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Memories from the Atlanta Pop Festival of 1970
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Name: james
City/State: byron,ga
Date: Mon Aug 16 23:06:19 2004
Was 11 years old when it happened...was living in centerville ga at the time...3 miles or so away as the crow flys..but remember being out in the back yard at night and hearing the music playing..it was that loud...remember riding down hiway 49 with my mother on our way to macon and crossing over the creek and seeing all the naked people cooling off.....my mom didnt think it was so cool but i did...
Name: Wayne Gilmore
City/State: Orlando Floridia
Date: Sat Aug 14 22:36:10 2004
The evening of the first day two buddies of mine (one who had just returned from Viet Nam) were hanging around a Dairy Queen in Decatur looking for chicks or whatever. One of the guys says he knows of a pop Festival in Byron Ga. and we should go--. Well we scraped up what we could - just enought for tickets and a little food and off we went in a then new 1969 Chevy Impala.

We got there about midnight and found a parking space along the road and went to explore. After going in to the concert area that night as I recall we listened to Mountian play "Mississippi Queen". We soon returned to the car, slept in the car till morning. I remember there was a van nearby with soom dude triping out running down the road screming his head off and a group of bikers who seemed to spend all night trying to crank their choppers.

The next morning we set out walking around and found a small lake (pond) nearby where many people bathing (most were naked). The water was about the color of Coffee with cream in it.

One thing that stick in my mind is the amount of drugs that were around. In the concert area there were trailers set up with windows and menus of what was available. and girls with trays around their neck like cigarette girls selling various drugs. All this in spite of the anouncment from then Gov. Lester Madox stating that he would send State Patrol to stop such things. All in all it was quite an experiance and will never be forgotten------

Name: Ed Brown
City/State: Atlanta GA
Date: Mon Aug 2 22:38:26 2004
I remember what an incredible disapointment the 2nd festival was. The first one at Atlanta Int'l Raceway in 1969 was just so much better. The bands actually showed up and the music went on and on and the people were just so much cooler. I thought the 1970 festival was a fucking drug sale with a couple of bands thrown in. There was definitely something in the air that was really unfriendly. I was only 18 and may not have been ready for such an "in your face" event. Maybe I was seeing the birth of the "me" generation. The vibes though were rarely good and the karma felt unhealthy.

I remember the Hell's Angels pushing people around who were just trying to get out of the middle of the field when the lightning bolts were hitting the fucking ground. They claimed there was some injured person in the car they were trying to get down the road. There wasn't. I only remember how most of the bands didn't show and that there was so much more meanness in the crowd. I guess I just compare it with the 1969 festival when the people were all so good to each other and we met so many great new bands. I'd never heard of Grand Funk Railroad or Chicago Transit Athority and I'd never heard Led Zeplin or seen Janis Joplin in person.

I even remember how cool it was hearing about this festival coming up that August in New York somewhere. Where the hell was White Lake? Too far from Georgia, but hey, they'll be back here next summer right? What a disapointment. Something happened to us after 1969. Festivals were over and Byron was a bust.
Name: John Boggs
City/State: Atlanta, GA
Date: Fri Jul 2 00:29:15 2004
I grew up near Chastain Park and graduated from Dykes High School in 1970-the "4 of 9" that later became the Hampton Grease Band were regular performers at some of our functions. I still recall Bruce doing an entire "dance show" from a wheelchair. Weird.

I attended both pop festivals and have many great memories from each. I mostly recall that my dad said I was going to be grounded for a year if I went to the 2nd one-and he kept his word. We rented a Ryder truck and about 8-9 of us rode in the back all the way from Buckhead to Hampton. Not sure how we didn't get CO poisoning. We we all just kids, just into the music, and of course, looking to get laid. Also, of course, we never did but we sure got any eyeful anyway.

As for the music, I have better recollections of the first one-highlight for me was the Led Zeppelin show when the "nekkid guy" kept jumping up during "Dazed and Confused" (I think it was) and dancing around Plant with some sort of star on a stick. Finally, someone took the initiative and brained the guy with a beer bottle it appeared and the show went on. I guess my biggest disappointment was Jimi Hendrix-not his fault but let me explain. I guess it was about 11 pm and Poco played til about 12:30. I loved those guys. They announced that Hendrix was coming up but somehow Rare Earth ended up going before. Back in those days, the requisite drum solo was becoming popular. Friggin' Rare Earth played "Get Ready" for what seemed lik 2 hours-not including the 30 minute drum solo. Well, I'd been up all night the night before talking baseball with my best friend cause he took something that didn't agree with him and that was all I could get him to talk about without-you know, freaking out. So, being worn out, I laid down in the mud, waking only to hear the sounds of the fireworks from Jimis National Anthem. I guess I rolled back over and slept the rest of the show. Of course, my buddy that I had helped the pm before, just let me sleep. Thanks, pal.

I don't recall much aggravation, I do recall falling in love, er lust a few times. We went early, got a good parking spot, actually paid for our tix and just had a blast. My dad sort of lost it when I got home-he just didn't buy the "only going for the music" thing. But that's all it was for me. He really did keep his word and I was grounded for most of my senior year in highschool.

Thanks for the site. I can't wait to read some others comments. John Boggs
Name: Carl "The Rabbit" Pruett
City/State: Griffin, GA
Date: Thu Jul 1 02:52:47 2004
First- Thanks Carter for having this site! Brings back a lot of good times when things were a lot simpler. It just struck me tonight, I played on the stage at Byron, where Duane Allman played, about a year later! It was for the Janis Joplin/Jimi Hendrix Memorial Pop Festival; and my band The Greasy Peace Band played along with a ton of other good local acts, plus Joplin's band. I was 20 when I went to the first Atlanta Pop festival in Hampton at Atlanta Speedway. Met some incredible folks, and I seem to remember Grand Funk Railroad being so loud, it was said they could be heard on Peachtree Street in Atlanta- 20 miles away! Their amps were stacked 15 feet high behind them. And if I'm correct,a big highlight was Johnny Rivers late night entrance- his band started, the spot lights started crossing the sky, and in he came, guitar around his neck, dangling from a helicoter ladder, lowered onto the stage! Ice and cold beer was expensive at that show if you didn't have any. Was said there was no ice to be had in a 4 county area for 3 days.

At the second Atlanta Pop fest- Byron- most of my band went just to party and dig the scene. My drummer Sam "The Snake" Gamble, and I rode down a day before it began and melted right in to the event. We set up camp just across the street from the main stage and racetrack, back in the woods. Turned out there was a kind of camping area with a coverd pavillion where we saw some free bands and jams. Hendrix and some other names must have heard about this area; had folks dropping in, playing a few tunes, then moving on. It was a 24 hour circus.

Yeah, we all rode the car hoods down to the bottom of the hill, and jumped in the muddy little river to cool off. I met an old gal I used to date from Atlanta, doing an "au nateural" cannonball from the bridge- nearly drowned her! All the bands were loud and we loved it. Met a lot nice new folks, never ran into any hassles, and relished every minute! My gang were all in college at Ga. Southwestern in Americus- fairly close to Byron, so we had a lot of people we knew there, and we all looked out for each other.

Looking at the old pictures makes me realize how lucky I was to have an adventure like this. Thanks Alex Cooley for being crazy enough to pull 2 pop festivals off like this! Never again will it be possible to put on a show of this magnitude; that many top stars from all over the world, with half a million or so folks, all getting along fairly well, enjoying some damn good music!

Great memories; but really strange- I hung around the Allmans and a lot of southern groups in the late 60's- early 70's- and Duane is "THE MAN" on guitar-period; but until I saw the Channel 2/Atlanta TV special tonight (6-30-04) on Alex Cooley and the festivals, with Carter's web site mentioned, I never considered that I was standing, playing my Gibson and my heart out, on the same stage, about a year later! It really was a very special time- thanks for the memories!!! The Greasy Peace Band is no more, but at 54, I'm still rocking- opening up concerts for major groups and closing down the finest little bars in the south with the Buckeye Band- Peace and love to all my brothers and sisters that made it through those wonderful times! Rabbit
Name: Mars
Date: Thu Jul 1 02:51:21 2004
It took my friends and I 24 hours to get to Byron, GA from Columbus, Ohio (normally a 12 hour trip back in 1970). We had two flat tires and our Corvair kept overheating. We had to park in an empty lot on the west side of I-75 and walk to the event.

I remember it being VERY HOT, a lot of great music, and a lot of people. I remember swimming naked in the lake or river somewhere in the area and making love to a guy in the back of the crowd while Jimi Hendrix was playing the Star Spangled Banner. Of course, I remember a lot of drugs and not worrying about anything bad happening. It was just fun!

I have similar pictures like the one of the group on the highway riding on cars, and more of the stage and people everywhere. I also still have my "program" telling who will be at the event each day. Thanks for sharing and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.
Name: Hugh Fenlon
City/State: Clarkesville, GA
Date: Fri Jun 11 12:37:50 2004
I was 16 and 17 and living in Atlanta during the two Atlanta Pop Festival and went to both. I'm not sure what made a bigger impression on me, the music or the social scene which gave me a feeling of being accepted into a huge family. Nearly everyone was friendly and putting out great vibes. Sure some of it was probably drug induced, but I was a straight arrow at the time and still felt part of something big.

I bought tickets to both festivals in advance and drove down with a friend. At Byron, we found a parking place pretty close to the entrance. I remember seeing the bikers (the Outlaws) guarding the entrance gate on the way in. I remember noticing that part (or all) of the audience was sitting on a soybean field. We found a spot probably 75 yards from the stage. The crowd was mostly 'weekend hippies' like myself. Still, there were a good number of genuine hippies - flower children, freaks, free spirits, street people... I admired them as elders spreading the peace and love lifestyle.

The music was awesome. I've been trying to recall all the bands at the two Pop festivals and have come up with a list but I can't be sure which bands played at which Festival. But these I remember for sure. At the First Atlanta Pop Festival (at Hampton Speedway) Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin were most memorable. Zep were a new sensation so they had an afternoon spot. Jimmy Page played his extended guitar solo on Dazed & Confused which left the audience breathless. Janis came on in a blue see-through blouse with her bottle of Southern Comfort and sang her heart out.

Other bands that played at the festival: Allman Bros. Band (both festivals) Hampton Grease Band, Radar, Poco, It's a Beautiful Day, Delaney, Bonnie(Bramlet) & Friends, Spirit, Mountain, Lee Michaels, Staple Singers, Johnny Winter, Chambers Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Sebastian, Country Joe & the Fish?, Tommy James & the Shondells, Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Ian & Sylvia, Cactus, Bloodrock, Ten Years After, Grand Funk Railroad, Ten Wheel Drive, Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, Richie Havens, Procol Harum, Rare Earth

Memorable music moments for me include: Hendrix of course playing star spangled banner with fireworks overhead but also his long version of Red House, Spirit playing in the afternoon with the drummer Ed 'Cass' Cassidy doing a drum solo and drumming down the cymbal stand, across the stage and up a mic stand and playing with the crowd.

Johnny Winter with in top form playing electric blues like 'Highway 61' !!!

Rare Earth doing their long version of 'Get Ready'

Allman Brothers starting a long song (Dreams?)in the rain during which it stopped drizzling.

Going to sleep back at the car while listening to Procol Harum playing a 'Whiter Shade of Pale'

the energy of the Chambers Brothers playing 'Time'

I remember there was a dj named Ed Shane for WPLO, the progressive rock station in Atlanta who introduced many of the bands at one or both festivals. He introduced Tommy James and the Shondells saying something like 'some people call this bubble gum music, but give em a chance...' They brought the audience around with a psychedilic sounding 'Crimson & Clover.'

Though I didn't smoke pot at the time, I got a great contact high from the people around me. I turned down many offers for a toke until someone on stage asked everyone to roll a joint and pass it to your neighbor. that's when I had my first taste of the sweet smelling stuff.

The days were so hot ( I got a bad sunburn) that when dusk came and a gently breeze stirred, it was truly heaven! Yes, those were special days. I still flash someone a peace sign on occaision to try to bring back the feeling of those times.
Name: S.Waller
Date: Wed Jun 2 11:50:53 2004
To be quite honest, I don't remember.I was there though, I was a baby then. My parents and I lived in a small town just south of Byron,"Warner Robins,Ga." Anyway everybody told them, "Man you can't miss this thing,it's history in the making".So, they got in my Dad's 1966 Fastback Plymouth Barracuda and hauled ass out there.

