The Great Lost Rock Festival of 1969

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The Atlantic City Pop Festival isn’t as well known as that “other” classic rock event that took place that summer

Atlantic City Pop PosterForty-eight years ago in August of 1969, a groundbreaking rock festival took place, one of the best ever, witnessed by many thousands of people and featuring an amazing cast of diverse bands. No, I’m not talking about Woodstock, although that one wasn’t bad either. I mean the Atlantic City Pop Festival.

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it. Most people haven’t, even the most fanatical baby boomer rock fans. For some reason, the three-day Atlantic City, NJ bash that took place over the first weekend of that August barely registers a blip in most accounts of rock history.

It’s most likely because AC Pop was overshadowed by the events of a couple of weekends later in upstate New York. Crowds didn’t storm the site to make it a free festival. No foxy hippie girls got naked and went skinny dipping. No one died. No groovy babies were born. It didn’t close the Interstate due to people trying to get to the fest. It was not declared a disaster area. And Joni Mitchell didn’t write a song about it even if she did play at AC Pop (briefly; see below), unlike Woodstock.

People came to rock, over 100,000 of them by most estimates. The bands played. That was it… other than many hours of amazing classic music.

There is almost no existing film footage or audio from the entire weekend in circulation; a YouTube search yields a few grainy, silent clips and less than a minute of Janis Joplin singing. And relatively few still photos exist (some can be seen here). But it definitely happened. I know, because I was there.

The dates were August 1-3, 1969, and it took place at the Atlantic City Race Track, just outside of the old-school resort town on the Jersey shore (this was well before the casino era). As there was no camping allowed, festival attendees arrived and departed each day. A ticket for all three shows cost $15 (or single days for $6) and allowed the holder either a seat in the stands or the right to roam the open field in front of the stage. Due to the excessive summer heat, water trucks periodically doused those on the ground; the rest of us baked.

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AC Pop Fest press clip

As it was held at a horse racing track, AC Pop undeniably put out a very different vibe than that of Woodstock. And even though it occurred at the tail end of the ’60s, the use of LSD and marijuana seemed much less prominent – or at least less open. At one point on the opening day, in fact, a stage announcement was made to the effect that those who were worried about being busted for drugs could chill; there were probably a few “narcs” among the crowd but they were unlikely to cause any problems. Out came the joints. If anyone was arrested, it never made the news.

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Atlantic1But even if Atlantic City didn’t gin up the cultural resonance of Woodstock, on a pure musical level it was actually, in some ways, the more diverse festival. Where Woodstock stuck largely to classic rock and folk artists, AC Pop augmented that basic foundation with acts from the worlds of jazz (Buddy Rich, Hugh Masekela), soul (Booker T. and the MG’s) and blues (B.B. King), as well as one legendary founding father of rock’n’roll (an electrifying Little Richard).

Both Joe Cocker and Santana (mistakenly introduced as the Santa Ana Blues Band) played AC before their big Woodstock breakthroughs, and other giants of rock who would make it to Woodstock – Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band – warmed up there first.

Related: Woodstock performers: Where are they now?

AC Pop t-shirtBut what made Atlantic City so much different than Woodstock musically was its invitation to artists who did not turn up at Yasgur’s Farm: Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, The Sir Douglas Quintet, The Byrds, Tim Buckley, Three Dog Night, Buddy Miles, The Chambers Brothers, Procol Harum, Chicago [Transit Authority], Aum, Lighthouse, American Dream, Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth and Iron Butterfly all put in appearances at AC and not at Woodstock. So did Joni Mitchell, who famously skipped the Upstate New York gig, although she probably wished she’d passed on this one too: After singing a few tunes, Mitchell complained that no one was listening to her and walked offstage in tears, never to return. Crosby, Stills & Nash were booked but canceled, supposedly because Nash had a polyp on his tonsils.

Atlantic City, emceed by singer-songwriter Biff Rose, also hosted several quirky acts that never journeyed north two weekends later: a still somewhat unknown Dr. John in his guise as the Night Tripper; the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, singing his hit “Fire;” and, according to some recollections, the avant-garde Lothar and the Hand People, although this attendee doesn’t remember them appearing.

