August 1,2 & 3 1969
Here are some very rare posters and newspaper ads from the show.
Ah.... the Atlantic City Pop Festival, August 1/2/3, 1969...
Four teenage boys from Toronto, Canada drive to the Atlantic City Race Track and what a weekend and what a lineup!! Lots I remember and lots I have forgotten- like lots of times in the 60's! When we arrived there was a naked dirty guy walking around the parking lot which housed cars & tents and on Saturday night he was still there! I remember sitting in the race stands and watching hundreds of kids gathering on the far side of the field and then suddenly all climbing the fence and running across the field to our side- and lots of cops waiting for them and chasing them and dragging them back to the other side. And 15 minutes later- again & again!I I also remember Joni Mitchell walking off the stage after a few songs and remarking " I can see that you're not into my music". We weren't! I remember both Chicago - at the time- Chicago Transit Authority and Santana, playing early afternoon and at supper time respectively .. as they were both just starting out & had only releasedtheir 1st albums. And I remember Dr John at night doing his "Night Tripper '& and Gris-Gris Gumbo" stuff with female witch-like dancers behind him all dressed in black and it was a wierd & super show. But mostly I remember Saturday night, Creedence Clearwater Revival, followed by Jefferson Airplane and then, Iron Butterfly and ending the night with " In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" Wow! I've never seen a video of this concert and don't know if one exists.
Thanks for the memories
PS Attached is a copy of the original flyer with my additions at the time! Very rare
Thanks Mike but Hendrix was not there, he was at a farm in upper NY state with his new band getting ready for Woodstock....BR
D LOWELL ZERCHER
I'll add my memories about a fantastic weekend in 69. To see so many incredible bands in 3 days was beyond believable and this was my first festival ( many to come ) and here is how I remember it.
We were sitting in the stands, out of the sun on the finish line. It looked like a horse race track, not a car track like some remember.
First up was Joni, just sitting at the piano and the sound was awful from where we sat. It sounded like the wind was swirling around, the sound system just sucked and I was worried, Uh Oh, this is not a good start. She did leave but I thought it was because of the sound system, of course we were not concentrating, we could not hear the music! Luckily we could hear the music later and it was fantastic. I'll just hit the highlights for me. Santana blew us away and we are going, who is this guy? Just a skinny kid with all the conga drums lined up in a row, what a show and we had not heard him yet on the radio. I believe it was the first night, could be the second, Iron Butterfly doing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida for 45 minutes, next was CCR, great show, solid, all their hits and then the Chambers Brothers wrapped up the night and the crown went nuts, ( nice warm up acts, right? ) climbing on the speakers, climbing on the light trusses above the stage so there was a ring of bodies around the band. I was a green 21 year old kid then and sober as a judge except for a beer I brought, we were not planners. Lester ( in a fantastic colorful bell bottom suit with a baby blue bowler hat ) and the band were incredible. They stretched "Time" out for 30 minutes plus and the crowd was in a frenzy, we never sat down just danced and watched, It was the high point of the festival for me. Yes, seeing Janis, Canned heat, Dr John, Zappa and the Mothers ( They never moved, just stood shoulder to shoulder and played except for Frank moving his arm to signal! ), a young BB King, Three Dog Night, and many more. I do not remember Joe Cocker, was he really there? I was surprised to see him in the Woodstock Movie with his gyrations, sorry Joe, love your music. Johnny Winters was supposed to finish the festival, did not show, and Little Richard was last or next to last. He did a show but his taunting the crown with his clothes was too much for my middle class sensibilities.
At the end we walked out the door, during the afternoon, to a guy passing out leaflets for a festival called Woodstock! Just a white sheet with the iconic guitar, bird and information. Most folks just threw them on the ground so my last memory was walking across lots of Woodstock leaflets laying on the green grass. Damn, sure wish I had kept just one!
I was there, my junior year at Carnegie Mellon university. went home to Baltimore and went to the festival with three friends.
