Tag Archives: Festivals

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

June 10 – 11, 1967
For the benefit of the Hunter’s Point Child Care Center
The Sons of Champlin, “Freedom” Recorded Live: 8/16/1968, San Francisco, CA

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Whether the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969 was the greatest festival ever held is open to debate. Perhaps.

Whether it was the most important festival ever held?

Likely.

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Woodstock not the first

It certainly wasn’t the first rock festival. 

Indoor multi-day rock events began in the 50s, but it wasn’t until the late 60s that the multi-day outdoor rock festival, featuring more than just a series short sets by musicians playing their big hits, happened.

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Monterey International Pop Music Festival

Usually the Monterey International Pop Music Festival gets the nod for being the first of the later type, but the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival occurred a week before. The line-up for the KFRC-sponsored event looks pretty good, too.

Day 1 (Saturday 10 June)

  • The Charlatans
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Rodger Collins
  • Dionne Warwick
  • The Doors
  • The Lamp of Childhood
  • Canned Heat
  • Jim Kweskin Jug Band
  • Spanky and Our Gang
  • Blackburn & Snow
  • The Sparrow
  • Every Mother’s Son
  • Kaleidoscope
  • The Chocolate Watchband
  • The Mojo Men
  • The Merry-Go-Round
 Day 2 (Sunday 11 June)

  • Sons of Champlin
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • The Byrds w/ Hugh Masekela
  • P. F. Sloan
  • Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
  • The Seeds
  • The Grass Roots
  • The Loading Zone
  • Tim Buckley
  • Every Mother’s Son
  • Steve Miller Blues Band
  • Country Joe and the Fish
  • The 5th Dimension
  • The Lamp of Childhood
  • The Mystery Trend
  • Penny Nichols
  • The Merry-Go-Round
  • New Salvation Army Band

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

While I will admit ignorance of many of the names themselves and of those bands whose names I do recognize that I am not familiar with any of their particular songs of their

A few are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I’ve underlined those who would play at Woodstock.

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Little documentation

Unfortunately for the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival (and like so many other festivals), no worthwhile recordings of the music or the event apparently exist. There is a silent blurry hand-held camera film of the Doors performing (whose name does not appear on the poster), but little else.

There is an interesting connection between the Fantasy Fair and Woodstock. Mel Lawrence was Fantasy’s co-producer and he became Woodstock’s operation manager.

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival
Mel Lawrence

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Charitable festival

You will also have noticed that the event was for the benefit of the Hunter’s Point Child Care Center, thus preceding George Harrison and Ravi Shankar’s Concert for Bangladesh by four years.

The Hells Angels “volunteered” to be security and with some reluctance the organizers approved their “request.” Fortunately, their presence worked out OK and without any incident. You cans see some of their bikes parked in the following picture:

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival
Photo by Henry Diltz

Here is a link to a 2014 Rolling Stone magazine article on the event. RS interviewed many of the attendees, performers, and organizers

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Drew Willis

Drew Willis via Facebook:  I still have the flyer, map, that was given out. Lists all of the performers with a layout of the surrounding attractions up there on Tam.

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

Fantasy Fair Magic Mountain Music Festival

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First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

or the official full name…
The Fourth Annual Memphis Country Blues Festival
and the
First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

1969 festival #8

Mississippi Fred McDowell – “Goin’ Down to the River”

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

Memphis Sequicentennial Inc

The poster reads: The Memphis Sesquicentennial Inc. in conjunction with The Memphis Country Blues Society proudly presents The Fourth Annual Memphis Country Blues Festival and First Annual W.C. Handy Memorial Concert The Festival will officially begin Friday June 6 and Saturday June 7, 1969 with three daytime concerts and two evening concerts all in the Overton Park Shell, culminating with the W.C. Handy Memorial Concert in the Mid-South Coliseum on Sunday June 8th. Tickets for the Shell concerts will be available at time of performance only Tickets for the W.C. Handy concert will be on advance sale at many Memphis locations ($2.50 to $5.00) Claude Mabel (artist?)

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

Some line-up!

Those who played at this comparatively unknown 1969 festival were:   Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Backwards Sam Firk, Bukka White, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Insect Trust, Fred McDowell & Johnny Woods, Nathan Beauregard, Sun Smith and the Beale Street Five, Elder Lonnie McIntorsch, Sleepy John Estes, Blues Band, Lum Guffin, The World Greatest Jazz Band, Albert King, The Bar-Kays with Toni Mason, Jo-Ann Kelley, Furry Lewis, Slim Harpo, Rev. Robert Wilkins, John Fahey, Southern Fife and Drum Corps, Booker T. and the MGs, Moloch, Casietta George, Sid Selvidge, Soldiers of the Cross, Robert Pete Williams, Rev. Ishmon Bracey, and Wild Child Butler.