As a matter of fact, the festival is so obscured in history that there remains some doubt as to who actually did and didn’t perform. Johnny Winter was advertised to play, but never made it. Ditto for the Moody Blues. Blues singer Mississippi Fred McDowell was never advertised yet some accounts show him as having been there. (I don’t recall seeing him.)

One thing for sure is that it all ended on the evening of Sunday, August 3, 1969, with Janis Joplin joining Little Richard onstage for a memorably rockin’ finale. And that was it for the Atlantic City Pop Festival of 1969, to be nearly forgotten almost immediately – except by those who were there.

Jeff Tamarkin

Jeff Tamarkin

Best Classic Bands Editor Jeff Tamarkin has been one of the most respected and prolific music journalists in the country for some four decades. He was editor of Goldmine for 15 years, the first editor of CMJ and Grateful Dead Comix, and an editor of Relix magazine. He has written for dozens of publications including Billboard, Newsweek, Playbill, Creem, Mojo, Newsday, New York Daily News JazzTimes and others, and has contributed to the Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music and All-Music Guide. He has written the liner notes for more than 80 CDs, including most of the Jefferson Airplane catalog as well as the Beach Boys, Merle Haggard, Tom Jones, Chubby Checker, Al Kooper and the J. Geils Band.

Jeff has also served on the Nominating Committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and as a consultant to the Grammys. As a consultant to the Music Club CD label, he assisted in releasing over 180 reissues and compilations, in styles ranging from jazz to country to pop. His first book was Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane (published in June 2003) – the first biography of this legendary San Francisco band written with the cooperation of all of the band members. He is also the co-author of Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc, with Howard Kaylan. From 2002 to 2006 Jeff was the editor of Global Rhythm, the leading magazine for world music and global culture. He was the Associate Editor of JazzTimes from 2008-16. He lives in Hoboken, NJ, with his wife, the novelist and Boston Globe book columnist Caroline Leavitt. Their son, Max, is a theater major at Pace University in New York.
Jeff Tamarkin
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  1. Frankiefane
    #1 Frankiefane 25 August, 2015, 21:19

    I was there and remember everyone being great except Join Mitchell! Cool festival! Really cool band named AUM stood out as well.

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    • chokabus
      chokabus 6 May, 2017, 00:11

      In the evening both CCR and Jefferson Airplane played by the speakers werent working and John Fogerty was ramming his guitar them and the sound didnt improve. The best song was procul harem doing crucifixion lane and the AUM singer jumped off the stage as their set ended. Joe Cocker was even more animated than at Woodstock The Byrds played without Crosby

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      • Guy Smiley
        Guy Smiley 8 May, 2017, 22:20

        Crosby was long gone from The Byrds by 1969. In fact, apart from McGuinn I don’t know that any of the original members were still in the band at that point.

        It was mostly the McGuinn/Clarence White show at that point (A great show at that!)

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    • Paul
      Paul 1 August, 2017, 17:16

      Remember he jumped off stage and landed on his back
      Great times

      Reply this comment
  2. Mikeshea
    #2 Mikeshea 30 January, 2016, 13:31

    Interesting little window on big history. Thanks for such a well written, clear , and coincide piece. I was never aware of this festival prior to this article. Very impressive lineup and in some ways superior to Woodstock (*I would take Little Richard over Sha-Na-Na or Jeff Buckley over John Sebastian any day)Kind of frustrating to know that all of those artists were in this neck of the woods then but did not get up north to Bethel N.Y. Zappa at Woodstock would’ve change everything, I think. Of course, linguistically anyway, “Atlantic City” does not conjure the same mystical /surreal qualities of “Woodstock”. I could not imagine Joni Mitchell dreaming about Bomber Jet Planes Turning into Butterflies over the Jersey Shore , but regardless, it must have been a real blast for everyone lucky enough to go.

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  3. uptown girl
    #3 uptown girl 5 February, 2016, 21:14

    I was there with my cousin….it was incredible!! the jonie story is true!

