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Atlanta International Raceway (Atlanta Pop Festival) - July 5, 1969

  • 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
srapallo's picture
on September 20, 2007 - 5:03pm
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Average: 4.6 (35 votes)
July 5, 1969
Hampton
GA
United States
us
Setlist: 

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

Note: 

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]

----------------

Notes: 

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]

----------------

Setlists: 

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

Comments

Bill's picture

I was there - great concert. As I remember, security was pretty lax - A naked guy walked on stage during the concert, got knocked down and rolled off the stage.

Bruce MacDougall's picture

I was there, right in front, and Zeppelin was wild! As I recall they hit the stage around midnight and immediately energized the entire gathering. Robert Plant was shirtless and racing back and forth across the stage, stepping over half dressed women that had jumped up and fallen down before the security guys could help them back off. There were a lot of big name groups, but none that compared to the mighty Zeppelin. I've been telling my kids about this one for years.

Greg's picture

I agree with Marty...Zeppelin came on after Spirit around dusk. Spirit did a great show and got the crowd pumped for Zep. I think half the crowd was just starting to get off on something. It was mesmerizing!
Two carloads of us drove up from Bradenton, Florida (just south of Tampa) for the event. We listened to our 8-Tracks of all the bands attending the whole ride up! Phew! We stayed in my buddy Bob's parent's basement (who lived in Atlanta) for three days during the festival. I was 16 at the time.
All of us who went are still friends and talk about the event all the time.
On the drive to the Raceway the first day, both carloads took all our necessary medication for the ride and by the time we arrived (before the gates opened) we were all ripped! The first thing we did after going in the gate was eat a couple of watermelons and we were a sticky mess for the next 14 hours.
Our group gained control of the roof of one of the refreshment stands.It wasn't that close to the stage, but still had a good view above the crowd and a great spot for freak watching! We waited in line for a very long time and filled a couple of Styrofoam coolers full of water. We had our own water supply!
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! My aforementioned buddy Bob will be turning 60 in August and I'm sending him a framed poster of the event! Memories!

Lionel DesRoche's picture

I was there also

Just saw Robert Plant in Lake Tahoe, just a few days short of 39 years later

H.Williams's picture

My best friend and I drove 500 miles to be a part of history. We had followed Jimmy Page in his exploits with the Yardbirds and went absolutely crazy for the first Zeppelin album. Road trip! It was hotter than hell inside the speedway but worth every minute to see some great bands and of course Zeppelin. My strongest memory is Jimmy Page playing his guitar with the violin bow. Smacking the strings and playing off of the echoes that resounded around the speedway.

Doug's picture

if you remember that was also the weekend that brian wilson had one of his breakdowns and also the weekend that brian jones drowned ??? in his pool. remember hearing both announced on the radio after leaving the festival early sunday morning.

onlineathens's picture

Led Zeppelin got $2,500 to play before an estimated 700,000 people in the first Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970. Janis Joplin made just $500, legendary concert promoter Alex Cooley recalled Tuesday.

But the music industry is a different animal now, Cooley and his longtime partner Peter Conlon said.

Back then, artists toured to promote their albums, which provided the bulk of their income, said Conlon, president of Peter Conlon Presents.

“Now they make 90 percent of their money touring. It’s the opposite.,” said Conlon, who co-founded Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival with Cooley in 1994.

The two came to the University of Georgia campus Tuesday to record an interview with Lisa Love, former executive director of the shuttered Georgia Music Hall of Fame. An audience of more than 100 people, many UGA music students and local musicians, filled an auditorium in the university’s Richard B. Russell Building to hear the men talk about the arcs of their careers and the music business.

“What would that be in today’s money?” Conlon asked his former business partner, who retired seven years ago, about the payments to Led Zeppelin and Joplin.

“Not that much, really,” replied Cooley.

He’s right. Inflation-adjusted, Led Zeppelin got a little more than $14,000 and Joplin got a little less than $3,000.

