1969 Miami Rock Festival

1969 Miami Rock Festival

1969 Miami Rock Festival

1969 festival #50
December 27, 28, & 29
International Speedway, Hollywood, Florida
Last actual rock festival of 1969
“Last rock festival of the 60’s”

1969 Miami Rock Festival

1969 Miami Rock Festival

1969: a year of festivals

And so we come to the end of 1969 and the many festivals of that year besides the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Back on April 1 we had the first one of 1969: the Palm Springs Pop Festival. By the end of June and the Denver Pop Festival there had already been eleven American festivals and on June 28 there would be the Bath Festival of Blues in England.

By the end of July, we’d have the Midwest Pop Festival in Milwaukee and it marked the 22th American festival.

By the end of August the New Orleans Pop Festival marked the 31st festival of 1969.

There were many other festivals as well during 1969 that I have not covered. They all fall under the category as “minor” but of course to those who organized them or to those who attended them, a festival is a festival.

I have not excluded any large American festival as far as I know. I know I have not included some of those so-called minor festivals, particularly in Michigan which seemed to have many local ones that summer.

1969 Miami Rock Festival


The 1969 Miami Rock Festival was the forty-third festival that year. I have mentioned the two UK festivals. And at the same time that the Miami Rock Festival was going on, the Mid Winter Pop Festival was not.

I included the Mid Winter because it seems (not much information about it other than its poster) like it would have been an amazing event–had it happened.

Interestingly, the Miami Rock Festival has nearly as little about it. Setlist.fm seems to show who played on certain days, but it is obviously incomplete since some of the bands listed below are not on the poster above and some of the bands named on the poster are not listed below:

Sat 27 December

  • Canned Heat*
  • Vanilla Fudge

Sun 28 Dec

  • Biff Rose
  • Cold Blood
  • Grateful Dead*
  • Johnny Winter*
  • Sweetwater*
  • The Amboy Dukes
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band*
  • The Turtles

Mon 29 Dec

  • Santana*
  • The Band*
  • Tony Joe White
1969 Miami Rock Festival


The amazing thing is that at least seven of the Woodstock artists were there. I have asterisked them.

1969 Miami Rock Festival

Grateful Dead

Despite the fact the above breakdown comes from Setlist.fm, the only band whose link has a set list is the Dead. No surprise there. And, of course, we have a link to a soundboard recording of their show: Grateful Dead on December 28, 1969.  What that recording shows is that they played:

  • Black Peter
  • Me And My Uncle
  • China Cat Sunflower ->
  • Jam ->
  • I Know You Rider ->
  • High Time
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Good Lovin’ ->
  • Drums ->
  • Good Lovin’
  • Cold Rain And Snow
  • Hard To Handle
  • Mason’s Children
  • Turn On Your Love Light

The Internet Archive site has the following comments:

It is possible that this is not the complete show, though it would be likely that only one or two songs may have preceded Black Peter. There are definitely some rough spots that vary throughout the recording (especially Black Peter), but it is overall very listenable for a show from a cassette master. Mason’s Children was patched in from an alternate source (unknown lineage bootleg) as the primary source suffered from tape warble during this song. It is apparent that noise reduction was performed digitally on this song at some point on the secondary source, though the integrity of the sound does not suffer greatly. The pitch from the primary master was corrected using Sound Forge.

Black Peter comes in before the lyric “…just then the wind…” and is therefore missing a couple minutes or so. Good Lovin’ cuts out just over a minute into the drum solo, obliterating several minutes at least. The first half of Cold Rain is missing as well.

This is a loud and very rowdy show, prompting some priceless banter from the band.

1969 Miami Rock Festival

Contact me!