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    • JasonC
      JasonC 22 August, 2016, 16:06

      My father says she was booed off stage.

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      • Jeff Tamarkin
        Jeff Tamarkin Author 22 August, 2016, 22:07

        Your father is not quite correct. I was there and she walked off the stage for sure. She was still pretty unknown and was upset that the audience wasn’t really listening to her. But she wasn’t being booed, just ignored, so she left the stage in tears after about 3 or 4 songs.

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      • alby_tarzia
        alby_tarzia 22 March, 2017, 08:29

        she wasn’t booed off stage; she was “ignored” off stage because people couldn’t hear her acoustic set (solo piano/vocals)…i was very close to the stage when she went on and i could hardly hear her myself…unfortunately for her, she was scheduled during a part of the day with a lot of very loud bands and her sound just got lost…

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      • BD
        BD 16 May, 2017, 17:48

        No, that’s not what happened. Joni was singing using an acoustic guitar. Apparently she was annoyed that she didn’t have a captive audience and “tested” us by singing one verse over again. She then announced that no one was listening and left the stage. That’s when people started booing.

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  4. halinphilly
    #4 halinphilly 7 March, 2016, 16:05

    My Aunt and Uncle had a place in Chelsea, so I crashed at their beach house for the weekend, Or should I say, “THE Weekend”. I think it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was hopelessly hooked on the rock music scene from coast to coast and almost every one of my icons was there. I did regret not seeing the Who, but since I had seen them live a few times already, I didn’t feel completely cheated out of the experience. On the other hand, I got to see Frank Zappa and The Mothers, and the band who replaced CSN and Y turned out to be a great “discovery” for me – the Chambers Brothers! When they broke into Time Has Come Today, I nearly lost mind. I don’t know if anyone els has mentioned this, but on the last day of the festival, on the way to my car, I saw David Peel and the Lower East Side busking outside the stadium. I think they should have been on stage closing out the show officially 🙂

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  5. Snare10
    #5 Snare10 9 March, 2016, 02:00

    Yes I was there too ! The 3 days were awsome beyond words. Decent weather ( unlike Woodstock). Just the right sized crowd, and needless to say the music was over the top !!!! BTW, Santana was announced as the “Santana Blues Band ” , not Santa Ana. The reason is that they actually were once called Santana Blues Band. Also, there actually was an area to camp. A bit outside the track, there was an area that you set up your tent and parked your car right next to it. I know this cause we did it. I remember all this like it was yeaterday. I (we ) were so blessed to live in these times and to have these experiences.

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    • SirKlutz-Lush
      SirKlutz-Lush 9 September, 2016, 20:58

      I camped also with three other car loads of my fraternity friends who talked me into going 2 weeks before I was being drafted into the army. Fantastic weekend. I remember AUM rocking the crowd (never heard of them before or after – only 3 guys) and seeing their lead guitarist jumping into the crowd in front of the stage. Then came Joni Mitchell (who I wanted to hear) but the crowd was still buzzing and wasn’t ready for soft sound. She tried her best rocker but couldn’t get the crowd with her so she said “I can’t do this” and walked off. After she didn’t come back is when I remember the crowd booing. I also was told that Little Richard was the replacement for Crosby Stills and Nash by my friend that was a musician in NJ (never made it but knew a great deal about music and bands).

      Little Richard captured the crowd. At one point, he began doing a semi-strip tease, twirling his clothes and throwing some out to the crowd. I had come down from our seats to the stage area at night for Janis Joplin and stayed for Little Richard who closed out Saturday night (80% sure about the night). I came expecting to see the Chambers Brothers and ‘Time’ was tremendous and well done. One night there was a break in from some non-paying fans – the Iron Butterfly Army, that came through the fence opposite the stage and marched across the inner field and melded into the stage crowd. Unfortunately, Iron Butterfly were not the greatest musicians (the only song they could play was Inna-Gada-Da-Vida). I actually have met one person later in life that was also at AC – 69 and stories flew and were remolded by both of our memories. Great times and some of my friends then went to Woodstock and I wanted to go but that was the weekend I was inducted. I called my friends to come and get me so I could go too, but they had better sense and kept me from ruining my life and going AWOL. Instead I listened to the radio all weekend and dreamed.