I have some vivid but scattered memories of the event. remember sleeping in the parking lot, trying to shower in a bathroom sink. taking acid.
I remember Procol Harum coming out on the revolving stage and opening with the overture from 2001 a space odyssey
I remember Joni Mitchell stopping in the middle of a song and walking off stage
but most of all I remember how sorry i was that CSNY didn't show up and that I missed the performance of my favorite group, the Byrds...
Pacific Palisades, CA
I was surprised to find this website. I think Woodstock all but drowned Atlantic City Pop out of the media. I was 14 in 1969 and my father was writing a book that summer so he offered to drive my friend and I to the concert and he would write in the motel room. Cool Dad huh? Times were very different. I remember being there and some of the artists.. but not much else. My friend and I were very stoned. I do remember a black guy up on stage as a roadie or something and his name was Curtis. He went to the university in the little town in Ohio we lived in. I hollered up to him and he recognized us. The 60s were a very different world than what we have today. My 26 year old son and I just went to see The Magic Trip about Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters bus trip. His responses were quite interesting. I really think he understands.
My friend Darrell and I were in Pittsburgh , Pa in 1969 just out of
high school. We heard about this rock/pop festival, and decided to
hitchhike over to it for the weekend. Our hitchhiking was going slowly,
so we boarded a greyhound bus going to Philadelphia . On the way, we
were stopped by police to find out that the bus had been shot by a
sniper. After this delay, we arrived at the Philadelphia bus station
somewhere around 3AM, which started our strange Alice-in-Wonderland type
experience for the next few days.
My husband and I lived in Belmar NJ and were married just two years when this concert took place. I guess we were curious about the hippie, free-love generation, even though we didn't relate to it so much. One of my single friends had told us she was going down to the concert, so we decided that it might be a chance to hear some great music and also see just what was happening first-hand with the kids our age. When we got there on Saturday, I remember seeing very large, long haired and gritty bikers in a building at the racetrack. Many of the women who traveled with them were also quite amply proportioned. Several gals washed the road dust off their hair and faces etc in the water fountains. I had never smelled pot before, let alone smoked it. We sat in the bleachers on the far side of the pond that lay in the center of the racetrack, across from the stage . The aroma was immediately wafting into our nostrils, sweet and strange. Every once in a while, someone would make an announcement that there was "bad acid" being passed around. I felt like I was thrust into a foreign culture. People started to strip naked and go into the pond. The person behind me had brought binnoculars and was getting an eyefull of the show of nudity. I remember seeing BB King, and the rest, but by the time Jefferson Airplane was about to play, we decided to get to our car and head home before the crowd started to leave. We are both still glad we acted on impulse and made the trip on that day in 1969. I do regret not having heard Dr John and Janis. I am now 63 and my husband is 65 years old. Thank you for this web site. Judy Point Pleasant NJ
I was just 17 years old and fresh out of high school. I hopped in a car with 5 other people from a small town in Pennsylvania. It was the coolest thing I had done to that point. could not wait. we had a place to stay and I went with my best friend Emma. she was a wild and crazy and did not take any shit from anyone. She was all the things I wished I could have been. we arrived and went to the racetrack and all the people that we drove down with, left us there alone. the very first thing is saw were girls my age holding their bras for all the world to see. I came from a catholic school and I had never witnessed anything quite like this. I saw naked boys all over the place. another thing I never thought I would see. as soon as we entered the racecourse a young Asian guy came up to us and took us to his car and lined the dashboard with about 10 different kinds of LSD. I picked the orange sunshine and Emma chose the Mighty Quinn. we each popped one and off we went. what a trip. it was the best. the music was mind blowing and it kept running for 24 hours a day. I saw and listened to some of the most classic groups of the time. I remember groups that played that were not listed in the headlines. I got to see Janis Joplin. come on, how great was that. unfortunately I got lost from Emma and I wandered aimlessly all over that place. I did not even care. I lost every piece of clothing I had on. I took a bath in a tent with people pouring buckets of cold water all over me. it was so free. my