The only information I could find written about the festival was from the Miami HeraldInspired by Woodstock the summer before, The Miami Rock Festival of December, 1969, drew thousands of young people determined to have fun and avoid paying admission, if they could. It wasn’t in Miami. It took place at the Miami-Hollywood Speedway, then 15 long miles west of Hollywood, but now a housing development in the middle of Pembroke Pines. Performers included Mother Lode, Sweetwater, Canned Heat, Johnny Winter, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Vanilla Fudge and the Amboy Dukes. Fans were searched by police, lashed by cold winds and encouraged to “turn on to God” by Billy Graham. Graham said he appreciated the respectful welcome he got, but police made at least 47 arrests and one young man died in a fall from a spotlight tower.

If anyone has any other information or link to that information about this festival, please comment or let me know. Much appreciated.

1969 Miami Rock Festival

In 2019, a Mike Nason contacted me to say he’d just won an auction for the festival’s program. Here are some of its pages:

1969 Miami Rock Festival 1969 Miami Rock Festival

1969 Miami Rock Festival

There was one more schedule 1969 festival, but it didn’t happen: the Mid-Winter Pop Festival

14 thoughts on “1969 Miami Rock Festival”

  1. I was in Miami to watch my Missouri Tigers take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Orange Bowl. As a college junior, who missed Woodstock, this seemed like a great opportunity to catch many of the same great acts.
    The music was fine, but the conditions at the speedway were less than ideal. Of course, the weather could not be controlled (and it was at least dryer than at Woodstock), but there was a lack of food, toilets, and any other creature comforts.
    On the other hand, it was quite simple to get a contact high, and even in 1969, $20.00 was not an astronomical figure (though double my bowl ticket, if memory serves).

    1. Thanks for that comment. The “wetness” at Woodstock is a bit over-stated. Yes there was rain, but only on Sunday was there a downpour. That was the one that drove most people home. Also, wish Missouri could have beating PSU, but we can’t have everything. Hope you can visit the Woodstock site someday. It’s still a special place.

  2. I was 15 years old then – I had gone with guys 3 years my senior who were aspiring rock and rollers – I was a precocious rock and roller – I didn’t smoke even one toke from a joint – not even one sip from a beer – and I didn’t even get any tail – I was never even offered any – I ate maybe two burgers in all three days – I can’t remember feeling any hunger – a hippie said I was a “fascist” because I wouldn’t share my hamburger – I actually did share it – I had WANTED to be a hippie but a hippie who thought he was superior to me because he had been at Woodstock stole my sleeping bag the night of the first day – I had been playing drums for 2 years – I remember hearing TOAD by Ginger Baker being pumped out of a sound system in a van – I saw a guy going nuts on bad trip – I saw naked people in a canal nearby and hippies throwing rocks at a guy filming them with a video camera yelling “SKINFLICK SKINFLICK” – I remember that Vanilla Fudge sucked – all the other bands were great – I remember Billy Graham on Sunday morning – I remember Gov. Claude Kirk on horseback threatening to arrest “anybody and everybody” – I remember the drummer for the Amboy Dukes standing on his bass drum and throwing drum sticks to the crowd below – it was hot in the day – cold at night without a sleeping bag – in the car on the way home I couldn’t stop laughing – I have been everything but a “hippie” since then
    Allah is Most Merciful Most Compassionate Oft Forgiving and “will fill Hell with jinn and humans all.”

  3. Hello,

    I worked at the Miami Rock Festival in Dec 1969. I pounded in the stakes for the tower guy lines and put up fencing a week before the festival. During the festival, I worked on stage. I am particularly interested in finding photos of the Canned Heat set. The Bear gave us all mescaline and I was sitting on the right side of the stage…a 15 year old runaway having the time of his life!

    I am just finishing a book in which a capital is dedicated to the festival…

  4. Hi There..
    I was a Red Cross volunteer in the first aide tent.
    The three days were spent inside the massive tent talking folks down from ” bad trips”, food poisoning, runaways, general injuries and search and rescue.
    I planned on attending with a fellow hitchhiker. At the entrance to the festival a posted sign asked for volunteers.
    I immediately volunteered and had a most memorable experience.