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  6. Jim Zim
    #6 Jim Zim 28 March, 2016, 17:20

    I was there and will never forget it.. Inna godda davita went on for hours it seemed with streamers of toilet paper flying .I had a front seat to the show …

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  7. doc
    #7 doc 28 April, 2016, 18:55

    I was there & have told many people that it was the Woodstock prequel but better due to the amazing lineup of artists, and most people think I am crazy because it has been largely lost to the dustbin of history

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  8. Buzzy
    #8 Buzzy 3 May, 2016, 22:01

    We had the best time of our lives. Great performances and you could wander between the grandstand and the track area in front of the stage to get a closer look every once in a while. I particularly remember Joe Cocker’s performance – what a trip. All in all, a real “orange sunshine” event!

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  9. dandelion
    #9 dandelion 5 June, 2016, 01:50

    add me to list, also made woodstock

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  10. Ray
    #10 Ray 25 June, 2016, 20:43

    Was there on Saturday. I let my part=timers at Wawa go to Woodstock and the tradeoff was my going to AC. Remember walking in bare feet over lfields of broken glass and watching Airplane on the b&w video monitors in the racetrack clubhouse. Great stuff. Also remember Chambers Bros.

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  11. Antonio
    #11 Antonio 17 July, 2016, 22:28

    Johnny Winter did play, Rollin and Tumblin for one. Also the clip above is probably the only footage on record for Lighthouse (the band that played for Peace ).

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    • Barry
      Barry 13 July, 2017, 21:48

      Yes, that’s correct, I remember Johnny Winter played last. We started to weave our way out to go home.

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      • Jeff Tamarkin
        Jeff Tamarkin Author 14 July, 2017, 12:08

        I don’t remember Winter but I’ll take your word for it. I’m pretty sure that Little Richard closed the festival though, with Janis sitting in.

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        • Butch
          Butch 2 August, 2017, 11:35

          Yes….I say little richard closed Sunday night….standing on his piano!!!!!

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  12. bkeating
    #12 bkeating 18 July, 2016, 14:49

    A memorable weekend. Too many highlights. Jefferson Airplane played far into Saturday night and Sunday morning. About Janis’ performance, Rolling Stone in her obit not much more than a year later called it one of her finest performances. Having Little Richard close was perfect, bringing rock back to its roots.

    But for years I wondered, “where was the music?” Was it possible that the promoters had let millions of dollars worth of sound waves just escape?

    About 15 years ago, through an intermediary I got an email through to Larry Magid, the chief promoter who had gone on to become the king of concert promoters in Philly. He thanked me for my interest and told me that it had been one of his most enjoyable weekends. But no one had recorded the music. And he knew of no bootlegs, which certainly would have emerged by now.

    Go figure.

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  13. Tracy
    #13 Tracy 24 July, 2016, 20:14

    Anniversary coming up. My first and most favorite pop/rock festival experience. It was what made folks want to go to Woodstock – for more – and was responsible for huge word of mouth PR for Woodstock – and, Yes, Lothar and the Hand People and his wonderful Moog Synthesizer was definitely there as an early act. They were great. And Janis said she would sing to stop the rain, and it did stop. Just an amazingly great time.

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  14. Will
    #14 Will 3 August, 2016, 02:39

    I was there as well, probably more great Bands played there in 3 days than any other festival ever. I met Todd Rundgren in the crowd !

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  15. Scott Paton
    #15 Scott Paton 5 August, 2016, 00:22

    Best account ever of this nearly forgotten music fest. I’m guessing the poster is yours, too, Jeff? Priceless! One of my favorite BCB articles yet.

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    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin Author 5 August, 2016, 12:57

      Thanks! No, I wish the poster was mine. I do have a t-shirt with the poster on front but it’s a recent one.