“Today, the acts control things,” Cooley said. “(Concert promotion) is a rough business now. It’s a rough way to make a living.”

Some acts can gross $2 million from a single concert, Conlon said.

And take along three certified public accountants on their tours, Cooley added.

The artists make more money, but their tours are expensive, they said. U2 chartered a jumbo jet for one tour, setting up a dining room inside.

Even paying the expenses of chartered airliners and entourages of dozens of people, the big groups make big money, Cooley said.

Middle range groups, though, can’t make money, he said.

Cooley said he didn’t want to sound like someone longing for the good old days.

“I’ve spent seven years just downloading music. It’s such an incredible technology thing,” he said. “I love downloading music.”

But the same technology has changed the way we experience music, Conlon said as Cooley nodded in agreement.

“You’re by yourself in a room,” Conlon said. “It’s not a social thing.”

Besides observations on the evolution of the music industry, the men also shared stories and memories of some of the great musicians they’ve met through their work, like Michael Jackson and Chuck Berry, an unpleasant man, both agreed.

Cooley recalled early days staging concerts for the Allman Brothers as they burst out of Macon to became international superstars.

“It was magic, it really was,” he said. “They can play for six hours without drawing a breath.”

Conlon began as a UGA student, working in a student organization that booked concerts for the campus. When he began, the University Union was booking the same soul acts that had been popular years before, but were drawing just a handful to UGA concerts in Stegeman Coliseum.

Conlon convinced them to bring in rock and roll acts like Jethro Tull and the Allman Brothers, which sold out.

Conlon took a four-year detour to work for Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign and then in the White House during the Carter administration.

While there, he organized benefit concerts for Carter. When Carter lost his 1980 re-election bid, Conlon got into concert promotion full-time.

Conlon and Cooley formed a partnership in 1982 that lasted until seven years ago, when Cooley retired.

Born in 1939, Cooley attended UGA and Georgia State University before going off to see a bit of the world

He and some friends got the idea for the first Atlanta International Pop Festival — staged months before the more famous Woodstock — when they drove down to south Florida to scuba dive and heard about a rock music festival that weekend in Miami.

They went to hear the music instead of diving. Cooley was so taken with what he had experienced that when he returned to Atlanta, he got together 17 partners and staged the first Atlanta International Pop Festival, he said.

“We did it because we didn’t know it was impossible,” he said. “Looking at it now, I wouldn’t even dream of it.”

Unlike the disastrous, yet iconic, Woodstock festival that followed, the first pop festival in Atlanta had no major problems and turned a profit, he said.

“We felt guilty (because it made money),” Cooley said.

The second festival, in small-town Byron, drew an estimated 700,000 people, the biggest gathering ever in Georgia except for the 1996 Olympics. More would have come, Cooley said, but traffic was backed up north all the way to Atlanta’s Varsity restaurant.

by Lee Shearerupdated January 17, 2013

http://onlineathens.com/breaking-news/2013-01-15/legendary-promoters-rev...

David Tate's picture

I will never forget the 4th of July weekend, 1969.

Mike's picture

I was on leave from the Army and my parents only lived 30 miles from the raceway. I had just bought a VW bug and was driving around. I picked up 2 girls and a guy hitchhiking from Florida to the pop festival. I was a big Janis Joplin fan and when they said she would be there I said lets go. That was the 3rd of July and I didn't make it home till the 6th. Janis and Led Zeppelin were the only groups I remember. I was blown away. The fences were knocked down and you could walk right in. It was hot and they were using fire hoses to wet people down. Led Zeppelin was like no other band. Years have gone by but as I write this I'm listening to " I can't quit you baby" That was a time that will never be repeated. Being young and listening to Zeppelin.

Richard's picture

That naked guy didn't exactly "roll off" the stage (I was up front to the left side of stage)...he was actually picked up by ankles and wrists and tossed into the crowd.

kolef88's picture

Zep actually started playing in the late afternoon when it was still light out and played into the night. Check out the photos. Half are in daylight, half at night. It was a great concert.