  5. I was a junior in high school and attended the festival. I recall the Sweetwater and Santana sets being particularly good. I left early Sunday morning because I didn’t want to get preached at by Billy Graham, but while hitching a ride back home to Ft. Lauderdale I got picked up by someone who laid a religious rap on me anyway! Made it back in time to hear some really good music, but find that my tent had been stolen. The beautiful people weren’t all beautiful, it turned out…

  6. I had a phony press pass for that festival, obtained by a sketchy somewhat friend. But it got us all backstage anytime. As a result I ended up helping the Grateful Dead load equipment for their set, using a scissor lift stage right. Then I stood by Bill Kreutzman for the entire set. I was not a huge GD fan, but it was awesome. At the end Kreutzman fired a shotgun blank from a mini-“cannon” mounted on a piece of board at his feet on his left side. Some of the heat and packing hit my leg and I jumped a little. He looked over and grinned at me and we had a good laugh. One of the coolest things was that I helped Pigpen off the scissor lift onto the stage and got to meet him and say hello to the rest of the guys as they came onstage. Pigmen didn’t say much! But he did say hello. They were all very nice. After they treated everyone who helped to fried chicken. Later, I met other performers including Johnny Winter who was HIGH HIGH HIGH. We talked for quite a while, though I didn’t understand a lot of what he was saying. The weather was nice then got dreadful. Rain turned the Everglades black loam into muck. It got cold and miserable and many people left early. The third day may have been cancelled, I don’t recall. But that may be why so little is known about it. But it happened. I was there!

  7. I guarded the stage for this Miami Festival. Many stories to tell. Helped built the stage before the show started as well.
    Was at Woodstock as well. Got there early and left Monday afternoon.

  8. Was assistant talent coordinator based out oh the Miami Airport Hotel where the talent stayed. I arranged limos to and from the venue, hotel to airport, vice versa. Fun gig. Got to know some of the guys from Santana, David Brown and Michael C. Good people.

  9. We were on Christmas break and the three of us, two from Brooklyn College and one from NYU, made our way down to Miami. Without a clue of where we were to stay and not a thought of what we would do we wandered the streets of South Miami Beach. Later in our first day there we came across someone with flyers looking for help at a local festival. Having been to Woodstock earlier that year I was ready without a second thought. Can’t tell you what we signed up for ’cause we all dosed a bit on the bus ride there and immediately got lost in the crowd. The following three days continued the dosing, one and sometimes two after the other, Certain performances stand out; Sweetwater, Cold Blood, Smith, Canned Heat (and if memory serves Johnny Winter joined in for a jam), Butterfield, Santana and The Band. That Monday night closing was the most amazing night of music and right up there with probably my top 5 favorite concert experiences. Thanx for letting me share.

  10. I was a sophomore in high school and went down with a chick from Indiana and a couple hippies from Ohio. We went down a little early and ended up settling down in Coconut Grove. I remember the cops were hassling a lot of people, if you didn’t have a certain amount of money in your pocket they would arrest you for vagrancy. The first night we all slept in trees in Coconut Grove. The second night we found an island off the coast a couple hundred yards with a Footbridge going to it. We were young and dumb and didn’t know better so we all went across the Footbridge to the island. In the morning coconuts washed on Shore from the main Shore and everybody had a great breakfast. Everyone was building huts out of branches or whatever they could find until we looked up and noticed about 10 cops coming across the bridge with dogs. Halfway across the bridge they let the dogs go and said sicam. I’ll never forget the site of 200 hippies scrambling up trees like monkeys trying to keep from getting bit. Turns out the island was owned by an individual who didn’t appreciate us being there so we all left quietly. I don’t remember a lot about the concert itself because we were doing psilocybin and then mescaline but I remember Johnny Winter being a guitar God saw him three times that year and never saw a man with fingers that long in my life his hand was like a spider on the fretboard it was just amazing what an adventure lucky old guy I say.

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