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  16. Doug
    #16 Doug 5 August, 2016, 06:47

    I was there. Favorite acts include Janis Joplin, Airplane, CCR, Santana, Joe Cocker and Booker T. & The MGs (who were supposed to be at Woodstock, but drummer Al,Jackson, Jr. refused to get on the helicopter),

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  17. Bill Wax
    #17 Bill Wax 5 August, 2016, 07:26

    I also was there and Lother and the Hand People did indeed play

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  18. Josephpj
    #18 Josephpj 5 August, 2016, 08:15

    I was there all 3 days and as a drummer I was in heaven.
    The bands that stood out to me were; Santana blues band, Chicago Transit Authority & AUM a three piece band that brought the house down with a rendition of Ray Charles, Georgia on my mind, what ever happened to them?
    I at one point thought that may have changed the name to; Grand Funk Railroad, if any one knows I would like to find out what happened to them, One fantastic Band!
    I also have to say it was the first time that I got to see a Latin,Jazz, rock band called Santana what a great show, one time in my young life age 14 I will never forget!

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    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin Author 5 August, 2016, 12:55

      Yes, I remember Aum being pretty great too. I saw them one other time, opening for Creedence at Fillmore East. I also wonder whatever became of them.

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  19. rflynn
    #19 rflynn 11 August, 2016, 09:51

    I was there for the Saturday show. I was 14 and my dad took me and my younger brother, on the condition that I promise not to go to Woodstock. Creedence Clearwater Revival was deafening, even at an outdoor racetrack. My dad wanted us to leave and drive back to DC. I threw a fit because I wanted to see my beloved Jefferson Airplane. He relented and we saw JA in their prime.

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  20. BVC
    #20 BVC 31 October, 2016, 05:39

    Great article, & good to see something on this AMAZING weekend! 3 of us, my drummer, his brother & I, made it from Pittsburgh to A.C. for this… to this day, still 3 of the most amazing days of my life! (& Day 2, Aug 2, was my birthday! What a way to celebrate!) And yes, musically historic! As billed, the Carlos Santana Blues Band (2 wks later, the short name was carved in stone, & history!) played their entire 1st album, introducing 16-year-old drummer Mike Shrieve to the world!, as did Chicago Transit Authority, whom most hadn’t yet heard of. Procol Harem played “Thus Sprach Zarathustra” w a live Moog synth – unheard of at the time! Standing ovations for all! B.B. King said he was playing for the 1st time in 13 years… broke into tears when he felt MASSIVE love! CSN were billed on the marquee, but sadly for all, didn’t show. The Who, 10 Years After, the Airplane, CCR, Joplin, Sly & Family Stone, Chambers Bros, who got an enormous dance line, 100s of people coursing through the stands. Remember it all like yesterday! Hendrix wasn’t there… a few other Woodstock greats, but in all, it was about the same show for all 3 days – complete with thunderstorms, rain & lotsa soggy people & sleeping bags! Never dampened the spirits! I saw mention here of a group called AUM. AMAZING. Still have their record, but admittedly they were better live. It’s NO wonder why Woodstock became so huge. As I heard it, we had some 250,000 people at A.C. Racetrack, & the going question by Day 3 was, “Are you going to Woodstock?” Everyone who did likely brought someone… & almost doubled the crowd! What a time that was! They can throw all the festivals they want now… but like the music of the time itself, they will NEVER be able to “recreate” the ACPF or Woodstock. It was History. And yes, I still have my tickets stubs from Days 2 & 3… a little wrinkled, & Priceless!

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    • Cheryl
      Cheryl 8 July, 2017, 19:07

      Hendrix absolutely was there. He was on the left stage where Joplin performed. He came out wearing white and played the Star Spangled Banner. The crowd was transfixed never having heard such a shocking take on the national anthem. I was hardly able to breathe and in awe of his earth shattering guitar version It was as if he turned music upside down by opening a new door. I have always been able to watch this performance in my head. Yea, it totally blew me away. Hendrix

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      • Jeff Tamarkin
        Jeff Tamarkin Author 9 July, 2017, 12:12

        Thanks for your comment, but no way did Hendrix play “The Star Spangled Banner” at Atlantic City. Maybe at another festival but not that one. And of course he played it at Woodstock two weeks later. I was at Atlantic City and saw Janis’ set. She did a couple of duets with Little Richard at the end, but no Jimi. I’ve never even seen anyone mention that before, let alone any documentation.

