Average: 4.6 (35 votes)

July 5, 1969

Hampton, GA US

Atlanta International Raceway (Atlanta Pop Festival)


set includes: Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, White Summer ~ Black Mountain Side, How Many More Times, Communication Breakdown


Zeppelin return to America and play in front of their largest audiences yet.

The first Atlanta International Pop Festival was held more than a month before Woodstock. It was organized by Alex Cooley, who later went on to organize the Texas International Pop Festival. The crowd numbered in the high tens of thousands, perhaps close to one hundred thousand. With temperatures nearing a hundred degrees, local fire departments used fire hoses to create "sprinklers" for the crowd to play in and cool off. It was a peaceful, energetic, hot and loud festival with few (if any) problems other than heat related. 

Press Review excerpt - Atlanta: Led Zeppelin, relative new comers to the rock heap, saved the late night crowd from impending lethargy and put the mob into a riotous mood.

Cool wnough to move around a little more now, the mass of humanity began dancing and swinging thourgh the infield, as Led Zeppelin, with the accent on blues, ran through a sebers and a few borrowed ones, dedicating them to Johnny Winter. [Inquirer / 7/69 / -J. Knippenberg]


Press Reviews: Atlanta Pops Was a Hot First Festival

Some of it is still going on inside heads. It was simply The Atlanta Pop Festival, but what an event it was. An estimated one hundred thousand people – most between the ages of sixteen and twenty-two, with some from as far away as the west coast – had amassed for two days and nights at the Atlanta raceway.

Yet with all the excitement of both Janis Joplin and Johnny Winter, there was a moment when it became very hard to imagine how anyone could follow Led Zeppelin.  The four Englishmen who comprise the group made their largest impression recently at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East. They exhibited some of the finest original blues material ever to come out of Britain. From there, they proceeded mostly underground with none of their records on the top 40.

At Atlanta though, Zeppelin performed such fierce music that many people were sure that either they or their equipment would blow.

Zeppelin emanates a high voltage electric fever. Several times in each number, the crowds were demolished and rebuilt by sheer sound. The stage show was exhausting just to watch. If any of their sound is an indication of how they live, by all rights they should be long dead. Their efforts are super-human.

Some groups are good enough to command an audience. Zeppelin, however, is in the category of those which can assault one. [-G.Butte, Sun, 7-13-69]

Atlanta Pop - Greatest Musical Fair Ever

Approximately 120,000 hip people trekked to the Atlanta Raceway last weekend for the Atlanta International Pop Festival, for two days of solid sounds, sweat, and suffering.  Billed as the greatest musical fair ever, it lived up to expectations though, what with top groups like Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Canned Heat plus super-rock-stars as Janis Joplin and Al Kooper.

Performing in near 100 musicians managed to satiate the multi-crowd. However, despite the free camping and watermelons, facilities were almost nonexistent. Freaks were bathing in murky lakes, sucking on ice cubes and popping salt tablets to keep cool. Casualties ranged from heat strokes to bummer trips to an unfortunate miscarriage, and an ambulance seemed to be always in front of the clinic. On top of it all, on day Fri- night July 4,  all the power went out for about a the half hour. Johnny Rivers had just begun its set and was cut off in the middle of his second number. The audience became impatient especially with Rivers' drummer who evidently wasn't prepared to do a 30-minute drum solo. However, once plugged in, the show continued until close to five in the morning.

Saturday's line-up included Spirit, Led Zeppelin, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, plus repeat performances by Sweetwater, Delaney and Bonnie, and Pacific Gas and Electric.

Led Zeppelin received several standing ovations and was called back to do more Janis and her new band tore everybody's minds.

The atmosphere back stage was happening. Groups and groupies mingled with the pseudo press and the hip hierarchy.  Food and drinks were passed around and limousines carried fame to and from gigs. Outside, kids huddled close to the stage now and then one catapulted onstage providing a free show or obstructing one. During the daylight hours which usually lasted until nine in the evening, makeshift tents sprouted like mushrooms.

A water hose provided free refreshment and a good dousing, and a few johnny -on-the- spot closets added a touch of reality to the festival. A menagerie of sorts inhabited. The grounds: straight cats, Haight cats, teeny hoppers, Pinkerton coppers, vegetarians, and Aquarians, all were grooving or seemingly so. Consider Atlanta ZAPPED! [C.Zarco, July 11, 1969]


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