodstock Ventures had that in mind when making up its wish list? Jim Morrison seemed to relish antagonizing and pushing buttons.

1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

18,000 in 1968

1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

Singer Bowl

The Singer Bowl hosted the Forest Hills Music Festival.

1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

The Singer Bowl was part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair.  Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on their Furthur bus trip famously visited it. The Bowl hosted Fair-related events and after the Fair ended it hosted other events such as Olympic trials, religious events, prize fights, and concerts.

At a point, the US Tennis Authority took over the site for its annual US Open Tournament. Today, greatly expanded and upgraded, the USTA continues to use the site for that purpose as well as providing tennis courts for the city’s youth.

Festival or not?

So. Was this series a festival? That question is like asking, “What was a hippie?”

Since so many Woodstock performers would be there (Janis, Richie, Johnny, & BS & T) I am going to lean toward answering that question affirmatively. Or simply with an asterisk after it on the list.

Woodstock futures

Janis and Richie

Janis Joplin and Richie Havens played the festival on July 19. And…

Blood Sweat & Tears and Johnny Winter

On July 26, Blood, Sweat and Tears and the ubiquitous Johnny Winter played.

The NY Times said that Winter was “singing with ever larger gulps of blues.”

1969 Forest Hills Music Festival

Next 1969 festival: Newport Folk Festival

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