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  21. Albert
    #21 Albert 4 November, 2016, 22:00

    Joni Mitchell definitely walked off stage no one was listening to her. The Chambers Brothers and Janis Joplin were amazing beyond words. Camped out nearby and remember the relief with the fire trucks doused the crowd to the oppressive heat. Still have my peace pin purchased at the festival for $5. I proudly display it with other memorabilia I have from that era

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  22. Ann
    #22 Ann 20 January, 2017, 09:48

    Thanks for this article. I was there but there but theres so little written and known about this festival I thought maybe I was high and dreamed it LOL. I remember Joni walking off because “no one was listening” Hey I realized she sang the verse twice what should I have done yelled Hey Joni you screwed up Such a diva huh? LOL Good time, good people GREAT MUSIC!!

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  23. drjiggyfly
    #23 drjiggyfly 11 February, 2017, 19:12

    I was there, too. Santana was unknown at the time and just blew me away. Almost got run over in my sleeping bag when people started driving across the grass to avoid the stalled traffic.

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  24. Ron
    #24 Ron 8 March, 2017, 22:05

    I went with girlfriend from Cape Cod on a 175 Bridgestone motorcycle and we arrived and camped on the grounds for two nights. Awesome show!!

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  25. radiojohn
    #25 radiojohn 22 March, 2017, 21:52

    OK, I was just out of the Army and didn’t go to Woodstock because I had to drive to California to go to school. But I went to this with a friend from the Associated Press and got a bird’s eye view. I have slides of it! And a buton. People climbed up the very tall stadium flagpoles and stuck there heads in the very, very large stadium speakers.

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  26. KO
    #26 KO 27 April, 2017, 12:05

    A bunch of my friends and I rented a Ryder box truck and headed down to Atlantic City from Connecticut. We’d made a hand-painted, very colorful sign that said “Atlantic City or Bust” and hung it above the truck cab. Those riding in the back kept the door open a few inches so we could all breathe. I remember that, at one point, we were rumbling down the New Jersey Turnpike when suddenly, the truck slowed, pulled to the side of the road and ground to a halt. Had no idea what was going on until the back door opened and there stood two NJ State Troopers. They surveyed the lot of us then asked, “You haven’t got any marijuana in, there do you?” “Oh no, sirs! No – that would be illegal!” Of course, a cloud of smoke had whooshed out the door when the troopers had opened it. Amazingly, they just shook their heads then let us move on. As we pulled back onto the highway, the troopers had their lights still flashing and followed us for a while. Before they pulled away, one said over the loud speaker, “You look groovy” and gave us the peace sign.

    I don’t remember a whole lot of details about that weekend, except not getting a lot of sleep and having the climb the chainlink fence to get in–even though I’d bought tickets, they’d been stolen. My absolute favorite musician at the time was Janis and I snuck ’round back of the stage when she was waiting to perform. She turned and smiled at me as I snapped her photo. It was the only performance photo I took, unfortunately.

    Three days of little sleep, bad/no food, too much partying, in-fighting among the group of friends over paying for the van and the rest did me in–when I got back home, I was sick for days. When my boyfriend started talking about doing it all over again and heading to Woodstock, I just flat-out said ‘no way!”

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    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin Author 27 April, 2017, 20:05

      Great story! Isn’t it weird how so many of us who were there remember so little detail about it? Of course it WAS 48 years ago!

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      • Rick
        Rick 1 May, 2017, 19:30

        CSN did show up at the last minute. The organizers would not let them play. I was standing about 20 feet from them while Crosby was screaming “this is a f-n pop festival! Why can’t we play?”

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  27. BD
    #27 BD 16 May, 2017, 17:59

    I always tell people about this festival because it was so awesome. It’s been frustrating not to find much history written about it. The guy who has slides needs to dig them up and share, man, share!!