Actually, I grew up out there,I raced motorcycles on that race track with my buddies when I got to be old enough to handle a big street motorcycle. Anyway, I'm a musician now,"34"y.o. and I do feel somewhat "special" because, I got to be there with all those people and that event. I know a little something about music, cause ,I can play a mean guitar myself,now listen to this,"here is wisdom" I have heard some of the music from that festival, mostly ABB and Hendrix. Brother Duane and Jimi Jams could absolutley rock. Some people are blessed with a little divinity inside of them, but, I mean,Sweet Heaven above, these guys were just filled with divinity,abundantly, overflowing with refined talent.It is such a loss that Duane crashed his bike Oct.29,1971.It's been hard to cope with that tragic Friday evening before Halloween in Macon,Ga. Of course Jimi Hendrix went to the beyond in London' England a couple of months after the pop fest. I myself continue to be inspired by Hendrix and Brother Duane and feel lucky to have breathed the same air as all the people attending that weekend, in a roundabut way.

I have no way to know if this is true,but,"Brother Duane, and the rest of the Allmans, for all I know", supposedly checked me out in the hospital in Macon,Ga. My mother has always said that when I was born,"August 25,1969", in The Macon Hospital, Duane's daughter,"Galadrial Allman", was born at the same hospital at the same time as was I, and that Duane A. was looking at the new born's while G.A. was being born,Mom said, he and some other musicians jammed some on acoustic instruments, and kinda freaked out the hospital staff. According to her the hospital staff thought of them as like,"dangerous types and were frightened of them,"The Allman Bros." I've always felt a special connection to the Allmans I'm working out a song written in sincere appriciation of all the Allmans for giving us such great music thru the years.

By the way,I have one of those,"Atl.Intn.PopFest. posters I've been reading about.I also have an original ticket stub for July the 3rd. I might entertain an offer if it was suitable.My uncle gave it to me when I was about ten y.o. and I always held on to it. Someone offered me 200.00 dollars for it in Athens,Ga. back in the late 80's,some restaraunt owner wanted it for his establishment. I held on to it though.Chow,S.C.W.

Name: Ed Chatterton
City/State: Bellingham WA
Date: Wed Jun 2 11:50:53 2004
Well, I'm wanting to contact survivors interested in being interviewed for my Master's Thesis about the Festival. Serious responses only, please, because you will be quoted and cited in a historical analysis. Yes, I was there; got in the Sunday before the festival. Great music, great times for most folks. Once again, please contact me if you wish to contribute to the research. Why is it that this great rock/counter-culture event is so neglected in the collective public memory??? Let's try to tell the forgetful world what really went down...Ed Chatterton contact at ejchattert@comcast.net
Name: Nancy
City/State: Jacksonville Florida
Date: Fri May 28 19:40:13 2004
Yep... that's right... that's me on top of the VW with the two guys. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw the photo about 2 years ago. I do remember it being taken by a "guy" inside a VW bus (out the back window) I had just been picked up by my friends in the VW, at the Greyhound Bus Station. My mom thought that the ride to and from Atlanta would be the big danger, so the only way I could go was by the bus. he he he... little did she know what I would be up to when I got there!!!!

We saw the two other guys, that are on top of the bug, walking ... and we knew them from Jacksonville Fl so we gave them a ride. They hopped on top of the bug.... I deceided they had the best seat (because of the heat) so I jumped out and climbed up there with them.

We found parking pretty close by.... under the big oaks, I couldn't find the car again for 3 days....not that I was looking. Within an hour of this picture being taken.. I was in a jammed up crowd at a gate trying to get in.... The heat got too much for me..... and probably the big breakfast of grits and eggs didn't help either... So right in the middle of the body to body crowd... I started projectial vomiting!! Yep.... if you got hit.... It was me! Needless to say I parted the crowd like Moses and the red sea. Someone "Official" grabbed me and pulled me in the gate and put me in a car and drove me backstage. I believe the OD tents were not operational yet. OMG.... What a stroke of luck (getting sick) I spent most of the 1st day backstage, sitting half under the stage (in the shade) and next to the steps up to the stage. Janis Joplin, the Allman Brothers.... they were all there.. just hanging out. What a memory!!! This was my first memory at Atlanta... I have more... to be continued nancy
Name: jim wiggins again
City/State: atlanta, ga
Date: Fri May 7 13:36:59 2004
Well to talk about the festival or show or space trip or whatever it was. I had been in possesssion of several of the posters from a trip to another Florida pop festival. Don't remember which one.

So I called International Ventures on the phone in Atlanta. I literally talked Mike Nolan into hiring me to work on the site. It was not easy at least I thought not at the time. So Irene my beautiful wife and I go down to Lamar Brown's MIddle Georgia Raceway about two weeks ahead of time. I got put on the crew building the stage right away. Hit it off with the man in charge and worked around the clock it seemed to complete the thing. it was a speedy time. i met some great folks. a band called Wet Willie came up from Mobile to play for the construction crew. Jimmy and Jack Hall, Lewis, Rickie, and John. That's when Jimmy first fell for Amanda Gray (what a name and what a georgeous soul)

Most of the rest of crew was from Memphis (where they lived together) - had come over together especially for the big build - with a smattering of locals. Their crew chief was known as Bear.

I also met this sign painter named Richard Greene - gotta a great shot of richard puffing away in the crew tent. And there was also Jay Brodsky from when I lived on 14th Steet in Hotlanta. I became great friends with Richard and am still so.

Well there's just too much to cover - the stage gets built - I get stagemanager along with little Chuck and away we go.

I don't remember the order of bands. I do remember these events, I think.

Hold a plastic tarp above the Allmans as they played in the rain. Jimi Hendrix playing and sitting right 10feet away with Bill Mankin shooting photos with my old Yashica twin lens. Great pictures. The Tom Fields lighting crew and all those great fixtures we hung. Alex Cooley as being a big bear of a man. John Sebastian and this blonde lady he was "with". The power of Felix Paplardi and Leslie West of Mountain. Setting up and taking the Allman Brothers Band everytime I turned around. The film crew being it seemed all over the place - at least around the stage and back stage area. Taking a shower outdoors complete naked with two ladies doing the same and losing my wedding rings - symbolic and portending of things to come. Being tired and not reallycaring. Frank Hughes and STeve Cheatam's light show. The heat and the water and a mixture of the crowd making a sea of humanity. the large "all seeing" eye painted on the fence dead center stage from the dollar bill. A speed freak who stayed up the entire construction and performance working security at the only gate leading into the site through the peacan orchard. Not leaving the backstage area for about six days straight. Freaking out because I thought the stage was falling (the casters were cutting through the decking on the equipment floats) it was true but didn't call for my overreaction. The final morning (Monday) and the cast of Hair doing most of music and feeling really crispy. Shooting photos of them from one of the side scaffoding towers.

It was truly an event out of time and space that I still blessed to have attended and worked and photographed.

Click here to open a new window with my images.

Carter Tomassi is a very generous and talented indiviual for all he has done and especially for this site and letting us (me) ramble on and time trip back to the best of times the worst of times.

Thank you so much Carter!!!
Name: boss
City/State: st. louis, mo
Date: Sun Apr 25 23:57:10 2004
I was 21. Three of us came down from st. louis, mo. Two white boys, KC and myself and our black brother CB the bassman. KC told us about the festival, was it on Thursday or Friday.? We took the "hound" (bus) from St. Louis to Atlanta. Arrived at Atlanta bus station sometime in the night. Crowded.

We weren't the only ones there for the festival. Somehow found someone going down to Byron; A real stoner with an old car. As we got closer it got more crowded. Eventually we all just abandoned the car and walked in. Saw the lights of the stage far off in the distance. It was a free festival by that time, who knows when - on Friday night or Saturday morning. Waded in.

We styled ourselves experts at getting close at concerts. Saturday was hot as everyone remembers. We just had some plastic ponchos to sit on; center stage pretty close. It was all peace love dove for us. I am surprised to learn that Altamont and the rise of the bikers had already happened. We didn't see it there. I most remember looking back into the audience, away from the stage, and seeing acres and acres of faces, hippie faces, staring and all thousands of heads bobbing in time to the music. Saw the marketplace in the trees. Sklnny dippers in the river. I went out to go to the jon and found people at a truck who were giving out watermelons. My bro's were most appreciative. The full truth can only be revealed to a few and most don't care. So much going on the bands are hard to remember.

Chambers Brothers for sure...Time... Lee Michaels.. Johnny Winter. What an afternoon! I just barely stayed up for Jimi. I saw him come on in red flowing costume. The highlight, but our lids were heavy. Don't remember any fireworks. When you gotta crash you gotta crash. What a historic sleep.

Woke up to some local band, called the Allmans. Not bad. Did I see Richie Havens or was it the Woodstock movie? How did we get home? Like one writer says; spent the next few years trying to get back to that "place" but eventually realized you can't go back. I hope they make that movie someday. Thanks for the website.

Name: James Simmons
City/State: Carnesvile, Ga.
Date: Fri Apr 23 15:36:54 2004
I was 18, just finished my freshman year ay Presbyterian College in S.C. I was straight at the time, but loved music. My brother was 14 and already an acid head. he had hitched down to byron a week earlier. I rode the bus from Spartanburg S.C. Had to change busses in Atlanta, and arrived at the fest site about 2:00 AM. It was incredibly hot. I pitched my tent, put on a pair of gym shorts and went exploring. I went past the pool, and went in to the men's side of the dressing room to pee and there was a chick in there taking a shower!! I started to leave, but she said "come on in!" That blew my mind!!! Later on, while sitting around the campsite, a joint came around, and I thought what the heck? As I had the joint in my hand, I felt someone behind me. I turned around, and it was my brother!

My main memories are of the music; Hendrix playing the National Anthem to fireworks and purple haze; Procol Harum playing right after it rained and getting a contact high from the crowd during whiter shade of pale; Listening to grand funk play heartbreaker and closer to home with the music echoing off the fences; Being front row for Johnny Winter's set.And just walking around and realizing that we were a bigger city than Atlanta and that , for the most part,were at peace. It was the first time in my life that I felt accepted no matter who or what I was.

I have to be careful describing my experiences to my grandkids, because I don't want to make it seem "cool"to them but it was a life changing time for me!

I came back to atlanta a year later on the fourth, slept on a picnic table in piedmont park, and ended up joining the children of god. That lasted about 2 days until I realized how phoney they were. I ended up working as a volunteer at the Aurora, on the corner of 10th and peachtree.I did that all summer. If threr's anyone out there who has pictures of Aurora, I'd love to see them.

After college, I lived on the Farm in Summertown Tenn. for 2 years. Peace, James Simmons
Name: Bill Delamar
City/State: Raleigh, NC
Date: Tue Apr 20 21:00:50 2004
I met my wife of 34 years in the crowd of 500,000 people. As it turned out she was the girl next door, because she rented a room next door to my parents in Durham, NC when I left for NC State. She did know a friend of mine in a crowd that introduced us.I had never seen her before that time.

I hitchedhiked from Durham, NC to Byron and was picked up by Chris Saling from PA who was in a convoy of hippies going to the festival. If you are out there Chris, please contact me! I would love to see you again!Chris and I were inseparable for days, and obviously were fast friends.

It was a leap of faith that we all took. Young, hopeful, and wanting to experience sex, drugs, and rock and roll. We had to deal with the War and the Nixon years. We lacked the perspective to know that little would change poltically over our lives, but we had hope and dreams. My life was about to change because of Vietnam; probably good I didn't know that.

I think I needed to escape from the world that we had to deal with to the world that expressed Love, hope, truthfulness, and joy. I found that in this place at that point in time. I truely love those people that I met, and hope that their lives have been happy and fulfilling.

There were mostly good and some bad aspects of this gathering. The only bad that was significant was watching a Hell's Angel wrap a chain around a pregnant woman's stomach and being so high that I could not defend her. I hope that that guy receives his just reward. I pray she was OK. I regret that I did nothing.

I remember BB King telling Chris and I that we had to get off his car. He had parked it in the crowd for some reason and we had, in our infinite wisdom, decided that we would sit there. It was a great seat. He walked straight at us after his show and said, in a easy tone, "you guys got to get off my car". We got off with some effort and watched as he drove slowly though the packed crowd. Thanks BB!! Great show!

