Tag Archives: 1969 festivals

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

It is an extraordinary Rolling Stones bookend: December 6, 1968 and December 6, 1969. The Stones released Beggars Banquet on the former date. The album was a return to a more rock sound than the previous Satanic Majesty’s Request of 1967.

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

Banquet

The more popular the band, the more they seemed to attract media criticism and those bands rewarded the critique with more to criticize. The first cover, the cover that the record companies immediately dismissed, was a dirty bathroom wall full of  graffiti. It was always a Rolling Stones banquet of needling their detractors.

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet
rejected cover for Beggars Banquet
Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet

Altamont Free Concert

1969. The year of so many festivals crowned with the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. And exactly one year after the Stone’s Beggars Banquet release, it was time for Woodstock’s odd uncle: the Altamont Free Concert, at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. The Rolling Stones organized it with themselves headlining along with Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Jefferson Airplane, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Grateful Dead refused to play shortly before their scheduled appearance due to the increasing violence at the venue.

That violence, captured in the film Gimmie Shelter by by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin , shows how attempts to control the crowd failed.

From Wikipedia: At one point Jefferson Airplane…Marty Balin is knocked out by a Hells Angel; Paul Kantner in response: “Hey, man, I’d like to mention that the Hells Angels just smashed Marty Balin in the face, and knocked him out for a bit. I’d like to thank you for that.” To which a Hells Angel sitting on stage grabs a microphone, and replies: “You’re talking to my people. Let me tell you what’s happening. You, man, you’re not happening!”  (click for full article>>> Wikipedia article on Gimme Shelter)

Rolling Stones Altamont Banquet
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Palm Beach Music Art Festival

Palm Beach Music Art Festival

November 28 – 30, 1969 (Thanksgiving weekend)
West Palm Beach, FL
1969 festival #38
From the “Palm Beach Pop Festival” short
Palm Beach Music & Art Festival
poster for Palm Beach Music & Art Festival. Note how the festival used “music and art” in their title (the earlier Woodstock was the only one to do that) and note the “bird/peace symbol”…too similar to Woodstock’s to be a coincidence
Palm Beach Music Art Festival

Palm Beach

For many people, the only festivals in 1969 were the famous Woodstock Music and Art Fair and the infamous Altamont Speedway Free Festival. There were many more: none larger than Woodstock, all more peaceful than Altamont.

The Palm Beach Music & Art Festival was one of the last that year. It was the 38th of the year.

It ran on Thanksgiving weekend, November 28 – 30, 1969.  Like most of those many other 1969 festivals, little can be found about them. Organizers didn’t record nor film them. Occasionally someone’s hand held movie or recording pops up.

Palm Beach Music Art Festival

Documentary

But over all, the Palm Beach Music & Art Festival remains unknown. There are some still pictures and a group is trying to collect anything anyone has to create a documentary:

Palm Beach Music Art Festival

Sheriff Bill Heidtman

There is a 2009 Palm Beach Post article: Then-Palm Beach County Sheriff Bill Heidtman vowed to make life miserable for the free-loving, pot-smoking, anti-establishment youngsters who were coming to the Palm Beach Pop Festival. He threatened to herd alligators toward the crowd, gathered on a grassy field at the Palm Beach International Raceway. And he promised to dig out fire ant colonies and relocate them at the venue.

Palm Beach Music Art Festival
Palm Beach Music & Art Festival
Palm Beach Music Art Festival

Palm Beach Music & Art Festival

The Festival was at a drag strip outside of West Palm Beach. Among others, Grand Funk played three nights also. The show featured Iron Butterfly, King Crimson (Robin Fripp and Greg Lake), Jefferson Airplane, Rotary Connection (Minnie Ripperton), PG&E, Rolling Stones, Vanilla Fudge, Janis Joplin and Her Full Tilt Boogie Band, Johnny Winters, and others.

On the third night, Winters played, then Vanilla Fudge, followed by Janis Joplin. Afterwards, the announcer said, Johnny wants it, Janis wants it, and the Fudge wants one. All three bands came out on stage and jammed. Winters jammed with the guitar players and scatted with Janis.

Wavy Gravy was there in his WW2 pilot helmet or whatever it was, guiding a car backwards trying to help them and backed them into the pond. We’d like to think he knew it was the police in an unmarked car and put them in the pond on purpose since we know he didn’t do drugs.

2014 Palm Beach Post retrospective article 

Palm Beach Music Art Festival
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