mother would have had a fit if she would have seen all the things I did those 3 days. after about 24 hours, I ran into Emma and we stayed together the rest of the time. we were both tripping to beat the band. we had some good stuff. no bad trips here. the partying was non-stop. the music was enchanting. what a time for a catholic girl who never experienced anything even close to that. we sang and danced and met all kinds of cool people. we had a blast. but, when it was all over we had to hitch hike back to Pennsylvania. we found a ride with 2 hippies in a Volkswagen beetle, of course! how fitting. we smoked pot all the way home. Columbian gold, tai sticks and surprisingly some of the best pot sent home from friends that were over in Vietnam. stuff was crazy. the assholes that left us there never spoke to us again. I do not even thing they stayed for the whole 3 days. heck, I would have stayed a month. it is one of the best memories I have. I could tell you so many things that Emma and I did I know it would make a hell of a movie. my eyes were opened to a whole new world. going to catholic school in the 50's and 60's was brutal. nuns were nasty, frustrated old biddies. and, we were naughty nannies for a short time. believe me, the party did not end there. it continued for many years to come. I love music to this very day and I saw some phenomenal groups in my day. I am at a point in my life that I am a little more picky as to who I want to see. I just turned 59 years old on Jan. 13th. I just recently found out I have a brain tumor and at the end of the month, I have to have surgery. so, to all you music lovers and fun loving and life loving people, wish me luck! thanks for letting me share on of the best times of my life. Diane
Fantastic web site. I always thought of this event as the forgotten music festival that got lost in the shadow of Woodstock. Anyway, we headed down to Atlantic City from Hamilton Ontario after eliminating Woodstock as the festival of our choice that summer. We looked at the line-up for both concerts and they both appeared very similar. We opted for Atlantic City, even though it was much further away than Woodstock. So the myself and three other buddies crammed into an emerald green 1968 Chevy Camaro and away we went. Well it was the sixty's and we tripped on acid all the way down there and pretty well all weekend long. We ended up at a hotel in town ..I think it was called the Empress....Anyway, Iron Butterfly and Jefferson Airplane were both staying at the same hotel. I recall laying around the poolside with Grace Slick on a lounge chair right beside me. I was to shy and scared to speak and was totally in awe. On our way to the festival the next morning, I recall holding the hotel doors open so that the bands could get through with their guitars and stuff. From the hotel to the race track was a trip in itself. Many people were walking and toking and partying on foot. Later in the movie Woodstock I recall how the walking scenes (and so many other things) reminded me so much of the AC Festival. At the festival, I believe it was Saturday, it got so hot in the afternoon that they turned on these huge water hoses and started dousing the audience. Girls started removing their tops after getting sprayed ..it was great. everybody grooving tio the music with these hoses blasting. The music was great for what I can recall it was a long time ago and we were all so wasted. I do remember a few notable things such as Lighthouse (from Toronto) getting booed because they were having equipment problems for which Skippy Prokop the drummer apologized and then the band totally knocked every bodies socks off with their set. They were a big band with horns and all..I think they played better than Chicago who I hardly remember being there. Jefferson Airplane with their light show totally wiped me out...as well as Janis, Little Richard and Iron Butterfly. I think I actually fell in love with Janis Joplin that night She was really playing it up sexy with the guitar player. What a show! Anyway, we were to leave Atlantic City on the Sunday for home. Unfortunately we had to leave a friend from Hamilton there. He was put in a local jail for a week after dropping some STP (acid) and freaking out in public proclaiming he was God. I think a trip on STP lasts 3 or 4 days. Poor guy...but he got over...and so did we! Thank you all so much for bringing back those great , if not foggy memories of the 1969 Atlantic City Pop Festival.....Cam Woolvett / Hamilton On
Steve from Montreal
I was 16 years old, me and my friend Richard were being squished so bad right in front of the stage during the Joplin concert that our feet were leaving the ground and we couldn't breath, but I remember her boob kept popping out. We managed to squirm through the crowd and crawl under the stage, climb up the rafters beside the stage and along the rafters above the stage and watched the rest of Joplin's set dangling directly over her head passing joints back and forth.