Just as white teenagers had inadvertently discovered so-called race music in the early 50s by way of Elvis and other white artists covering black artists’ songs (albeit often “sanitized” to white standards), many white teenagers had wandered into the Delta blues.

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

Father of the Blues

WC Handy is called the Father of the Blues because it was his style of the Blues that became the dominant one in America. It happened in Memphis, Tennessee. Specifically on Beale Street. He did all this in the first part of the 20th century.

As festivals became a way to present lots of music to lots of listeners, it was natural that a blues themed festival would happen. The first Memphis Country Blues Festival was in 1966 and in 1969 it’s fourth time was combined with the First WC Handy Memorial Concert.

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

Woodstock not

Two names that would appear throughout the summer and particularly at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair were Canned Heat, featuring the vocals of Bob Bear Hite and the guitars of Alan Blind Owl Wilson and Harvey Mandel and Johnny Winter. Both were not just blues enthusiasts, but men who studied the history of the blues.

In other words, this festival featured those who had discovered the blues and those who had helped invent it. And while many of the name are far from household names, their contribution to the art is still important.

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert

 Speckled Bird not impressed

The Great Speckled Bird was an alternative newspaper based in Atlanta, Georgia. had some less than flattering things to say about the way the festival was managed, especially the time when National Educational Television was recording for a future show. “…the TV crew…had no understanding (much less love) of the music and certainly none for the medium of television. Emcee Rufus Thomas had to read insipidly ‘humorous’ announcement before each ‘act’ ; musicians had to stop…so that ‘sound levels’…could be met.” The article continued, “What could have been a groovy, informal recording of the sights and sounds of country blues and electric rock performances…all was lost in a third-rate stage show.”

The presence of uniformed police did not add to the vibe. The article also pointed out that the older musicians were given short shrift sets compared to younger bands who sets organizers allowed to go on much longer.

One young performer that the Bird felt was OK was John D Loudermilk. Many of us know his…

The purpose of the WC  Handy component was to raise scholarship money.

First Annual WC Handy Memorial Concert
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Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

Michigan State Fairgrounds
May 30 & 31, 1969
Sun Ra…”Atlantis”

First Annual Detroit Rock & Roll Revival

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

1969 festival #6

The First Annual Detroit Rock and Roll Revival is #6 on the list of 1969 festivals . With any of these festivals, one should not look at the price of admission and sigh with envy. Everything looks less expensive, but keep in mind that the 1969 minimum wage was $1.60 and of course, like now, not everyone even earned that minimum. And if you did, your gross pay for a 40 hour week was $64 or $3328 per year [table]

And like nearly every other festival that summer, recording or filming it did not happen. That being the case, we have to imagine what the festival sounded like. Sun Ra is what I placed at the top of this entry. A whole book is necessary to explain the amazing Sun Ra and his many contribution to jazz and the arts.

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

Ubiquitous Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter was there and as I’ve pointed out in the earlier posts on 1969’s festivals Winter was seemingly at all of them.

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

Amboy Dukes

Here is a video of Detroit’s Amboy Dukes doing their big hit “Journey to the Center of the Mind” featuring their young guitarist Ted Nugent (and mini-skirted go-go dancers, of course).

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

Psychedelic Stooges   

The Psychedelic Stooges might not sound familiar, but Iggy Pop and the Stooges certainly will…

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

MC5 

The MC5 (“Motor City 5”) were the “big” name and their song “Kick Out the Jams” typified their far left in-your-face pre-punk sound. Under the “management” of John Sinclair. Sinclair was the founder of the White Panthers and was sentenced to ten years in prison in 1969 after giving two joints to an undercover narcotics officer. Sinclair was infamously referred to by Abbie Hoffman at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair that August during the Who set. Pete Townshend was not happy about it.

Here is an amazing example of an MC5 performance two months later at Tarter Field, Wayne State University on July 19.

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival

Line-up

First Annual Detroit Rock & Roll Revival

  • MC5
  • Chuck Berry
  • Sun Ra
  • Dr John the Night Tripper
  • Johnny Winter
  • Psychedelic Stooges
  • Terry Reid
  • Amboy Dukes
  • SRC
  • Frost
  • Rationals
  • Teegarden & Van Winkle
  • Nyman Woodward
  • Up
  • Wilson Mower Pursuit
  • 3rd Power
  • NY Rock & Roll Ensemble
  • David Peel
  • Lower East Side
  • Red, White, & Blues
  • Sky-Train
  • Savage Grace
  • James Gang
  • Caste
  • Gold Bros
  • Dutch Elm

While not one that might make a Festival Hall of Fame, it certainly had it’s share of great music.

Detroit Rock and Roll Revival
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