I had so many friends at this concert that I never saw in the week that I stayed; but maybe I was meant to make friends-and I did. I rememer the stages with music, the river, the highway patrol in long sleaves when it was 100 degrees+ naked people, a drug market tghat overpowered the authorities and more. That was a special time! Nothing like that would happen today because the local, State, or federal government would never let it happen. This country has changed and few seem to see how much.
Name: John Holmstrom
City/State: Connecticut
Date: Sun Apr 11 22:35:21 2004
My good friend Rick Brennan and I hitched all the way from Connecticut for this. And it was worth it. Every minute. I can't believe no one has mentioned Grand Funk Railroad. They got the biggest "pop" of ANYONE at the festival (although Rick and I thought they were bogus). But if any band got over that weekend, it was Grand Funk. It seemed like the Allman Brothers were playing every five minutes, I wasn't that impressed with them at the time. It seemed like they had a deal worked out with the promoters or something... We thought they were being over-hyped. I remember The Chamber Brothers doing a great set ("Time" was a big hit back then") and Ten Years After killed! They recreated their Woodstock set ("I'm Goin' Home!), and people seem to forget now that they were its biggest breakout band at the time. The worst band of all (as usual) was John Sebastian, he put me to sleep. Just awful. I missed some great bands because of that bastid. We left as Richie Havens was starting his set, which cemented the whole Woodstock connection... Believe me, this was as close as Woodstock as you could get. And the Jimi Hendrix set had to be one of his greatest performances of all time... I don't think the CD (from "Stages") does it justice but...I just think you had to be there.
Name: Barbara Reynaus (Brock)
City/State: Houston, Tx
Date: Wed Apr 7 18:59:48 2004
We drove all night to get to the Mid-Atlanta Speedway early in the morningl. We were a caravan from Lafayette, Louisiana. 6 or 7 of us sat on the floor of a panel van with no windows. ha ha We got there and made it to the stage. Must have been 3 miles away. Left early one night only to hear in the distance, Jimmy Hendrix "Star Spangled Banner" So bummed out. Too far to get back to the stage. Saw a guy dragging a big cross on his back talking about Jesus. I am now a Born-Again Christian and I now know what that was all about. There's NO HIGH like the MOST HIGH!
Name: Joseph McCarter
City/State: Brewton,Alabama
Date: Fri Apr 2 15:18:39 2004
I was on leave ... on my way the Hawaii for the next 2 years...a couple of friends and I started out from Camp Lejune, NC...and headed for my house...which was 3 or 4 miles from Byron...Centerville,Ga...I had never smoked pot or done any type of drug...but that all changed...I had one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life...I enjoyed the whole scene...my brother now lives in the pine grove across from the race track where everybody was camped...Jimi on stage while doing opium laced pot...wow..one of the best times of my life...There is a pictorial story of the 2nd Annual Pop Festival called Fest on the Fourth...I still have my copy....what a good time...
Name: David Nelms
City/State: Jacksonville,Florida
Date: Tue Mar 23 13:51:00 2004
Cars,vans,buses lined up trying to get into the area. Camped in the pecan grove with 4 buddies, great spot. Hells Angels at the gate with pistols on their sides watching us enter. The heat was unbearable, people passing out, got dizzy and went to the rear to the medical tents for for water and salt pill. Lots of people back there getting attention. Hendrix,Ballin Jack, all great. Looking around at my neighbors, girls with their tops off, passing around lots of good smoke. Ran out of food near end, some church group came around campsite selling fried chicken dinners. Best tasting chicken I ever had. Will never forget that adventure. I was 20 and going in the Navy soon after returning from this. Peace always.
Name: Fred Barker
City/State: Byron, Georgia
Date: Tue Mar 23 11:01:14 2004
I worked for the Union 76 Service Station during the festival. Was a wild time!..I am looking for photos and or video of the festival.Can anyone provide copies?
Name: Art
City/State: Detroit Michigan
Date: Sun Mar 14 20:10:56 2004
Can you please tell me any information about the Group "Savage Grace" who played there during this time. 1970? Where can I find a file or pictures of Savage Grace from this concert? Thanks Art
Name: Tom Wells
City/State: Cypress, TX
Date: Fri Mar 12 01:40:57 2004
I was raised Miami and living there then when Atlanta Pop rolled around. This was diffinitely during the Vietnam era and being of draft age I felt extremely lucky to have been sent to Korea when I got drafted in Oct 68. Had a very stony time there mostly due to my bud Don D. from San Fran who scored some outrageous psychodelics from home in the mail - but I digress. Out of the Army in May of 70 I hitched and partied my way back to Miami from Seattle. Its so hard to convey the spirit of freedom and revolution that was in the air back in that time. We were between Elvis and the Stones - and the Blackbird singing in the dead of night. What a glorious time.

I can't remember all the details cause part of the thing was being stoned. I left Miami hitchhiking to get an early start but was going to hook up with my buddy John and some of his "fraternity buddies" when they drove up the next day. We said "meet you there" like there was no possibility that we wouldn't touch base in a crowd of 600,000.

Like magic I awoke the next day after camping out and saw my bud driving in. Traffic was bumper to bumper the whole festival - so if someone was was driving you had a fair chance of seeing them - even with the thousands there. One of the major memories was hopping on a trunck or hood - with permission - in the standstill traffic - to "hitch" a ride.

These guys had tents and all that other stuff and we set up camp together. One of the shortages that my stoned ass self had not anticipated was water in the South in the summer time. I was not alone in this respect and there was a shortage of containers even - not to mention water. There were a few spigots here and there and long lines just to get a sip - with or without a container to stash for later. I remember waiting in the hot Georgia summertime sun and many a compassionate soul would walk by with a freshly filled container and offer a sip to those of us still waiting in line. It wasn't untill later that I remember some had a stranger twinkle in the eye when they offered their containers - I can still remember faintly the glimmer of the eye of at least one such offering - but my suspision is that I was dosed with LSD from more than one plastic jug while waiting in line.

I can remember leaving there - "trunck riding" down towards the swimming hole - and skinny dipping in this gloriously cool grotto with a hundred other hippies. I'll take the memory of this voluptuous, dark haired, sloe eyed beauty - that showed me her body and her soul with no reservations and not an ounce of shame. Oh my God - what a memory.

Later, later - much later - in my friends tent - coming down from what turned out to be a day long and into the night trip - I heard a guitar call - over the PA - and I knew it was Hendrix - and I was called out of the safety of the tent to go see Jimi - all of this next is susspect cause my mind was totally reeling at this time - but I remember heading toward the concert area and a lite rain was falling - enough to make the rutted dirt roads real muddy - I remember this guy sliding off a hood and into the mud - and right or wrong I thought he was like retarded - and in any case people were laughing at his muddy shirtless self - and even he had this less than bright sort of laugh. I was at a bad end of the trip at this time - and the lighting - and the events - all came together in a wrong way for me and I got a real sleazy/evil vibe from the whole thing.

I had been running on adrenaline and LSD for about 3-4 days at this point and don't even remember the return to Miami - reason tells me that I would have returned with John and his friends - but I really have no way of knowing.

I could tell you more if you wanted to know - but this is a fair good rememberabce.


Name: newspix
City/State: NOLA
Date: Sat Feb 28 03:25:00 2004
I had a great time at the festival. I was 14, and had come up from New Orleans with a couple of friends. We went straight to the river where we encountered a guy with a large mayo jar with about a cup of kool aid and maybe ten different color tabs of acid floating around at the bottom. We each took a sip and were tripping in no time.

Being from New Orleans we were lucky, because the Allman Bro's play at a place called the Warehouse all the time, and we had seen them before, so we knew not to miss their set. After the trip to the river, no pun intended, thing got a little hazy, however I recall John Sebastian doing his set as the sun was setting, I was outside and couldn't see the stage but could still hear the music, real nice moment.

I spent some time down by the free stage and had some brown rice at the free kitchen. I remember a Coke stand along the road with two giant stacks of Coke cans, seems like they were selling for fifty cents a can. Strange how you remember stuff like that. But I don't think I had any money, and even though I don't remember the heat, I'm guessing I was hot and those Cokes looked mighty good.

I was lucky to see Hendrix, me and a friend had made our way up to the left side of the stage about ten feet from the big wooden fence in front of the stage Saturday evening. I fell asleep at some point but my buddy gave me a good shake at the end of the Chambers Bros. set and Jimi played next. Thank god for good friends, can you imagine sleeping though Jimi Hendrix doing the national anthem at midnight on the fourth of July.

The cops were cool during the festival, but they got real nasty out on the Interstate when we were trying to leave. Oh, someone mentioned seeing Hell's Angels. I did see bikers leading cars into the speedway, I think the cars had musicians in them, but I'm not sure. They bikers weren't to friendly, and I have always been wary of them since. But they weren't Angels. I think they were a group that I had actually seen around New Orleans, called the Galloping Gooses. But the bad time with the cops and the bikers was only a tiny part of my experience at the festival. As I said before I had a great time, but I must admit I feel a little sad as I post this knowing that those days are gone forever. I am glad I stumbled onto this site, and could read some of the personal stories others have left here. Hey, if there's a heaven, maybe its a big Pop Festival!!! Peace & Love from the Crescent City.
Name: dana keyes
City/State: st. augustine, fl
Date: Wed Feb 25 10:29:16 2004
Oh my God, What an AWSOME website. Yes, I was there! Grew up in Atlanta and was a teenage runaway. Even knew some of the people in your pics, worked the OD tent at the APF, worked at the Comunity Crisis Center, sold the Bird and was a Jesus Freak at the Dove House on Lindberg Ave!!! Am doing an interview for a friend (young enuff to be my daughter) for a paper about the 60's. Your pics will be a great addition!!!! Peace/Luv dana
Name: Jay Kirchheimer
City/State: Tampa, FL
Date: Sat Feb 21 20:59:05 2004
Some freinds showed up from Boulder, Co. In washinton DC where if you still can remember alot was going on that spring/summer...maches..levitating the pentagon...ect. One freind Terry showed with his MG Midget mid-june and said let's go to Georgia for the Atlanta Pop Fest. I was aprehinsive as we both were longhairs and ..well Georgia was pretty Red around the neck...he prevailed and we got to Byron after a detour to the Seashore on the Delmarva pennensula. We arrived in Byron about two days early and built a leanto in the woods which was on the way to the river where every one went to cool off. It also happened to be a back road out so we came and went for supplies as we needed them qithoput getting into the gridlock on the other side.I ran into my cousins from Florida ,a girl that I left behind in DC who found my tent with me and another girl doing the horizontal mombo .... not that much peace for a few minutes... Saw some GREAT SHOWS and am Glad I got to see Jimi ! More Time. Keep on Truckin!
Name: jack bowers
City/State: macon,georgia
Date: Sat Feb 21 00:34:50 2004
Weeks before the show their were hundreds of people hitching in front of my home in Macon. It was a sight to see--I was 16 years young-later my best friend and I were at Sea Island for vacation with his parents. Andy's father was a prominent attorney in Macon and had been to the festival with the Sherrif of Macon. They were offered lsd and various drugs. To say the least he was not happy about his son going to this gathering of hippies and dope-heads. So begain the longest week-end. Andy's parents were going to send me back to Macon on the bus but Andy finally convinced them to let us drive back.

Well, we were sneaking drinks of beer as we approached the site. Sneaking until the motorcycle with the nekkid dude and girl drove by going in the opposite direction. It was all down hill from their. Swimming in Echoconie(sp) Creek,people hitching rides all over the car, the nude slide at Vincent Valley Park. The line at the 7-11, where you would drink one 6-pack and pay for the other,running into my brother and his soon to be FBI buddy both stoned on something, wandering lost (sorta) in the woods and seeing friends from High school. Saving the tickets that are still in my photo album. The HEAT, the music, waking up to Jimi after a long day and night.A very large time was had by all...

Name: Mike Sears
City/State: Bowling Green, Ohio
Date: Mon Feb 16 15:10:48 2004
It was fantastic. The closest thing to it now is Bonnaroo.. Went last year and it was the same vibe in Tennesee and of course The Allman Brothers played at Bonanarro IIas well. Does anyone remember the sunset the day before APF2. We were driving up from Alabama and it was so intense that traffic on the interstate stopped in both directions and everyone got out to watch it. It just kept gettin' better and lasted for at least an hour. Just a litte preview of the amazing sights and sounds coming in the next 3 days.

If you want to flashback, go to Bonnaroo this year. Dylan, Dead Dave Matthews and more. Kinda disapponted that AAB is not on the bill again this year.