Little Richard stripped down to his underwear on top of his piano.
Frank Zappa started off by saying they had no music prepared and he was just going to conduct the orchestra creating music on the spot. It was amazing.
The sound of the cow bell starting off "Time Has Come Today" by The Chambers Brothers still rings in my ears today.
Two weeks later I had tickets for Woodstock but my mother wouldn't let me go because I had just been to The Atlantic City Pop Festival . BUMMER
Hi: 10-9-10 (Happy birthday John Lennon)
The Hendrix and Doors concerts at the Hilton.........I was an "usherette" -- didn't get paid but had front row seats and back stage passes (who needs money). I met Ray, the organist of the Doors and Jimi Hendrix. No one believes me, but it is true. Maybe I showed you to your seat!! Hendrix was sitting in his dressing room hugging his guitar and playing it.......I was totally in awe, said Hi. He said Hi. That was it!!
I went to the Ambassador Theatre to see Jimi. I thought I hallucinated that until I saw it listed on your Web site. I remember he walked out and saw about a 100 kids and said something like, "I guess my career is over."
I wonder if I know you because you went to so many concerts I went to. I went to Wakefield in Arlington, class of 69.
I also went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival -- where someone stole all my money and my ticket while I was sleeping. The people that ran the thing gave me a free ticket and $10 for food. I was stranded, though, until I ran into an old boyfriend who put me on a bus in Philadelphia.
I saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium........my dad produced movies for the Navy and he was friends with the Beatles lawyers......they gave him two sixth row seats. He took me and my sister, I think I was 13 and she was 11. He was just going to drop us off when he saw the crowd, so he bought a scalper ticket and was in the millionth row -- like he could do anything from there!! He said it was all parents up top.
Do you have anything on the local bands that played around town in the early 70s? I was friends with Blitz and Zechariah and Ralph Fortune (I can't remember the name of his band, though -- he's still rockin' in Front Royal).
Here is some great Info from MICHAEL OBERMAN - He wrote for the Washington Star
At the beginning of July, 1969, I was screwing up the courage to ask my editor if the newspaper would pay for me to attend one of the two major "pop music festivals" taking place in August on the East Coast...the "Woodstock Music and Arts Fair" and the "Atlantic City Pop Festival." I finally decided I would ask and if turned down would just go on my own money. I shouldn't have worried. I asked and she replied, "Sure. Which one?"
Both events were multi-day and had similar line-ups of acts. The deciding point for me was the newspaper would pay for my hotel room in Atlantic City. In Woodstock I would have to camp out. Hotel or Camping...Hotel! Now it seems I might be the only person of my generation who admits he did not attend Woodstock.
Another plus was that my brother, Ron, would be at the Atlantic City festival. Ron was working for Mercury Records at the time and an act he was helping to promote, the Sir Douglas Quintet, would be performing. I convinced my girlfriend and several of my best friends to attend with me. Somehow I managed to get everyone I traveled with "all access press passes."
In 1969, there were two ways a reporter could "file a story" when out of town. One was to phone it in and read it to a "dictationist." Dictationists sat at a table with typewriters and headsets. When a reporter called a story in to the paper, the dictationist typed it and, when finished, yelled "Copy" and a copyboy would scurry over, grab the story and take it to the appropriate editor. The other way was for the reporter to go to a Western Union office, sit at one of their teletype machines and write the story...which would be transmitted by Western Union to the newspaper.