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  28. Jeffro
    #28 Jeffro 6 July, 2017, 01:38

    I was 14 years old and I went there by bus from Philly by myself. I couldn’t convince anyone else to go but I really had to do it. The music was a cultural explosion. The most memorable part for me was CREEDENCE Clearwater Revival and Hugh Masekala.

    The other most memorable part was LIFTING A POSTER OFF A POLE WHICH I STILL HAVE TO THIS DAY (yep I had to yell that part) on my way to the bus. I got back to Philly by bus because I didn’t want to get stuck there overnight by missing the last bus. It was so late that I missed the last train to the suburbs (Media, PA). Had to walk home in the middle of the night as no one would give me a ride. I saw a kids bicycle and …… Hey I had to do what I had to do.

    I have to say I always wondered who the girl with the multi colored face was on the poster and why the hell they ruined a beautiful face with such an bad design. It should have worked but it just didn’t.

    My friends and I all decided to go to Woodstock (where is this Woodstock???) a couple of weeks later but his parents were away. We looked at each other and said “why drive hours in this rain- it is raining so hard” let’s just party here at the house, exactly what we did.

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  29. MA2AZ
    #29 MA2AZ 14 July, 2017, 15:29

    Well, over the 4th of July weekend, 1969 There was the Newport Jazz Festival. I was a bit naïve and didn’t know I should have gotten there a day or two early. It was jammed with people. Needles to say our ‘reserved’ tickets were useless; I recall reading about it later and the authorities didn’t know what to make of it. It was the 1st or 2nd year they also had rock and blues artists. First time I had heard of Jethro Tull. I didn’t stay the whole weekend, but it was really amazing. Got to see most of the acts within a year or so of that summer.
    Also, my future wife (who I hadn’t met yet) got stuck in the traffic going to Woodstock and turned around and went home. I guess neither of us were the adventurous type.

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  30. Norman
    #30 Norman 31 July, 2017, 17:27

    The Wikipedia listing of groups is wrong – it doesn’t have The Looking Glass who had the hit song “Brandy”. Back then it wasn’t a cliche song and I think they were the only group there that had a current Top Ten hit on AM radio, which was the standard then. By the way, they were quite good. The few of us who did this festival and then did Woodstock had a rude shock coming….we went from the best organized rock festival in the era to one of if not the worst one two weeks later. To get to AC we took a subway to the Port Authority Terminal, got a bus to Atlantic City where there were shuttle buses to the track/festival. They even let us tent camp on the track greenspace overnight. When the festival was over, we just reversed the process. To get to Woodstock…we took a bus from NY to Bethel. We hitched a ride with a chicken farmer to “the race track”. We then walked the last 10 or so miles, all of which took about 12 hours. Going back we walked some, hitched a ride to the Bethel Greyhound office, slept on the sidewalk until the bus came…sound like fun to you? Good nostalgia? AC was the better festival in almost every way, including musically.

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    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin Author 1 August, 2017, 09:40

      Looking Glass didn’t have “Brandy” until 1972 and were definitely not at Atlantic City. Enjoyed your story.

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  31. Norman
    #31 Norman 31 July, 2017, 17:45

    It’s a real shame this festival isn’t better known. It’s kind of like The Festival of Hope – a great music festival but almost unknown except to the lucky ones like myself who were there.

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  32. Steve F
    #32 Steve F 2 August, 2017, 17:45

    Thanks for writing about this festival. I do love reading the stories about all the fabulous concerts I unfortunately missed! I collect sixties posters and this one is truly rare. It could be almost as rare as the Altamont poster. I missed one on ebay last week – one of the best ones I’ve ever seen too. Keep on writing this stuff!

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  33. Ron S.
    #33 Ron S. 8 August, 2017, 22:41

    I also was there for one of the greatest experiences of my life.
    To be ONE with 70,000 on their feet waving the Peace sign for Janis was unforgettable. Chartered a bus in Montreal with 50 others and made great memories. A tragedy that it wasn’t filmed or recorded.

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