Name: Steve Cunningham
City/State: Fort Worth, TX
Date: Sat Feb 14 17:28:39 2004
Hi Everybody, There are now 15 pictures from the '70 Atl. Pop fest. available for viewing at: http://members.aol.com/bisoninthestone/3x33.html Peace, Steve
Name: Jimi Fan
City/State: Seattle,Washington
Date: Fri Feb 6 06:20:47 2004
Hello, Tho I wasent alive back then Im a huge Jimi Hendrix fan and this concert of Jimi`s is my all time favorite. I had a good time reading some of your guy`s memories.I whould of loved to be there at that festival exscpicialy to see Hendrix.I have one quistion to ask:Did any of you get a good view of Jimis effect pedals? and if you did how about his fuzz face or fuzz box.Because I might have found it for sale and I was wondering if you saw if it was a red Fuzz face or Blue Fuzz Face or a hippie type painted box?I have videos of Jimi playing these songs at the Atlanta Pop Festival July 4th,1970:Purple Haze,All Along The Watchtower,Hey Joe,Stone Free,Foxy Lady and Spanish Castle Magic.So if youd like to download these from me Email me and we can figure a way to send em to ya. ~Peace and happiness Jimi Fan
Name: Rich Martel
City/State: Cleveland, Oh
Date: Tue Feb 3 19:07:34 2004
Hot. 105 Plus every day. Fire trucks hoseing us down. Wateremellon trucks taking us to the local quarries to cool off and GREAT music. Little known group playing the breaks: The Alman Bros. Fell a sleep stoned and woke up after midnight to Hendrix. Worked the OD tent and shared the stage with someone, cant remember who. Had a girl friend meet me and she split with Richie Havens for awhile. I remmeber people selling acid and pot off the back of police cars and setting up booths to sell there goods as well. These booths lined the road in. Very sureal. Better than Woodstock. The best time ever
Name: E. R. Spurr
City/State: Austin, TX
Date: Sun Feb 1 16:44:06 2004
I was a college senior in NC in 1970 and went down to Atlanta Pop with some buddies specifically to see the Allman Bros. Typically, we got there late and left early (wasted), so didn't see them. Remember distinctly going down the road to a swimming hole that was guarded by locals with shotguns. Police persuaded them to go ahead and let us swim. Naked, of course.

Those were special times. We stupidly didn't bring much money and had no food. No worry. People all around were generous. Most vivid musical memories were Hendrix, Chambers Bros., Poco, Mountain, Lee Michaels, Rare Earth, on and on. Just before Jimi came on, guy standing next to me said that acid was lame and if I wanted the best stuff go to the parachute tent that was behind us to the right (we were facing the stage). They had MDA (forerunner of Ecstacy), always a brown powder in a cap, and that was the thing to do. The vibe at this show, in my experience, was very sixties, very mellow, and to this day possibly the most fun I ever had at a concert/lifestyle event.

I bought a VHS of Jimi playing Atlanta Pop that has some cool festival footage. Someone mentioned Bloodrock. A good friend of mine is a court reporter in the D-FW area and often works with the leader of that band, who is now a legal videographer. Last year I spoke with Frosty Smith, Lee Michael's drummer at the show, and we had some laughs reminiscing July 1970. He is an Austin legend and still plays regularly despite heart problems.

Tried to see the Allmans a few weeks later at Love Valley, NC, but got slipped something bad. Finally caught them in spring of '71 at Boston Music Hall. Original lineup, greatest American band of all time.

Name: Gloria Welch
City/State: Powell, TN
Date: Thu Jan 29 12:00:44 2004
I remember Jimi Hendrix singing the Star Spangled Banner and fireworks going off with one of the fireworks falling into the crowd and then people calling "medic". I've often wondered what happened over there. Aside from that, it was one of my most memorable experiences. All the kids together, swimming, the music. it was hot but that made the rain feel good. There were no fights as far as I know. Kids today are so different. I think they missed out on what people my age had in the 60's and early 70's.
Name: Beasley
City/State: Atlanta, GA
Date: Mon Jan 19 15:02:12 2004
i was bummed ... i missed it, dude ... i was home from uga on summer break & missing my athens and atlanta freak friends & living in bellville ga outside claxton about 1/2 way from savannah to byron that summer & was supposed to get a ride from my new claxton pals kathryn & jeannette but they got ripped & forgot to pick me up & my aunt d wouldn't loan me her car ... nobody else i knew was going so i started to hitch a ride, but then i got sidetracked or something ... always a big regret that i let that one slide ...
Name: Beatle
City/State: maineville, ohio
Date: Tue Jan 13 09:13:01 2004
i was an air force brat living in warner robins...a short distance from byron. i was working at the base golf course on the night watering crew (in those days, you screwed the sprinklers in by hand!). saturday morning, we were finishing up when a vw bus pulls up with about 5-6 freaks in it. the guy driving was a dependent from somewhere else and his windshield sticker got him on base. they were looking for refuge from the storm...a little peace and quiet, get cleaned up, and eat a decent meal (they were on their 3rd day). to make a long story even longer...they told my workmates and i that it was now a free festival. We let them hose off behind the maintenance shacks, and bought some grilled cheeses and cokes in the golf course snack bar. they responded by offering a hit each of purple haze for me and my friend. the acid was 4-way so we held onto it...called our girlfriends...and headed to byron. the closer we got to byron, the less lucid my memories become. i do remember the entrance was made up of long plywood "chutes" with freaks sitting on top of each side. nearly all had something to sell or share. i distinctly remember being blown shotguns by nearly everybody we walked by. at 16 and not much of a party animal, i was soon comotose. the next thing i remember was fireworks, hendriz, and the star bangled banner. we were far from the stage but i remember seeing him quite clearly. a lavendar leather outfit, complete with headscarf and sleeve fringe. mostly, i remember the guitar. his signiture strat, lavendar in color with a white lace print on the front. to this day, my friend denies that i could have seen that detail from that distance. my query to you who were there, and saw jimmi up close: am i right about the outfoot and guitar??? when we left on sunday, we found a huge german sheppard had jumped into the open window of tim's car, and was aggressively defended his new territory. it only added to the surrealness of the whole affair. i'll never forget that little piece magic and know unless you shared it too, you'll never understand.
Name: glenn morris
City/State: atlanta,georgia
Date: Sat Jan 10 11:26:35 2004
we slept under the car-john edwards and glenn morris. we ate cherry cooler cookies and sampled the circulationg purple elixir. we met several ladies and watched bbking,rare earth.and jimi hendrix. the expression- "far-out"-was totally in- as well as the salt tabs in the sun.each area of water like the pool on the property-ws muddied from naked divers. the allmans played in the am - sweet melissa.
Name: Greg
City/State: Chattanooga, TN
Date: Sat Dec 27 16:51:30 2003
I don't know what festival Bucky Neustadt went to but it wasn't the 2nd Atlanta Pop Festival (see his comments below). I don't want to say he's just a big fucking liar so I'll say he's confused. Janis Joplin was NOT there. Hell's Angels didn't bring her in, nor did she fire a handgun. The Army did not drive up with a truck full of pot and sell hand fulls for $20! None of that happened. Bucky... come back to earth Brother. You are going to confuse dopers who were really there! ORIGINAL TEXT BY BUCKY FOLLOWS: Bucky Neustadt City/State: Jacksonville, FL Date: Sun Nov 2 13:17:03 2003 Wrote... On the second day there I remember seeing a Army truck setting up camp just behind ours. Everyone was extremely paranoid, thinking that the National Guard was called in. The two GI's got out and pulled the canvas cover off the back of the truck, and we were all surprised to see it completely full of marijuana! They put up a sign, "$20 per handful". God, what a great time that was. The free stage in the woods was the best. The Alman Brothers Band got so high, that they had to stop playing for an hour so they could sober up to play. The way they introduced Janis Joplin was history in my eyes. A roar came from the other end of the racetrack as a group of REAL Hell'd5s Angels were approaching. The lead bike was a three-wheeler with Janis standing up on the back of it waiving and drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel'd5s bourdon. They got close to the stage and she got up and stumbled twice trying to get to the microphones. She finally screams, 'd2Who Fuck'd5n wants to hear some rock n'd5 roll'd3 and shoots a handgun into the air.
Name: Greg King
City/State: Chattanooga, TN
Date: Sat Dec 27 16:07:33 2003
3 friends and I drive down from just north of Atlanta on Friday morning. We hit light traffic but nothing severe. We went out into the pecan groves and pitched our tents and then began walking around. I was wearing my American Flag pants which got dirty looks from the Byron locals. That afternoon we decided to go up the road to a gas station to fill our water cans, and WOW... the traffic was killer! We hopped onto the hood of a car for a ride and although we didn't travel any faster than walking, we did save energy. After filling our cans we headed back to the festival the same way, via car hood. As we walked the grounds, we saw every kind of drug being hawked. There was even a man with a straw hat & cane pointing out different varieties of pot which was displayed in bags on a board.

The music and experience was incredible. Bikers, hippies and party-loving kids everywhere. The bikers had been hired (or so we were told) to keep non-ticket holders from tearing down the fence so we did see some violence. However, considering that there were 500,000 people there, it was extremely peaceful. It was so hot and nobody was selling refreshment of any kind except Electric Koolaid. The fire department came out a few times and drove around spraying overheated partiers down with fire hoses and it helped some. The acts that stand out in my memory are Jimi Hendrix, Chambers Brothers, Allman Brothers, Rare Earth, 10 Years After, Mountain, Johnny Winter & Richie Havens. Although they were not scheduled to be there, we woke up Saturday morning to Crosby, Stills & Nash playing "Wooden Ships".

I understand that the company Alex Cooley hired to document the festival went bankrupt a week after filming it and that the film is in a vault in Philadelphia. If this is so, and anybody knows how to get in touch with Alex Cooley, I'm sure many people would be interested in buying a copy of that film should Mr. Cooley be able to get his hands on it.

To sum up... The 2nd Atlanta International Pop Festival in July of 1970 was 3 days that will live with me forever.

Name: Julie
City/State: orlando, florida
Date: Fri Dec 12 02:02:32 2003
I hitchiked from Orlando down to Miami where I caught wind of the festival. It was June I think, purple microdots have sealed many of those memories. I have no idea how early we arrived, but it had to be several days before the festival. My traveling companion and I caught a ride somewhere in Southern Georgia with a couple, middle aged and drunk beyond recognition, who dropped us off in downtown Atlanta where the action was at the time. We were somehow directed to an old mansion on Peachtree Street that had been completely taken over. It was a huge place, I remember Georgian columns, a large kitchen, and many rooms, nooks and crannies, it had obviously been an extremely beautiful place, it was now crammed with people, all friendly, and set on making this an experience of a lifetime. It was. The toilets were all backed up and full - I think we found a gas station we could use. There were mattresses on the floor up for grabs.

It was there I made some dear friends whose names I don't recall. They had motorcycles, big ones. We copped some of the brown acid that was circulating, Owsley without a doubt. When word got out that the festival was actually taking place in some small town, south I think, we rode down with some people we had run into. The cars were backed up and people were parking on the highway. We just pulled over and started walking. We found a campsite, a shelter supported by pinetrees in the woods that somone had kindly put up. There was some organized group that provided food - oatmeal and raisins, which was the mainstay for a while. There was talk of tickets at $14 a pop, which was a fortune to those of us who were on the street.

Somehow that disappeared. I seem to remember a fence being knocked down. It was hot. We had a blanket somehow, don't know where it came from, and marked a nice spot in front of the stage. Sometime before the festival actually started I remember a second, small stage, where some city official was cavorting with a gogo dancer. By that time many others had joined us. The police cars were winding through the woods with people riding off the back advertising whatever they had to sell. The cops had given up. They were outnumbered. The time between the festival and the campsite is a complete haze.

As far as the campsite, I remember people walking nude. I remember bathing in a stream nude. I remember a room where the women were all naked and taking showers. I remember taking my clothes off and being hosed down. That was the camping part. It was hot. There were so many people. Nobody cared.