The festival, held at the Atlantic City racetrack, was everything I had hoped for...great performances, an opportunity to interview a number of acts and a chance to hang with my friends. For me, there was only one problem and it happened the last day of the festival. I was directly in front of the stage when the Sir Douglas Quintet came on to perform. I had become friends with Doug Sahm, lead vocalist, guitarist and namesake for the group. Someone in the crowd passed me a pitcher of Sangria. I poured myself a cup just as Doug came to the edge of the stage and said, "Hey Miiiikkke...let me have some." I passed him the pitcher, he gulped some down and passed the pitcher to Joe Cocker (standing offstage). The problem was...someone had "dosed" the pitcher with a psychedelic substance. I grooved, Doug Sahm grooved, Joe Cocker grooved. By the end of the festival, I was still grooving. I had a story to write. I couldn't drive...grooving. I didn't know how I could write...grooving. It was too late in the day to phone the story in...someone had to drive me to the Western Union office. When we arrived, I sat at the teletype machine for an hour...grooving. Finally, I came to my senses and wrote the story.
Janis, Little Richard, Rock Jersey Festival
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ
The highlights of the first day of the festival were Doctor John the Night Tripper, Procol Harum, Mother Earth and the Chambers Brothers.Doctor John, in his floor-length robe, war-paint and feathered headress, cast his Bayou spells on the audience with voodoo oriented tunes such as "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" and "Mama Roo." Mother earth, with lead vocals by one of the best female country-blues belters, Tracy Nelson, brought across its Texas-based sound with an extra added punch on numbers like "Down So Low" and "It's a Sad Situation."
I, too, thought that this festival was forgotten in the shadow of
My overall memory is that it was when everyone got along, no confrontations that I saw, and for the most part, the weather cooperated. A few weeks later, at Woodstock, it was much different. Still a great time, but I think the success of AC drew the number of people to Woodstock, and also, more of the committed, hard core hippies, whereas, in Atlantic City, you had your mainstream American youth.
Never did I experience that freedom and comradeship ever again.
3 weeks before the AC Pop Festival, I went to the Laurel Pop Festival (Maryland) which was a 2 day event and saw Frank Zappa (Mothers Of Invention) there in bright red pants or maybe it was bib overalls. I couldn't believe someone lined up all those acts for 2 days. Shortly after that I heard about the AC festival. It was 3 days long! My immediate impression was this had to be at least partly hype - if even half of the artists showed, I would be happy because at the end of the Laurel Pop Festival, the crowd made a bon fire out of some of the wooden folding chairs that we sat on...pissing off the promoters. So how could they have a 3 day festival? Maybe they can do it for jazz festivals but never for rock (remember this is pre-Woodstock). So much for first impressions.
I drive to Atlantic City with 3 other friends + a tent, buying food/drink supplies at the stores a mile or two outside the event - sure glad we did as there wasn't much food after the first day. From the camp area we had to walk a bit to the race track. As we walked up, I remember the sound from the p.a. system was loud and unbelievably clear. This was "arena" rock outdoors in it's infancy and some nameless sound engineers were instant heroes to me.
I got to talk about the humongous crowd. Never before or since will I ever be around this many people, just about all were 15-25 years old. I remember standing on the track and looking up at the building and not being able to tell it was a building, just a sea of people. Every horizontal surface had people on it. All the doors were propped open and boards (I guess) were put across the tops with people sitting on them. Some people got split up from their friends + couldn't hook back up until they went back to their cars. After the first day they had a pole (maybe a bulletin board?) where you could leave messages for lost people or emergency calls from home or wherever. I believe this idea got carried over to Woodstock. Grass was passed everywhere. Sometimes you could pass a J knowing there was only a slight chance of it coming back (unless you really looked out for it). It didn't matter. Another one would be coming by in 20 minutes. There was just a different mentality towards weed back then - if you lived it, you understood. Everybody got along. Everybody was in party mode (and I'm guessing here), in the back of everyone's mind was this wonderful I-Can't-Believe-This-Is-Happening feeling.
