Aug. 30, 1969: Texas International Pop Festival

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Texas Pop PosterIt was the fourth of 1969’s big summer rock festivals, following events in Atlanta and Atlantic City and of course Woodstock. On this day, the three-day Texas International Pop Festival near Dallas, was proceeding smoothly.

The festival was co-produced by the promoters of the Atlanta International Pop Festival and Dallas concert promoters Angus Wynne and Jack Calmes of SHOWCO, Inc. It drew around 125,000 to 150,000 people to the recently opened Dallas International Motor Speedway in Lewisville in a peaceful and well-organized gathering. (One person died of heatstroke; hey, it was late summer in sweltering Texas.)

The music began each day with a new and relatively unknown band, Grand Funk Railroad. B.B. King played all three days; James Cotton Blues Band, Sam & Dave, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, jazz flautist Herbie Mann and Chicago Transit Authority (later simply Chicago) all played two days. Top classic rock acts on the bill included Janis Joplin, Ten Years After, Santana, Spirit and Led Zeppelin, whose incendiary performance at the fest is a highly prized bootleg. (Watch it below).

Listen to a Janis Joplin performance

Other acts on the rather eclectic bill include English folkies The Incredible String Band, swamp rocker Tony Joe White, Todd Rundgren’s first band The Nazz and blues rockers Canned Heat.

And, yes, you read that right: Led Zeppelin and Spirit, who battled in court in 2016 over the songwriting credits to “Stairway to Heaven,” both performed.

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Fascinating fact: Wavy Gravy, the hippie hero of Woodstock, was still known by his beat poet real name Hugh Romney during that fest. He received his new and fitting monicker at Texas Pop from B.B. King.

The fest’s site has an official Texas Historical Commission marker near where the stage was. Though overshadowed nationally and in legend by Woodstock, in the Lone Star State the Texas International Pop Festival is still fondly remembered.

Listen to Led Zeppelin’s set

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  1. Angus Wynne
    #1 Angus Wynne 31 August, 2015, 13:32

    Thanks, Rob–saw this before and wanted to correct the writer’s idea that I went to Atlanta and was swayed by the first festival there, eventually setting up the Texas fest. Some of the crew that put that festival on actually approached me and my late partner, Jack Calmes, and our company, SHOWCO, Inc.. about joining up to produce the Texas fest, which we did jointly. I didn’t attend an Atlanta fest until the next year, when Atlanta II was held in Macon, having been denied a permit for the City of Atlanta. This Friday, a special featuring Jimi Hendrix and his band, “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church” will be shown at 8:00 PM on Showtime. It’s one of Jimi’s better appearances and your readers might appreciate knowing about it. Since today, August 31, is actually our 46th anniversary, see what Jimmy Page has to say about in his daily musing at jimmypage.com

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  2. Rick
    #2 Rick 31 August, 2018, 00:47

    Would’ve been nice if the promoters had proofed the poster’s misspelling of Led Zeppelin, no?

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  3. DUKE7734
    #3 DUKE7734 31 August, 2018, 02:18

    WAS THIS FILMED? CAN I BUY A DVD?

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  4. JmFourasinFrance
    #4 JmFourasinFrance 31 August, 2018, 03:55

    At the same time in Europe, the 2nd Isle of Wight festival which was not a second-hand festival : Dylan,Who,Cocker, Moody Blues,Pretty Things,King Crimson,….
    And i was There…..

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  5. Sarge
    #5 Sarge 1 September, 2020, 20:03

    High heat aside, the festival sounds like a great time for all but one. No disrespect. Speaking of Spirit vs Led Zeppelin: I have “Taurus” and “Stairway to Heaven”, listened to them many times, but I still don’t get how Randy California wasn’t entitled some % writing credit. Admittedly, I’m not a lawyer and don’t understand the legal criteria used to make the judgement. But listening to the beginning of “Taurus”, I can’t help making the connection. They toured together and Zep definitely heard plenty of Spirit and the song “Taurus”. And this was, of course, before “Stairway to Heaven” came out. I read a quote of Randy California’s first reaction upon hearing Zeppelin’s song: “Damn, not so much as a howdy, how ya’ doin’, and thank you very much.” As the saying goes: “He was robbed.” Just the rambling thoughts of an war veteran who, maybe, saw Led Zeppelin and Spirit too many times. Is that possible?

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