Then came the festival. I took a bit of the brown acid, a quarter hit I think because there were warnings (which I later came to disregard to my detriment) but at the time I was cautious. I remember sitting on my blanket with lots of space, which was gradually filled up. And then the music started. Funny, when I look at the bill I don't remember half the groups that were there. But here's what I remember. The lights were beautiful. I think White Bird came on. And then I remember John Sebastian. I haved loved him ever since. BB King and Lucille. Mountain. The next day I took something that was supposed to be tcp, but I think it was something else. All I remember is being passed out on my blanket, waking up to fireworks, with Jimi playing the Star Spangled Banner. I love America. Then Richie Havens singing Here Comes The Sun. I'm sure more stuff took place. I remember a general feeling of well being and happiness. And when I hear certain songs, I think, OH I REMEMBER THAT, but I haven't a clue. Except I know I was there. And I'm glad.
Name: Bob Brubaker
City/State: metairie , LA.
Date: Mon Dec 1 18:20:56 2003
An early part of what was to be my own "long strange trip". I was deeply affected by my experience in the georgia pine campground that week . It was the first stop on a run to the west coast by myself and some friends 'cause we were "late for the haight". I was to long for the recapture of this experience , and mourned when i accepted that they were phenominal in the aspect of their inability to be staged . I came to understand they had divinely occured , and were not capable of commercial resurrection . Today , I am just grateful to have been part of the karma of such an event .
Name: Steve Cunningham
City/State: Fort Worth now / Atlanta then
Date: Wed Nov 26 16:27:28 2003
Hi,Everybody, This is a note for anyone who has tried to access my sample videos of the 1970 Atl. Pop Fest and met with poor or no success. I have changed where they're being stored, so if you try again you shouldn't have any more problems. Thanks, Steve http://members.aol.com/bisoninthestone/3x33.html
Name: david buchanan
City/State: jasper, ga
Date: Tue Nov 25 19:33:54 2003
Remember what I said.......those who were there recognize others who were there by their tales. Be careful not to write cliche events that never happened at this totally un-cliche, sacred event.........you'll give yourself away.
Name: david buchanan
City/State: jasper, ga
Date: Tue Nov 25 19:15:24 2003
It is at the top of my all time adventure and life changing events list and that's saying a lot for me. I was 16, a rock drummer playing great clubs and venues around Atlanta and the south during that period. Of all the places I've seen and things I've experienced since then, the second atlant pop festival looms high above other memories. The next down the ladder would be the first atlanta festival. Except for the Allman Brothers, I thought the musical line up was better at the first festival. But it was the general feel and sheer overwhelming magnitude of the second festival that sticks in my mind. I got there early in the week and set up camp with my buddies. We just hung out at the free stage, swam in the river and walked and walked or sat on hoods and trunks of cars going back and forth up the road for no other reason but for coolness. Out of all the diverse groups there, including Outlaws and Hell's Angels, I saw only one arguement the entire week, and that was between two boys who appeared to be about 10 years old. I just remember having this recurring thought all week long that after the event was over, the problems of the world would be solved: parents would understand, rednecks would quit whipping hippie's asses, and people would just generally become cool to each other. Well none of that happened, but for that one weekend God smiled with big showy teeth upon Byron, Georgia. What ever happened to all those half-million cool cool hippies anyway? Are they all too busy making money to fly their freak flags nowadays. I see a lot of wanabes, but you know when you come across someone who was really at Byron, now don't you? And what ever happened to the filmed documentation of the event? I kept seeing big cameras being carried around and pointed at people. Where are the films. Also, if anyone out there knows where I can get posters for either of the Atlanta festivals I would so appreciate it.
Name: Star
City/State: Blairsville, GA
Date: Sat Nov 22 14:37:17 2003
What a great time!! Even though I was pregnent and it was HOT (coming from the north country I was not use to the intence heat) thanks to one of the venders,and the kindness of the people around I made it through. Peace and Love
Name: Bill Otto
City/State: Atlanta, Ga.
Date: Wed Nov 19 10:50:58 2003
Yes, it was heat lightning striking the speaker towers when Hendix played the Star Spangled Banner! The most vivid memories of July 3,4,5, 1970 were HEAT, lots of people having a good time, and GREAT music. It was a miracle I found my best friend Mike in the crowd on the first day. We spent the next 3 days trying to get wet, jumped off a bridge into a creek, lost my glasses, had to wear sunglasses even at night! To gather a half million people together without the intrusive interference of the police was amazing. Little or no violence as similar recent pop festival reunions have seen (hint no more Woodstock commercial attempts). The music was incredible, we in Atlanta were spoiled by seeing the Allman Bros. many times in Piedmont Park but they were still great to see. I guess my all time memory is the night of Sat.July 4th...the largest crowd to see Jimi Hendrix, the patriotic feeling I got listening to the Star Spangled Banner in Jimi's style (even though I was still in the middle of fighting my draft notice to be shipped off to Viet Nam). I admit we hippies did tend to go overboard on our partying, to put it mildly, we still had good hearts and were for the most part sincere in our feelings of peace and love. See if today you can gather a very large group of partying youth without violence? I guess middle age has made me realize the world is a harsh place to be if your attitude is not right. There will never be music concerts like Woodstock or Atlanta again, but they were great when they lasted.
Name: mike williams
City/State: fort worth texas
Date: Mon Nov 17 11:43:31 2003
First off...it is a LONG way from Texas to Atlanta in a 1967 Microbus! The Interstate played out before we got to Louisana, and there was one place in the middle of the night and middle of nowhere that wouldn't sell gas to "longhairs". With good friends, perseverence, and a bunch of "white crosses" we made it to within about 6 miles and then walked the rest of the way. Got the bus later that nite and spent the next two nites in the infield of the speedway. The highlight was the afternoon and nite of July 4th.....folks on one side of us had cold beer, and the ones behind us had Orange Mini-barrels. Both groups shared happily! Kind of a blur, but what a trip! The music was great and the adventure was one to last a lifetime. Long live the Allman Brothers!
Name: Curious Historian
Date: Sun Nov 16 20:43:45 2003
I'm interested in knowing more from anyone who attended "Festival of Life" in '71. Were the contemporary accounts as related in Rolling Stone accurate? Specifically, I'm interested in knowing: 1)What was the name of the biker gang that were supposed to have terrorized festival goers? What was the extent of their presence? 2)Rolling Stone reported that much of the acid present was actually PCP. True or not? and 3) Who were the acts that performed? The impression I got was that many of the sceduled acts bailed. Any other general memories?
Name: dannye
City/State: Little Rock, AR
Date: Fri Nov 14 23:00:36 2003

Greppart Frog was on all fours in the medical tent. We weren't sure what he'd taken that hot afternoon, but we were sure that the sight of an otherwise naked man wearing only an English split-tail coat standing on the hood of a black hearse moving slowly down the dirt road (OUR dirt road, by God), one foot ahead of the other as he straddled the hood ornament while blowing an English horn, could not have helped Greppart Frog's condition. To tell the truth, it unnerved me quite a bit, as well. Who was in that vehicle behind the darkened windows?

Greppart Frog's real name was Mike, but he'd long since given up all the trappings of normalcy. This sweltering afternoon was only another notch on his belt toward true freedom from the world as we used to know it. His face was scarred with acne and he was a red-headed version of what would come to be known as the "Kramer" in a sit-com in a later age.

This was the same fellow who had stridently walked into a plate glass window in the local McDonalds just a few months earlier. He reached up to his bloody mouth and spat out a front tooth into his right palm. He looked at it for a minute, readjusted his bearings, found the front door, and tossed the tooth into the parking lot while whistling a merry version of "Cast Your Fate to the Wind."

The folks in the medical tent looked him over for a few minutes and then gave us the best advice we'd had since we arrived in Byron, GA. They said, "You better put a leash on him. He ain't gonna be right for a while."

A few months later, Greppart Frog would wind up in Miami during the Layla sessions. Those are stories for another time, but you can find them at everything2.com if you care to read them. (Just search for the most obvious thread.)

Watching State Troopers turned into traffic cops for a steady stream of naked divers off of the bridge over that muddy creek is the image of that crazy weekend I'll never get out of my small brain.

Name: tolnep
Date: Mon Nov 10 14:46:34 2003
This is a true story. Me an another guy went there. Knew it was gonna be hot. So I got a bunch of dry ice from a drug store. Dry ice is a lot colder than regular ice. It was used at the time for packing ice cream for delivery. Anyway, we had several cases of budwiser tallboys that we kept in a cooler with the ice an carried into the field. I was very hot, upper 90's at least. We would pass some guy who was real stoned, and ask him if he or she wanted a cold beer. If he said yes, we handed him a solid frozen budwiser talboy, told them is was special beer, or it wasn't really frozen, or some such nonsense just to screw with their heads. Had a blast.

One thing I remember, there was an area behind or to the side of the main area that had these dust dirt roads. You descended these roads into a horse or coral area that was super dusty dirty. Everyone was covered in the dirt. Area was dark too. Seemed to be a lot of hard-core druggies down there, herion, meth, people injecting stuff. Was sort of like descending into a dusty, dirty hell.

Went to the 1st ATL pop festival too. Seemed better, not as crazy.
Name: Larry Arsenault
City/State: Arcata, CA
Date: Wed Nov 5 17:01:18 2003
I left Atlanta in 1970 with a woman named Susan. However, I do remember the first Atlanta Pop Festival and I'm in touch with a few folks from that time who lived at what was 1444 14th St. about a block off Peachtree. The highlights, for me was being waaaaayyy in an altered state of consciousness and riding on the back of a firetruck hanging onto this chrome bar and then dousing hot Hippies with Georgia muiddy water with the hose. It was like delivering God to those that really wanted him/her/it. The music was cool too - Led Zepplin, Johnny Winter, and Joe Cocker finishing out the show, but the acts I remember best were Dave Brubeck playing with his son and IT's a Beautiful Day, who played just as the sun was setting on a blistering hot day that had seen the first aid tent filled with people suffering from heat multiplied by the plentiful psychodelics to be had. The Beautiful Day's coming with the cooler air, was like Angels coming down from heaven. The hospital crew was an amazing group. The guards and the straight reporters had been turned on by various memmbers of the community and were groving to the music and vibes while being attended by various folks. (The code used to be, if you turn someone on, you were supposed to be their guide for a good trip.) Bob Dylan's Lay Lady Lay coming over the PA at night as a helicopter hovered overhead in the dark and the rumor that it was dropping acid and joints. Ha! Used to be fairly common for a group to come on stage and throw out a popcorn box full of rolled bombers to the crowd. But the highlight came after the festival in the Park when Delany and Bonnie played for free followed by the Grateful Dead who played til way late. A friend of mine came up with handsful of acid in all colors. I took a few and asked, "Oh this guy has this big jar...." For a while I stood not ten feet way from Garcia while he jammed - and somebody turned on the cops who ended up riding on the shoulders of some folks while tearing off their uniforms shouting, "I don't have to do this anymore!" Amazing days of grace, courage and lunacy. Good thoughts and lots of love to all those who lived on the edge and were out to change the world. It wasn't easy, but it was fun and more effective than most realize.
Name: bruce burris
Date: Mon Nov 3 10:13:26 2003
HOT. I was 15 and was going to military baording school in Gainesville. I had found out about it before I left for home. I dont think I have ever been so hot in my life. I recall a firetruck or something srpaying water on the crowd saturday. As far as the groups- Bloodrock was very good as was cacuts. Then there was Hendrix. What can be said. I also remember a lake where lets say not alot of bathing suits.We left early because of all the other things going on other than music.
Name: Bucky Neustadt
City/State: Jacksonville, FL
Date: Sun Nov 2 13:17:03 2003
On the second day there I remember seeing a Army truck setting up camp just behind ours. Everyone was extremely paranoid, thinking that the National Guard was called in. The two GI's got out and pulled the canvas cover off the back of the truck, and we were all surprised to see it completely full of marijuana! They put up a sign, "$20 per handful". God, what a great time that was. The free stage in the woods was the best. The Alman Brothers Band got so high, that they had to stop playing for an hour so they could sober up to play. The way they introduced Janis Joplin was history in my eyes. A roar came from the other end of the racetrack as a group of REAL Hell'd5s Angels were approaching. The lead bike was a three-wheeler with Janis standing up on the back of it waiving and drinking a bottle of Jack Daniel'd5s bourdon. They got close to the stage and she got up and stumbled twice trying to get to the microphones. She finally screams, 'd2Who Fuck'd5n wants to hear some rock n'd5 roll'd3 and shoots a handgun into the air.
Name: Larry McDaniel
City/State: Arkansas
Date: Fri Oct 31 00:30:33 2003
Awesome! Grand Funk Railroad was on fire! They blew every other band away,memorable performance,my ears are still ringing! And some bare breasts also!
Name: Cliff Wicker
City/State: Hamilton, Va.
Date: Wed Oct 29 23:07:04 2003
What a trip! From beginning to end. A friend and myself hitch hiked from Alexandria, VA to the festival. It took only 2 rides. One in a dump truck from Alex-15 miles to Springfield. The next ride waas a couple of other freaks from NY in a63-64 vw microbus W/ragtop sunroof. The sign on the bus was Macon or Bust.We left Alexandria with about a buck and half between us, and we were "on the bus". We lived like kings the whole trip. Hired on at the festival for set up crew and had everything that we could possibly want. Hard work and hard play.