When Frank Zappa came on, he had the same red pants! I got the feeling (if you know Frank) that he wore them the whole time. Could that have aided his prostate cancer death?
I love this website, Dan
I was 20 at the time and remember going to the festival with friends. We commuted to the show from Avalon via rt 9 and rt 50. Back then there was a kid friendly liquer store called Dolly and MIke's which had no issues with selling to minors. So each day we would arrive with a couple of cases of the cheapest beer available , bought cold and brought in without a cooler to the masses calling us ''juicers'' in a negitive way. Old Dutch Country out of Hammonton, N.J.Beer was scorned on arrival but coveted by the ''dopers'' once inside. Beer was not ''in'' but it was exchanged for herb and some little pills that one of my friends took before thinking.
After spending several hours handling my tripping buddy when he tried to climb the light towers or was calling his mom and doing simple additions and substractions to prove he really hadn't lost his mind, the Byrd's sang Eight Miles High and the two of us were the first to see that infield pond with it's tiny little wooden deck as a place to go. Yes, it was muddy but it was hot and soon enough the it became a destination resort of young bodies and little inhibitions.
The highlight of the 3 days occured on Saturday night when I was literally inside a huge speaker when Creedance played I Put A Spell On You. Also, seeing Janis about 5 feet away, walking by me drinking a 12 ounce Carling Black Label KEG bottle without her being labeled a ''JUICER''. And the Friday afternoon Procul Harem set and the Iron Butterfly. And with all due respect to the man,Mr. Joe Cocker, I love you , but I do not remember you even being there. Wish I would have listened .
Thought I would share some random thoughts and
memories from ac pop.
Turned down the first side road on the side of the track, drove down a couple hundred yards, and parked on the grass near the main side gate. Freaks everywhere. That old ford was our tent for 3 days. It was early Friday morning, and one of the first things I remember seeing, was a beautiful topless blonde with great tits, handing out Freon filled balloons from an old milk truck. we took her up on that, and thought it was a real hoot sounding like donald duck when we talked. Some older hippies from Michigan were set up next to us, and passed us some joints. Got real stoned for the first time, and was politely reminded to pass them on. the worm turned for me that day. Time to head into the show. Once inside and seated, a girl in a grannie dress with no underwear on stepped over my head, and for some reason, I could not stop laughing. I think Biff Rose was the opening act, followed by Aum, then Lothar and the Hand People. Could not believe my eyes when the Asian looking dude from Aum leaped of the stage at the end of GOD is Back in Town, haven't heard that song since. Cannot ad much more about the music that has not already been mentioned, but remember being separated from my friend on Sat. night, and swept up in a circle of great people, all holding hands and dancing in a huge circle during the Chambers brothers as they were singing Time Has Come Today. After the concert ended that night, tried to crash in the horse stables with some bikers, but was evicted by security. Found the old Ford, and my buddies were in there smoking some hash they had found.
The area was heavily wooded at the time, now surrounded by a mall, strip shopping centers, every chain store and fast food joint there is and AC Expressway exits on both side. But the only two businesses that were there in 69, are still there on the BHP. Joes produce stand, where we bought fruit, and a red brick bar/restaurant that sold us beer in cardboard containers. Remember them? My buddies and I were goanna go to that spot were we camped and lift a beer to the the spirits of AC POP on the 40th anniversary. That spot is still there, but Bob, the owner of that 63 Ford, passed on in February. All the more reason I say.
May sound corny, but that weekend had a very big influence on who I am today, during a very difficult time in my life. It was all good.
Live To Ride, Trapper John
I was a camp counselor in the Catskills with a Saturday off, so what better thing to do than go to
a music festival? When we saw the lineup there we just had to go.
