Saturday, August 15, 2009

maybe it's the time of man...

The first Atlanta International Pop Festival was a music festival held at the Atlanta International Raceway on the July Fourth and weekend, 1969, more than a month before Woodstock

Performers at the event included Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Johnny Rivers, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Canned Heat, Spirit, Ten Wheel Drive, Joe Cocker, Chicago Transit Authority, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, Sweetwater, Al Kooper, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Pacific Gas & Electric, Dave Brubeck, and Led Zeppelin.

Just did a little winter cleaning and ran across the program from the New Orleans Pop Festival - Aug 31 - Sep 1, 1969. That weekend was my first over night outdoor music fest.

The lineup:
White Fox, Snowrabbit, Deacon John and the Electric Soul Train (Deac has played at every JazzFest since then), Whizbang, Axis, Sweetwater, Lee Michaels, Oliver, Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys, Spiral Staircase, It's A Beautiful Day, Country Joe and the Fish, Byrds, Youngbloods, Canned Heat, Pot Liquor, Chicago (Transit Authority), Tyrannosaurus Rex, Santana, Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin.

i had a poster for the atlanta festival on my bedroom bulletin board forever. these things were going on all over the place & as much as i wanted to go to one, in 1969, i wasn't old enough to swing it &, besides, i was having my own summer of love in p'cola w/alicia. i don't really remember having a pressing NEED to go to any of these things.

certainly no one had any idea that woodstock was going to be any different from any of the other festivals that had been held or were about to be held. there was no violence at atlanta or in new orleans. there hadn't been any at the monterey music festival two years earlier. at monterey, they estimated nearly 200,000 people attended over the 3day event. at atlanta, they had nearly 100,000. actually, the isle of wight festival, held two weeks later, was bigger in both attendance & performers. it was peaceful, too.

there were a lot of folks at woodstock but the performers had no idea it would become a big deal either. joni mitchell canceled to be on the dick cavett show. the byrds, the doors, led zeppelin, & jethro tull all passed. all of these bands had pretty decent subsequent careers.

i think quibbling w/the woodstock mythos is kind of niggardly & that's not what i'm doing here. once something is installed in the cultural pantheon it's really not possible to dislodge it. i think we could think about why that generation NEEDS to have its woodstock but otherwise i don't think there's a lot of deep meaning here. i will say that i think woodstock continues to function in the cultural mind so powerfully because the music & the spirit of the music continues to be so powerful & NOT because the mud-caked stoned-out hippies didn't fight over the port-o-lets. the list of woodstock performers is strong & filled w/folks who became icons of that era. since many of them were just starting out, there's an aura of innocence around them way back then that's not necessarily available to ANY performer now.

even in retrospect, i don't feel a pressing need to have been there. i think most of our group, even in p'cola, got what it was all about & lived accordingly. we did it w/o the mud too. cool.

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