The festival music was great and so are the memories. Some of the best music there was at a free stage back in the woods. Where else could you see Duane Allman, Johnny Winter, Alvin Lee on stage jamming at one time! It was all about the music the place and time, brotherhood of man, peace, love and drugs, taking care of one another..............Boy The times they have a-changed.

Yep we all growed up real good. Things are much better now that we are they. I tried to expose my children to a piece of that place in time but was unable to find it. What a drag! Took them to a 3day festival last summer hoping that they too could have a best of times. Things have changed. It's no longer about anything but the money, the performers and music are stictly incidental, although I did get to see my teenagers react to an anything goes open air, marketing blitz of the usual festival hats, shirts, $3 cokes and waters, $5 pizza slice's and hot dogs, cd's, dvd's, but the music really didn't distract us from the important stuff.

I asked my kids what they thought about the festival. They looked at each other and kinda smiled at each other and then said "well it's kinda scary", we saw one guy get run over by one of thos port-a-potty trucks and everyone just walked on by him..........

I guess I never remember being worried or scared back then it seemed like we were all taking care of each other instead of ourselves.
Name: scw
City/State: powder springs
Date: Sat Oct 25 21:48:30 2003
I atteneded both the first and second festivals in '69 and '70. Saw Booker T and the MG's, The Staples Singers, The Chambers Brothers, swam naked in the river, etc. etc. The first festival was much more peaceful to me than the second. The great part of the first festival was seeing bands like Led Zepplin, Chicago, Grand Funk Railroad and other major acts as they were just beginning their careers. Some, like Grand Funk played for free just to get the exposure. The second festival had a darker more somber mood and you could tell that the magic and innocence of the 60's peace movement was turning into a bad trip as the status quo was beginning to try to "get into the act" to be "hip". Being a musician and having played in a few lesser known local Atlanta bands, even playing in Piedmont Park and The Agora Ballroom a few times was finding that the obstinant people who at one time found great joy in harrassing me about my hair and attire were at the festival and attempting to befriend me. People are definately strange!
Name: Barry Stoller
City/State: Northampton MA
Date: Tue Oct 21 19:56:41 2003
I am looking for any Atlanta Pop Festival recollections of the band BLOODROCK - to add to my biography of the band - see http://www.utopia2000.org - to be updated Halloween.
Name: Andy DeSoto Antonishak
City/State: Charlotte, NC
Date: Sat Oct 11 14:20:45 2003
My girlfriend, Janie LaBonte, myself and another couple hitchhiked from Orlando and heard Mountain playing as we neared the site. Lots of memories and photos, some of each like the weather, clear, hot, cool, or hazy. Remember being one of the relative few still standing, Sunday morning when Richie Havens came on with "Here Comes The Sun" Went to Miami Pop Fest the year before, Cosmic Carnival in Atlanta, Orlando Pop Fest and Festival Of Life in Louisiana, among thousands of concerts and still going. Found one of the best radio stations ever with a Greatful Dead Hour and another hour or two on Wednesday night's, Frank (Zappa) on Friday lunch hour, blues, bluegrass, reggae, folk, Americana, etc. at WNCW.org, (88.7 FM out of Spidale NC). Would love to find a boot leg but am new to the tapers community. Andy
Name: Jim Kenney
City/State: Lexington, MO
Date: Thu Oct 9 21:50:22 2003
Me and 4 band friends drove from around Kansas City, MO to the festival. Parked my 69 Pontiac Tempest in the Pecan grove and put up a canvas "lean-to" to sleep under (though there was little sleeping that week). We swam in some lake in the middle of one day that everyone "invaded". I believe it was a Country Club. One of my friends had taken long underwear, cut the legs and sleeves short, and made a 1-piece outfit to wear. He tie-dyed it red and when it rained the first night, it stained his entire body. When he got on the slide at this Lake his entire body was one big tie-dye. We also ran out of water, food, etc and ain't and drank whatever was available. Most of the attendees water was "electrified" and we were scared to drink....still midWestern naive about "things like that". I remember a naked guy that walked around with a chicken on his head most of the week. I still have my Atlanta Pop Festival t-shirt and several newspapers that we bought on the drive home that had photos and stories. Was 25 feet from Hendrix when he lit his guitar on fire and played the Star Spangled Banner. An unforgettable week for a 20 year old kid from Missouri. :-)
Name: john greene
City/State: weymouth MA
Date: Mon Oct 6 10:00:00 2003
We were stationed at Ft. Bragg, living off post and trying to be as hip as possible in that situation. Lots of chemicals, pot. I had a '59 Caddie, so we headed south. Nice scene. Very hot. Great music. I remember the Allman's opening and being knocked out. I passed out after Hendrix after being up for days. Had to leave early to get back to duty.
Name: WJ Guthrie
City/State: Dallas
Date: Sun Oct 5 19:04:43 2003
I am looking for photos of the audience during Jimi Hendrix's performance. I was the guy on top of the ambulance surrounded by the Galoping Geese cycles about 20 yards from stage center. I worked the tents with Janis-Flash & Brad and am writing about some of it now. If anyone knows of Janis (She had Braces on her legs)or can find me a shot of myself please contact me @ guthries@airmail.net Thanks-Peace JANIS YOU SAVED MANY LOVE JOHN G.
Name: Steve Navarre
City/State: Baton Rouge, La
Date: Sat Sep 27 20:32:05 2003
One of the best weeks of my life! I hung a tie dyed flag in the pecan tree where we camped to find our way back "home". One message said "where did we go wrong?" Well the answer is we didn't we grew up. I say keep it in your soul, what you got there and use it today, the beautiful folks are still out there------they just need to connect! WE ALL LOVED EACH OTHERS THAT THAT DOESN'T CHANGE STEVE
Name: John Ivey
City/State: Doraville GA
Date: Wed Sep 24 04:49:15 2003
I attended the 1st APF in '69 all 3 days (and the free concert in Piedmont Park the day after) and it was grand! When APF II came, I was incarcerated at Cobb Co. prison farm on trumped-up pot charges so naturally I escaped with the intention of going to 2nd APF for 3 days to trip out with my friends and etc., then to return to the joint. But my lawyer and friends said I should go right back to the joint so I did the next morning (after sleeping on a porch full of fleas since I was afraid to go to my old lady's house), missing all of 2nd APF. It's a good thing I went right back because instead of charging me with escape, they let me out on bond (after 3 months of seeking bond since I was appealing to the Supreme Court of GA). After another 3 months the SC of GA unanimously overturned my conviction due to lack of sufficient evidence.
Name: Steve Cunningham
City/State: Fort Worth, TX (born and raised in Atlanta, GA area)
Date: Thu Sep 11 03:18:48 2003
http://members.aol.com/bisoninthestone/ On this page is a link which will direct you to a download(long) of a full length preview of a video I have for sale of the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival.
Name: Jim Wiggins
City/State: Atlanta, GA
Date: Wed Sep 3 00:19:10 2003
just for the record Charlie Wolf was once a silver drumming space daemon in Thermos Greenwood not to mention part and parcel of "money chages everything" ala Tom Gray. and "wofford" is probably Steve Wofford - another colored scoundrel that I spent a evening once with celebrating "a work horse not a show horse" (remember that you fool?) and wound up sitting on the driveway as the sun broke watching Bruce Baxter go in to work while water flowed down over what was left of my "head" from a garden hose. Baxter saying "......whaaaa?"

But all that and the festival was one thing. Pure unadulterated joy. It sleeps now in my memories.

Oh yeah I was speaking with Alex Cooley a few years back (b efore the fire) and he said very casually something about a 25 year get together of Atl2--- I like to have jumped out of my skin. I was speechless with enthusiasm. Then in his very own way he let the cat out of the bag with a subtle little grin and twinkle and I knew I had been had. Alex you da man.

I see my green friend here too - the most right)eous)) reveren of the now,here and gone - the man that Louis willed his handkerchief to - not to mention my friend - BOVIS aka Thermos Greenwood aka Tommy Dean.

Okay I am gonna shuddap now (that's southern for shuttup now)
Name: bob bodega
City/State: Atlanta GA
Date: Sun Aug 31 11:02:36 2003
Still looking for an Atlanta Pop Festival poster; either year
Name: Charles Wolff
City/State: Saluda, NC
Date: Mon Aug 25 10:58:01 2003
My friend and musical cohort Tom tells an hysterically funny story from the 1st Atlanta Pop Festival: He had, along with many of us, indulged in the jugs of 'KoolAid' which were being passed around (not of the Jonestown variety, but equally potent in a different way). To take the edge off the intensity of things, he downed a quart of warm Ripple wine, settled in near the front of the stage, and promptly passed out. He eventually started to drift back into this plane of existence, his first awarenesses being of his face nestled in something cold and clammy, and a tremendous wave of noise coming from the stage. Once he managed to open his eyes, he saw a huge soft-boiled egg bobbing around on the stage, with a fork stuck in it. He initially accepted this and continued to watch the egg and fork gyrating before him amidst the cacaphony. Finally, a twinge of consciousness caused him to grope for his glasses and focus a bit more clearly on the apparently surreal situation he was in. He then came to the realization that he had been using the inside of a watermelon rind as a pillow (remember the locals with the watermelon truck?), that the soft-boiled egg was Johnny Winters' hair, and the fork was a guitar sticking out from the oval of white tresses.

As for me, the high point of that festival was lying in a sleeping bag at the top of a hill overlooking the racetrack, listening to Creedence stoned on opium, savoring the nakedness of a beautiful 17-year-old girl who had previously been only a neighborhood acquaintence. That was truly one of the finest memories of my teenaged years!

Name: Fletcher Bumlett
City/State: Atlanta, Georgia
Date: Fri Aug 22 05:43:52 2003
I attended both the first Atlanta Pop Festival and the Second Festival at Byron. I enjoyed both events but The Byron Festival had a harder edge to it. I was in college at UGA when me and my roomy Ken Johnston "Burr" (nicknamed for the beverage he frequently asked for.)headed out to find the place. We had gone to Effie's in Athens the night before. It was the local whorehouse in Athen's at the time.

The festival was not free initially. They had a large plywood fence around the inside field. That fence was surrounded by a chain link fence that came out from the first fence about ten feet. Several of the members of "The Outlaws" biker group rode Harley's between the two fences patroling and keeping out the legions of hippies (like me).

The crowd was intent on bringing down the walls so as to make it a free festival.Everyone kept pushing on the fences and finally they started to give way right at the front gate area. At that point multiple of the Outlaws (Biker Group)charged the crowd swinging chains over there heads. I think they wacked a few hippies and I was keeping my distance. It was starting to look like we could have some kind of Altamount type occurrance on our hands.

I guess Alex Cooley (or somebody) figured this out because, pretty quickly the festival was deemed a free show and the fence was torn all the way down. Hendrix was good at that show and as far as I remember so were all the acts. I thought that it rained during the Allman Brothers show and they played under some quickly propped up tarps.

The creek was so heavily used that the water had this nasty yellow cast to it. I didn't care though cause it was so hot and I had to get clean. The first festival was better. It was at Atlanta International Raceway near Hampton, GA. They have since changed the name and have constructed a huge Nascar track on the old site.

At both festivals I remember this (drug induced) feeling that people would get as the locked eyes on each other in the crowd. A beautiful hippie chick would suddenly stand out with this sort of "Wild Beauty" and we would walk towards each other and embrace with all of the passion of newlyweds. Wow, that was cool! I remember watching the Staple Singers while standing at the center stage point (holding on to the stage) down in the crowd. The lead vocalist leaned down to shake my hand and smile at me. It seemed significant at the time.