Drove four or five hours in a Pontiac Bonneville owned by Bob Weingarten
and along with friend Stan arrived arived in time to see Biff Rose tinkiling on the piano,
singing his novelty songs, eg. Buzz the Fuzz! I know he's not on the list, but he was there.
It was a day for b-groups-The Byrds, Butterfield, BB King, Tim Buckley,
as well as others. I remember sitting inside one of the big speakers next to the stage
listening to Tim Buckley do a great set. Would that be allowed today?
Memories are getting fuzzy other than that, but I remember every band was great.
The music, the weather, the crowd, I'm glad I was there.
We left late, drove back to Camp Monroe, flying at over 100 mph on the Jersey trunpike at times,
and arrived back an hour before reveille!
Man I was surprised to see this site!!!!!! Sooo cool That was one memorable event in my life!!!! That was where I realized that the worlds best rock&roll band was credence!!!! I'm the one that Alan had on his lap in the vw, Turkey, thanks Alan!!!!!
When we ended up at the festival of coarse we had nary a coin to eat with much less to get in!!! We were driven by the fact that the best music that was ever heard was on the other side of the fence!!!! Being the resourceful hippies that we are I found a cresant wrench and went to the front of the crowd that had gathered at the side gate and proceeded to take the hinges off the gates, when the gate fell there was a rush to get in that would make a normal persons head spin!!!! every one scattered and my friend Angel and I ran back and hid back stage he ended up being asked to help move some equipment and stuff and we ended up getting a job of sorts with Dave Hadler and Jerry Spivac"s company festival group that lasted through Woodstock and until we did the New Orleans pop festival which my friend Angel and I ended up in jail in east baton rouge La.Bummer!!!
But that all came about because of Atlantic city festival!!! And I thought that it was one of the forgotten festivals that was fuckin GREAT!!! The truth is I liked it better than Woodstock and that was Real Cool !!!!
Wayne Rodgers aka Turkey
Hi - thanks for the great site about Atlantic City "Pop" Festival, as it was called at the time, although we would always called a "Rock Festival" cause we hated the word 'Pop.'
One of my most vivid memories was, after arriving Friday afternoon, seeing a few dozen Hells Angels and their bikes, hanging out in the parking lot near the race track grandstand.
At 14, I thought I was sooo cool cause one of the bikers let me help him fix his bike, which wouldn't start.
There were hundreds of long-haired vendors both inside the race track and outside selling all kinds of stuff, and it was about as psychadelic as it could be. (I think I remember seeing that naked guy running around the parking lot too)
We got there by shuttle-bus from Atlantic City because, first I was too young to drive, but also because we were told it was too crowded for cars to park.
Many people had no place to sleep, and ended up like me and my buddy, just tent diving in the parking lot where throngs partied through the night ..... singing songs around small fires and trippin.
During the hot days, inside the race track, people were swimming in the muddy pond which (I think) was across the field in the middle of the track. It looked real dirty, but what the hey.
Organizers had stopped checking for tickets after the first day, and I remember it being a free-flow atmosphere with people just mingling wherever.
Fresh water was scarce, but organizers had ran small 3/4 inch water lines through the parking lots which we used to wash and drink.
Credence Clearwater rocked the house, and I remember hearing the rumor that Jimi Hendrix was gonna be there.... and some stoned-out guy next to me kept pointing to the side of the stage yelling "There's Hendrix. There's Hendrix"... but I don't remember seeing him.
We were filthy at the end of three days, and when I got home, I found out my parents had called the US Coast Guard looking for me cause (I ran away from home just to go) they thought I had gone to the Shore and drowned off the beach.
Dave Sommers -- Levittown, Pa.
I have very fond memories of
that concert. I was in a garage band and this was the summer between
high school graduation and college. So the organ player and I took off in mt
64 Chevy impala to find Atlantic City. Somewhere in the middle of the
night the headlights were growing dimmer and dimmer and the car finally
stopped. We pulled over and somehow found a garage that fixed our
alternator for about $20., that was most of our money but we made it
to the show on Saturday after sleeping in the car. The two main things
I remember about that concert were: Someone passed I joint to
me..uninvited and Creedance rocked the show. I also remember Jefferson
Airplane sounded great.
