Friday, August 27, 2010
The 60's had it's fair share of outdoor concerts, the first major one being the Monterey International Pop Music Festival, the event provided a weekend filled with unique and amazing sights, sounds, and experiences. In 1967 (the summmer of love), two years before Woodstock, over 200,000 young people gathered in and around the Monterey County Fairgrounds for a three day celebration of MUSIC, PEACE, FLOWER-POWER AND LOVE. I've watched the DVD of the festival and my favorite performance hands down was Otis Redding.
In Europe, the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival was a far more ambitious affair than the previous years line-up, which only had Jefferson Airplane as the overseas headliner and not a lot of other big names to back them up. The 1969 line-up was far more heavyweight. With the BIG Z as the drawcard , none other than Bob Dylan himself,(who had not performed since his he was hurt from a motorcycle accident in 1966) and bands like The Who and The Band taking support roles, and this festival was be guaranteed to be memorable.
Back in the U.S., on December 6, 1969 three hundred thousand people gathered in the Altamont Speedway, anticipating a day of free-spirited fun where they could listen to The Flying Burrito Brothers, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and the headliners, the Rolling Stones, who at the time were the epitome of rock and roll music. The Altamont Free Concert was expected to be the Woodstock of the West, and was promoted as "three days of peace and music", but instead became an infamous event plagued with violence that included four people dying and the death of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s.
The speedway was ill suited for such a massive turnout, as was the security provided by the Hells Angels biker gang, who were paid in beer for their services.They were The situation, fueled by drugs and alcohol, deteriorated over the course of the festival, culminating in near riots close to the stage as the Stones started their headlining set.The concert was documented and released on a DVD by the Stones aptly named Gimme Shelter.
Music Festival in Venice Beach, CA
Isle of Wight
(Images scanned by me from: Hippie by Barry Miles, San Francisco in the Sixties, Pop Sixties; photos by: David Hurn, Dennis Stock, Elliot Landy, Henry Diltz)