I looked to the right and this really gross old hippie hobo who was naked from the waste down was walking in time to the music with his knees bent and his pants off. He was dragging a long turd from his asshole and it looked like a tail. God, that was one of the most disgusting sites imaginable. Oh well, we sure had an ass kickin good time, even if there were a few party poopers! More Later.
Name: Charles Wolff
City/State: Deep in the NC mountains
Date: Wed Aug 20 12:49:05 2003
I was 18 and had just been busted at, and subsequently kicked out of, a small junior college in S. Ga. My friend Edmund Simonton (RIP) and I boarded his '57 Ford and blithely headed toward Byron with no cash and a large bag of fronted Purple Microdots. My main memory, besides the intense heat and Unabashedly Getting Naked amidst a crowd of hundreds at the creek, was the beginning of The Hampton Grease Band's set. It was, at that point, a beautiful sunny day; they were brought onto the stage and announced, but Bruce wouldn't let the band start, staring trance-like into the distant sky. After an uncomfortable and confusing few minutes, a large black cloud blocked out the sun, at which point Bruce stepped up to the mic and yelled "EVANS!", beginning the show. My impressionable mind was totally blown. Although I actually had more fun at The First Atlanta Pop Festival--due to the smaller crowd and closer proximity to home, the Byron trip was one I'll never get over, much less forget!
Name: Tommy Dean
City/State: ATL GA
Date: Wed Aug 20 08:22:39 2003
Me and my buddy Wade hopped on his little suzuki with a styrofoam cooler and headed south from Atlanta. We had traveled nearly to Macon when the little motorcycled gave up the ghost. We stashed it in the woods and hitched on down to Byron. Had a cool time in a hot place--hooked up with friends and dug the music and the freaks. Boy, there seemed to be this great promise on the horizon--Where did all the hippies go? Where did Wade go? I ain't seen him in eons.
Name: Freddie in Yolo
City/State: Yolo, California
Date: Fri Aug 1 11:22:29 2003
My week was great! My weeks are always great. No matter what the universe pitches, I swing at it. Why not? Thanks for the amazing memory stirring stuff. Lord, didn't we have fun?
Name: David Brown
City/State: formerly Athens, GA
Date: Thu Jul 31 19:37:47 2003
I have some memories of 2nd Atlanta Pop, and many blanks that have never been filled. It was Summer of 1970, not 1971. (Editor's note: David is correct. I added a year when I added this page. Thanks, David) In June of 1969, just before I turned 17, I stole my father's car and drove to the Haight=Ashbury, where I live until the early Spring of 1970. With paranoia closing in and the draft looming. I came home to Athens, GA, enrolled in UGA for the Fall, and took a job trimming hedges with the UGA Physical Plant Dept. I worked like a dog in the hot sun all week, then bought a lid of pot on Friday evening, which lasted me until the following Friday. I shudder to think what percentage of my income went to marijuana, but I got by.

I remember the Friday when 2nd Atlanta Pop was to start. I was going to stay in town, but when I went out that afternoon, everybody was gone. Gone to Byron. I went to the house where Mike Duttweiler and Rick Easterlin wer staying and stole a pair of shoes from Mike (I wasn't wearing any).Then I went downtown to the bus station and bought a ticket for Macon. I hitched rides out of Macon down to Byron and actually paid the $13 for a ticket to get in. Later that evening the bikers tore down the fences so it was free after that.

I had no idea where any of my friends were, so I just mingled with the crowd. Because I had marijuana, many many people offered me psychedelics in exchange for joints. Pot was more scarce than acid. I took one or three hits of acid that night and sat up all evening trying not to totally flip out and listening to the music. I think BB King played that night. Who know who else?? The one musical memory I have from 2nd Atlanta Pop is hearing the Allmans for the first time. Compared to them, everything else was crass commercial bullshit. Even Hendrix. The Allman Brothers were all righteous, all true. They got down to me where I was at like nobody else.

As dawn came, I began to stagger around looking for my Athens friends, a lot of kids I knew from Athens High, including two future B-52's: Keith Strickland and Ricky Wilson. We always thought Keith and Ricky were extra weird because they liked to dress up in drag and go to the DVA dances.

I lost my shoes that morning and the dirt road was so hot you couldn't hardly stand to walk on it. I found my friends and I remember hanging around with them for the rest of the weekend. I spent what little money I had on bags of ice, and spent the whole weekend mostly sleeping or drifiting in and out of consciousness while lying under someone's car. I never saw any musical act, not one, but I heard them all.

I have no memory of how I got back to Athens or anything about the following week.

Name: sally brown
City/State: still, or again, atlanta, ga.
Date: Tue Jul 29 00:00:03 2003
I was so excited! Thelma lou disappeared the first day, but magically reappeared on the last day. I don't know how she did it, she was so blasted. I met a beautiful young man from Sweden, and we loved the whole weekend. I bathed in the creek, with everyone else, and it was wonderful. I felt such a bond with my fellow humans, love was definitely in the air. Where did we go wrong? what happened?
Name: Ray Zaballa
City/State: Port St. Lucie, FL
Date: Sun Jul 27 23:10:30 2003
I was 16 . I had a 64 Dodge Dart and we filled it up with 5 people. We left West Palm Bch, FL and drove all night. Just before getting there my fellow travelers were all asleep and I had a blow out and we ended up in a ditch along I-75. Within monutes some long hairs pulled over. They got us a tire and hooked a chain to my car and pulled us out. It was a miracle ! I wish I could find these people. They wanted nothing in return. We entered the area and set up camp under the trees. I had an 8 track tape player in my car with 2 tapes that worked - Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies ( I think) and Lee Michaels. We played them over and over. A naked girl got into the back seat of my car and I thought I would finally lose my vigin status so I got in with her and she took off running ! We rode on the hoods of cars down to a swimming hole. I ended up with hepatitis symptoms had to take some serious medications later but I turned out OK. There were a lot of people taking baths at that creek including bikers who kept all their clothes on in the water. Riding on the hood of those cars freaked me out. The next day I rode there in a Hell's Angels school bus / camper. They did not hardly even pay me any mind. There was a "free Concert" area and the path there was between 2 slopes that became covered with people , as if sitting on bleachers , that were selling every kind of drug imaginable at extremely low prices. I did not feel like tripping so I was careful to drink from closed containers of soda or water. One day I saw a giant dust devil ( like a tornado) that had swept up newspapers and other light weight trash and it spiralled hundreds of feet into the air. The music was great. It was the second time I had seen Hendrix the first time being at the Miami Pop Festival at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. I had already seen many of the bands but still enjoyed the music. I saw one guy who stayed naked all the time. He had red hair and a beard and there was always a chicken on his shoulder. I can only remember 2 of the people that went with me - Phil Burney and Jeff Irvin. Another freind of mine that went with a different group was Rick Wiles. He went in a camper that was set up near the "girls Shower" . The owner opened up a curtain by the window as if it was a theater and there was the "girls shower"-full of naked girls ! Another freind was camped out in a 60 man army tent and everybody thought it was the "OD" tent. They were amazed at all the loonies who entered their tent looking for help. I think they actually have film of it on either 8mm or 16 mm. I don't know what became of that film but I would love to see it. I recently bought a great picture book in magazine format of the festival on Ebay and also bought a VHS tape of Hendrix and I know there is more stuff out there....... ........Ray Z.
Name: Gary
City/State: Kansas City, MO
Date: Sat Jul 26 23:34:58 2003
he first Atlanta Pop Festival was fun. It had all the hippies and blacks and rednecks all thrown together to hear some music. They had no idea what was going on and managed to stumble through three days of musical mayhem crowded into and overflowing the Atlanta Raceway. A steepbanked asphalt oval in town. I was just a seventeen kid wearing Pat Boone white loafers and some Indian beadwork around my neck. The people of Georgia are friendly and didn't care much. They were there to party and have a good time.

Nobody had seen anything like it before and all the bands were different from each other. There were rhythem and blues guys along with folk singers and rock and roll bands. I remember watching the CCR singing Bad Moon Rising and the full moon breaking over the horizon beyond the stage. I soon was crashed out on the ground with about 100,000 people inside the racetack commons. Later to be startled awake, the moon directly overhead shining into my eyes, by the sounds of Janis Joplin opening her set with Cry Baby.

The raceway was close-in to town. I spent the first night at my Aunt Bonnie's house and my 15 yr old cousin, Mike went with me. But after getting home the following day my Aunt refused to let him go the rest of the event. She had heard the news reports on TV about the things that were happening there. I think the shear size of the crowds was probably what concerned her the most. I think I just hung out downtown after that.

The combination of good music and peach wine with joints being passed down the line made everyone mellow. Some people were opinated about some of the bands. I remember one of my favorites Tommy James and the Shondels being booed when they were introduced but by the time their play had ended with some new material like Crystal and Clover they had a standing ovation with cries for more.

There were acts that nobody knew such as a band that drove down from Ohio to play for free, calling themeselves The Grand Funk Railroad. Another was Sweetwater from a place in Florida by the same name.

Hugh Masecela was a well known act, they recieved much applause, even by the cracker elements of the crowd.

This was the same year as Woodstock and there were other Pop Festivals that summer of '69. I'm sure they all had their own ambience and was just as surprised by the events as everyone else. However by the following year Woodstock had made it's name and fame by a hurridly produced movie. I was pissed when I couldn't get in to see the movie because it was rated R when friends of mine was there at the actual event with no restrictions. I eventually saw it because not all theaters checked ID's.

This was translated into the completely commercial feel of the second Atlanta Pop Festival. The second one was far outside of town amoung the peach orchards. We had to drive a couple of hours from Atlanta on the interstate south just to get there. Nobody knew where they were once they were there. This was in the days before cell phones and there were no facilities in the peach fields so far from town. A beer run or going to pick up some wine was a half days expedition from the site. It was rural and they didn't much like the crowds that came their way.

Everyone would have starved if the Hari Krisnas hadn't been giving away macrobiotics or the free food bank hadn't dropped off stuff like watermelons and soda from the back of their flatbed truck. What it did have was a little rain that allowed everyone to act out scenes from the Woodstock movie of slidding and chanting in the mud.

The crowds were probably larger than during the first one but since everyone was out the fields there was less comradery and many people just wandered around in a daze instead of actually listening to the bands. The place was too spread out to come together like it had the previous year. The different elements that came together in the Atlanta Raceway were absent from the second event. The urban blacks weren't there. The G (sorry, the software cut off the last part of Gary's post---the editor)