Name's picture

True Story- me and two buddies arrived on July 4. At 4:00 a.m. on July 5,Canned Heat finished off the show and everyone had to leave the racetrack. We started helping pick up watermelon rinds (thousands of them) Someone asked as for our worker's permit badges- said we lost them. They gave us badges and told the three of us to man the three tall camera towers and help the camera guys. Had the best seat in the house for the next 36 hours. Angry "hippies" try to cut the support cables to my tower because I would not let them up.

What a time we had!!!

Bruce's picture

to kolef88...You're right about when they played. Just shows you what being a little high and 40 years can do to your memory. I still like to think they rolled on late and lit the place up. Kind of fits my remembering them as the highlight!

Marty's picture

I was 16, still in high school. I had seen one copy of Zep's 1st lp a few days before at Sears, but didn't look to see who was in the band. I didn't know who they were, but was aware of Jimmy Page being in The Yardbirds. About half the acts were unknown to the crowd as they weren't yet getting local airplay. My favorite group at the time was Canned Heat (I loved their 40 minute Re-Fried Boogie), who played the festival. By the time the festival was over I was more excited about Johnny Winter and Led Zep. A local AM station was playing songs by the festival acts that morning as we drove down and I heard Communication Breakdown for the 1st time. Most of them, including Led Zep still weren't getting airplay yet. Grand Funk drove all the way down from Michigan to open the festival. They played for free for the exposure. The crowd loved them and they came back to Atlanta 2-3 times in the next year. Zep played late in the afternoon. It was still light out when their set ended. I found out 20 minutes before they came on that Jimmy Page was in the band so I was psyched to see them. I was just starting to get off on LSD for the 1st time when Zep went onstage. They played after Spirit. I remember how appropo it was that Spirit played Fresh Garbage since we were sitting in garbage. From the opening notes the announced crowd of 110,000 was on their feet in awe of the incredible sounds coming from the stage. I doubt if more than 5,000 in the crowd had ever heard them before. I stood on a cooler most of the set. It took less than an hour for Jimmy Page to become my favorite guitarist (still is). I remember the orange sun lowering in the sky behind the stage as their set ended. I remember at one point Plant was swirling the mike above his head. The crowd screamed for what seemed like an eternity for more but they didn't come back. People were still screaming for Zep when the next act, Blood, Sweat And Tears came on stage. They actually got booed, even though Spinning Wheel was one of the biggest hits at the time. The crowd was in no mood for them after getting destroyed by Zep. If they hadn't opened with Spinning Wheel I would have flipped out over Zep not coming back. I kept repeating the opening line of the song "What goes up must come down" to stay calm. Monday morning I raced down to Sears and bought their album and played it once or more daily for weeks, awestruck by the intensity. I went on to see Zep, the greatest live band ever, about 8 more times.

J.Michael Tilley's picture

I was personaly glad to see the naked guy removed

 

from the stage, even 40 rows (or equivently of) back he was 

a great distraction.

Bill Pearrson's picture

I was there ten feet from the stare for Johnny Rivers, Johnny Rivers, and Janice Joplin. Two weeks later I watched Apollo 11 take off from the Cape. Four days later I was in Key West watching it land on the Moon on TV. A great month.

Richard Bone's picture

My official initiation into hippiedom & all that goes with it. Don't remember much but JP's use of a violin bow made me sit up and take notice. Loved 'em. Spirit was the other reason I came (will they ever get the respect they were due?)

J.Michael Tilley's picture

Wow what a great concert, but it didn't stop with the Pop Fest. 

The next few days were filled with music at Piedmont park by 

The Dead, Bonnie and Delainy, Spirit and a few more.

The Allmond Brothers played later that week.

I sat on the bench with Greg during their performance

of Whipping Post, I won't say why I was there at that moment 

Michael Aiken's picture

Too much fun. Our old hearse...a parachute for a tent. Acid for days. What could go wrong? Zero. Went straight from Atlanta to Big Sur...Janis was playing in dirt with the regular folks. Beautiful week...

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