Name: Liz Rose
City/State: Nebo, NC
Date: Sat Jul 26 00:47:33 2003
1970...I would be just 8 years old in August of that year! My daddy was a welder/pipefitter working on a construction job, a brewery, in or around Warner Robbins, Georgia, where we lived at the time. I recall hearing about a "rock concert" that could possibly compare to Woodstock that would be held in Byron, Georgia. My parents drove me and my two little brothers to see the place this would all happen a week or two prior to the festival. There we saw a beautiful pecan grove beside the Byron Speedway. My mom made "before" pics that we still have. we also have "after" pics! We also visited the site at some point during the 3-day festival. I remember seeing more people, especially more naked people, than I had ever seen in one place in my entire 8 years! And the music...WOW! Music so loud it vibrated the car! I remember daddy saying that Jimi Hendrix was on stage. It wasn't until a few years later that I realized how close I was to such a legend. Music...that came from a stage so far out across the crowds that you couldn't see for sure "where" or "who" it was coming from! Naked people bathing in the river, dancing in the road, enjoying the freedom of the time and the place! It was such a truly awesome experience just to drive by and witness! I remember daddy saying, "Look, look!" And mom saying, "Close your eyes kids! Lay down in the floorboard! Oh my God! I think they're smoking marijuana over there! Mercy! There's a man with a sign that says LSD right in front of those cops!" I asked, "What's LSD ?" Daddy said with a smile, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!" I said, "Oh", just like I understood completely. I've never forgotten all the wonders that I saw that July day in 1970. Eight or ten years later, I'd have been right in the middle of it all with "flowers in my hair, flowers everywhere!" Peace and Love to all who were there...I may have seen you through my wide-eyes and said, "WOW"!
Name: Fred Barker
Date: Tue Jul 15 09:49:15 2003
Anyone having photos and/or video of the festival please e mail me. I would love to obtain copies of what you have. Thanks Fantastic Site Here!!!!!!!!!!
Name: Tony Garstin
City/State: Atlanta, GA
Date: Thu Jul 10 16:20:06 2003
Yo, The week was one of the most memorable of my musical career. My band, "RADAR", opened the festival, behind the Mehesh Yogi (sp). The festival was the largest crowd we ever played for. On top of that we were an Atlanta band. Alex Cooley was kind to put us on the gig. He also was responsible for our shows, opening for SPIRT, FLEETWOOD MAC, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, PROCOL HARUM and many more. It was sad to see Jimmy Hendrix, backstage. He was a complete mess and screamed at people to "get away". I guess to be that good, you had to sell your soul to the devil. Anyone that heard us play is welcome to contact me. After all these years, I welcome the opportunity to share the memories. thanks, Tony Garstin
Name: Kerry Elliott
City/State: Atlanta
Date: Thu Jun 19 23:18:04 2003
well,I was only 15.Got to go one & half days.Arrived to the sounds of ,the Chambers bros.Thought I was in Heaven!Didn't do any drugs.Had never smoked pot.But shortly thereafter,I quit SIX FLAGS!,grew my hair,turned on,tuned out,etc.I remember seeing Hendrix,Lee micheals,Mountain?,Poco?Goose Creek,God, who knows?It was all great.As far as the eye could see,drug stands!with signs!I always try to find the place,on my way to Florida,on vacations,but I enjoy not knowing,exactly.And yes,I became a musician& 33 years later,I'm still at it.Great site.
Name: David pierce
City/State: Houston Tx.
Date: Fri Jun 6 20:39:38 2003
16 years old at the time. Traveled from Panama City, Florida with a butch friends in a VW bus. We had a great time. Laying on top of the bus listening to Jimi Hendrix and fireworks or was it lighting? I look back on those times and just smile....what a time to grow up in!
Date: Fri May 23 11:15:53 2003
Name: Larry Tebo
City/State: Huntsville Al
Date: Fri May 23 07:54:15 2003
With a bunch of heads form Anniston,Al my trip to Byron was something I will never forget. (With Ray) Starting with exchanging food going down the expressway from Atlanta. A lot of the festival happenings are kind of fuzzy for some reason, lavender leary, orange sunshine, purple micro-dot. The purple micro-dot was the reason for my missing Hendrix. It was really heavy.I remember laying in a pup-tent and repeating my name so I could maintain what little sanity I had left. But that was only one day and I don't think I would change it if I could, only a few know where I've been. Some didn't make it back all the way. The free stage was a trip in it's self with the Allman Brothers. I rememeber a swimming pool on the road going to it and a lot of people were enjoying themselves there. I remember a lot of plain white vans with a human siren sitting on top trying to convince all the heads they needed to move so they could make their delivery to the OD tent.One of many. The police were there right next to people shouting their wares. It was a trip I will carry to my grave. I did make it back to Talladega. And maybe no worse for wear.
Name: John Fissinger
City/State: Wayne, Pa
Date: Fri May 16 16:53:15 2003
The heat was unbearable. Acid Ally. The Free Stage. We got maced by some locals, but we had the most unbelievable time that I can remember. We got there a week early and found a great campsite across the road from the stage. Hundreds of naked people waited in line for the open shower. The shower was one of the highlights of the day. We swam in a local river that was down the road. There were thousands of totally uninhibited naked bathers of which I was one. Free love was everywhere. I remember Mark Farners whipping hair and Grand Funk RR's incredible set. Hendrix at midnight. The Allmon Brothers. Ten Years After. I will never forget the mountain of coca cola. They kept reducing the price. It was a defining moment in my life. Peace. John Fissinger
Name: Daniel Johnson
City/State: Middlesboro, Kentucky
Date: Sun May 4 17:58:28 2003
During my 20th summer, I traveled down to Georgia with two other guys and a chick in a Maverick, and arrived on Wednesday the 1st day of July. We were able to get within site of the gate and tents off the two lane highway that went past through the grounds, as the festival was on the west side of the highway and the free stage was on the east side. Remember the free stage and the bands there? We had tickets already and were able to get into the grounds on Thursday afternoon after we shopped around the various "vendors". Upon entering we set up our HQ at about 1:00 from the stage and fence, about 10:00 and some 50 feet from the left tower. And the party started soon thereafter. We got acqauinted with folks around us, shared our stash, and let the day flow intothe night. I don't remember the soybeans anywhere, but if you went to the back of the field towards the river, there was a pecan orchard with some really nice pecan trees. Do you know whose property we were on during that week and weekend? During that day, recorded music played continuously, and several dances just happened as we tripped around the grounds.

The live music began on Friday and we were off with a roar. Some of the bands that first day were not familiar to a lot of us, but they were outstanding. Sometime late Friday afternoon during a time out, we went down to the river to cool off and had a great time with all the free souls that shed their clothes for a dip. Some were jumping off the bridge hoping to land in a deep spot! Of course there were those that leered at the beautiful naked chicks but there was no trouble. After cooling off in the river, I went over to the free stage while my friends went back to our "HQ" to set up dinner. I beleive that the Who and the Allman Brothers were at the free stage while I soaked up some Summertime Blues!. Upon returning inside the gate and as the sun was setting on Friday, the promoters came on stage to inform us that they had decided to take the gate down and that every hippie from New York to California would be there with us by Saturday evening and asked us all if we could keep it all together. We (all hundreds of thousands of us by that early date already) discussed the situation with the promoters and we all assured them that we could do it; and do it we did!!

I awoke early Saturday morning to GooseCreek Symphony; getting out of my bsg and a few chicks in the area began to dance with me. This began to grow and over the crowd one at a time, dancing began and we brought Saturday in with a party. By noon we could tell that there were a lot more people inside the gates and moving around began to get tighter but as far as we could tell everyone was polite and helpful.

I took a trip down to the very front of the crowd around 3:00 or so, and was turning across the front by the ten foot fence, rapping with the crowd as I went, when I turned around and was face to face with a beautiful blonde chick with a large ice cold slice of watermelon!!What a site! And to my pleasure she asked me to share it with her. She ate from one end while I ate from the other, the cold fruit giving us both the cool sweet elixer of the summer. After showing her my gratitude and promising to come back down, I made my way back to HQ where my friends were in a three way exchange of bongs. I had been back only a few minutes when a guy on stage announces that the crowd in front by the fence should beware the watermelon as it was strongly spiked with STP!! So I quickly made arrangements for my comfort and fun, Koolaid, marshmellows and such with the help of my friends.

Saturday evening was simply fantastic with rock & roll, colours and all the Peter Maxx a child of the 60's could want, with Ten Years After kicking the evening off with Procol Harum, Mountani, and when Jimi Hendrix played our Star Spangled Banner at midnight, with all the flares

Name: erik petterssen
City/State: M'9dxico, City
Date: Sat May 3 09:25:47 2003
really amasing
Name: Renee White Robets
City/State: Keller, Tx.
Date: Thu May 1 09:47:25 2003
Young, impressionable and looking forward to life--We were such children looking for our lives--I can't even remember anything other that naked swimmers in the creek and covered totally with mud. I have a vague recollection of Jimi and the national anthem played at sunrise--is that correct? I was from S.C. and went to Berry College in Rome, Ga. and we couldn't miss a pop festival sooo close. I had a VW bus --we loaded it full with all our weird friends and off we went. It was the first time we were on our own to see the world. And what a world it was!!! I loved (and still do) the idea that a 'community' can support and make anything happen. God bless America!!!
Name: carl braddock
City/State: pensacola, fl
Date: Mon Apr 14 01:23:33 2003
I was a 16 year old kid in 1969. I begged my mom for a week, finally she gave in and let me go. It changed my life forever. Led zep blew me away, not to mention janis, johnny winter, spirit,cta,grand funk and to many others to mention now. The people I went with from Pensacola new duane and greg allman and saw them at the show they said that the promoter would not let them play, to much as all of you who went to 1970 know that the allman's ruled the 2nd pop festival, i'm sure Mr. Coley regrets that one. Anyway, One of my best memories from 1969 festival is seeing led zep's roadies throw the naked guy who dove into john b. drum set off stage like he was a bag of potatoes. Also seeing Janis get drunk on soutern comfort was a trip ( I was right down front for that one). It truly was an incredible adventure for my young self. I am still a music nut and thinking about going to Ozfest August 2003 with my kids in Atlanta.
Name: Hal Peller
City/State: Brooklyn, NY
Date: Mon Apr 7 07:54:56 2003
I was 19 years old and we camped in the Pecan Grove with the thousands of others... I remember sitting on top of cars to get from the camp grounds to the swimming holes and seeing so many beautiful naked women... I remember I was concerned the first day of "poppin a woody". But after the first day and the drugs...that wasn't a concern... in fact I was just so happy to be there and the feeling of not having any concerns...until the rain when I was peaking... I started to freak because I realized that the only place I could go to get out of the rain was under a wet blanket...the music was great and I was blown away by Jimi and then after Jimi I thought who the F is going to follow that...Jimi was so amazing... and when they finished setting up the stage with just a drum set and a hammond organ.... i said come on are they kidding me... and then i was blown away by Lee Michaels and his drummer Frosty...that was the greatest...glad i was there... until about 2 days later when i got home and i had poison ivey all over my back and spreading up my ass... we had set up camp in a patch of poison ivey...that and a catfish tee shirt were my only souvenirs and great memories... thanks for this site... Hal
Name: Steve Cunningham
City/State: Fort Worth, TX
Date: Fri Apr 4 00:52:32 2003
I was there. It was my first and only Pop Festival, and so it will always stick with me as THE Pop Festival. I also seem to be in possession of the only known (to my knowledge) home movies of it.They are only crowd shots (about 7 minutes, in color), no bands. I'm planning to put it on video and offer the videos for sale. My son doesn't think that there'd be much of a market for it. But, wouldn't one of you maybe like to catch a glimpse of yourself or a friend, or just recapture some of the atmosphere of the moment from back then?? Whether I think I'm going to have a market for it will determine whether I go to the troble or not. The bigger a market I might perceive, the lower the price will be. Ya'll let me know what you think. OK? Thanks, Steve
Name: Nestor
City/State: brooklyn,ny.
Date: Thu Apr 3 21:17:01 2003
WOW! LOOKING back in time,It seems like it was just a dream.I was a 20 year old US Air force "pot head" stationed at Biloxi's,Keesler A.F.B in Miss. As far as I remember all the NYC dudes got together to hit the "Southern Woodstock" We were sooooo stoned in OPIUM/grass and who knows what else,but Procol Harum's Dead Man's Dream scared the crap out of me, I berely remember much of the music played after that.I still have some photos of people divin' from the bridge and the intense HEAT,Just Beautiful! Now, I'm 30 years older,antiwar,anti military and still living in NY as an Artist and actor. PEACE to all!
Name: Kim
City/State: Las Vegas,NV
Date: Sat Mar 8 13:00:48 2003
Well I do not remember what the week was like for me, My mom was pregnant with me at the time and she was at the Festival. I have heard stories and wish I coulda been there.Im sorry I missed the 60's but we are trying to keep it alive , my daughters name is Joplyn after the Lovly Miss Janis. I was born on the 16 th of Aug 1970 and i was wondering if you happen to have photo's of that day and did by chance capture a pregnant woman, could you foward a copy to me, it jus tmight be my mom.
Name: Meriwether
City/State: Ga.
Date: Sat Mar 1 21:01:11 2003
Both Atlanta PopFestivals were wonderful.Led Zeppelin I remember the most,while they were playing we were helping a guy find his lost keys.Jimmie Page &Robert Plant won me over,I stopped helping the search.
Name: Wildman
City/State: Orlando, Florida
Date: Sat Mar 1 18:22:29 2003
It was great, the lightening while Jimi was on stage was awsome. The pecan grove was a great campground. Watching the Almond Brothers play from the back of a semi trailer as a stage in the nautral amphitheater was out of sight. The path down the hill to the amphitheater was crowed with small booths and resembele a carnival. Out friends were susposed to find a camp site. Image my suprise when once I actually found my friends, I never thought I would, i see them all sprawled and asleep on the tent which was all spawled out on the ground. They had gotten so wasted they never even put the tent up! Several of them actually left the day the fest began, they had already had too much party!
Name: Tom McKnight
City/State: Memphis, TN
Date: Sun Feb 23 22:56:58 2003
No the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival did not quite change my life; but it gave me my first vision of how if enough of us could just get together we could have things like we wanted. I remember being totally amazed at seeing Georgia State Troopers just stand by and watch a lot of naked hippies playing in the streams and guys openly selling drugs and the police not doing anything. It was just my last stop before leaving the country... a trip that did change my life. (Tom's adventure continues on a new page.)

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August 7, 2005