Hi, I remember the concert. I went with two girlfriends. We stayed at a
motel. I still have the button of Atlantic City. Great crowd, smoking
hashish, jumping in the pond to cool off. I was 20 at the time and enjoying
Janis Joplin and Iron Butterfly, which everyone danced to.
I was just 15 and in a garage band called the Victrons. The drummer Joe heard about the concert in Atlantic City, and asked if I could go? His parents were vacationing in Ocean City and actually changed the days to allow us to be there on Friday. It was three days of the greatest music experience of my life. We stayed in a flop house in AC, the room was barely big enough for the two beds. There were greyhound buses to and from the Race Track. I remember Janis and they two people climbing the light towers during her performance. The swimmers in the lake chasing the birds, the stage malfunctions. I could swear Hendrix was there on Sunday as one of the Winters was a no-show! Joni walking off, and Frank joking about cutting his show short. But King Kong was more than enough of a Zappa fix for me. Canned Heat lost 2 or 3 members that week and invited other band members to jam with them. I believe Zappa, Snooky Flowers from Big Brother and the Holding Co, and others doing a unique version of Refried Boogie for about forty minutes. The Iron Butterfly lead guitar player tearing down the track, who I think was only 17 yrs old playing in front of 110,000 plus! For some reason I thought the MC was Billy Preston who at the time was an underground radio DJ from San Fran. He came out and played after Mitchell walked off. I still have my three day ticket stub. There was a five year reunion gig held at the Atlantic City Race Track in August of 1974. Santana, CSNY, and I believe Chicago and two other acts performed that Saturday night. Anyone out there remember that concert? Both events had major impacts on life! It was the very best of times!
I left Detroit with 4 other guys and I had 9 cents in my pocket.We got to the race track and didn't have the money to get in.We gathered about 30 people one being this 7 ft.tall black guy.We were storming the gate and the 7 ftr.reached over the top of the gate ond opened it.A man ran up and backed us out,I think he was the track owner and told us we could all get in for free if we just went in in groups of 3-5 people so we got in all three days for free.I have pictures of Canned heat Frank Zappa and Janis and more.It just rained and we worked our way up front and center for janis she started singing right after the rain and she grabed the mike and got shocked and she said mother f er but whithin a couple minutes she had the mike in hand and wailing for all she was worth.I was so supprised how thin she looked.Now this was back in the day so we rolled a big fat joint and we all toked off it and since we were only three or four rows out we passed it up to the stage,Janis bent down and took the joint and she turned to the side and pretended to take a toke then she threw it into the open piano.When one group was playing the next group would set up behind them then when they were done the staged would rotate and they'd be ready to go.I saw this this group getting ready named The Buddy Miles Express(drummer for Jimmi Hendrix)the stage rotated and there was Buddy Miles a singing drummer well he sang a song called ciggerets and coffee it was so sad and so great that at one point in the song he came out from behind the drums and undid his tied Hawian shirt ( this man was like 350 lbs.)his gut just rolled out,he sat on the edge of the stage singing and not one person cracked a smile.It was probably one of the best performances I ever saw.Lots of people were bawling,man it was something I'll never forget.I got back to Detroit and had 11 cents in my pocket and had the time of my life.
Neil and Maureen
About a dozen people left Central Pa. early the first morning. The Gropewagon broke down about six miles down 322. The Mustang blew a tire leaving Philly. When we arrived the Chambers Brothers were on stage. I was seventeen and just amazed to get so close to the music. I remember Canned Heat being on just before the Mothers. Zappa commented that they were told to do only one set because they had to make way for the heavy groups! I think he meant Janis. He was wearing a shirt reading "truck rental". I felt that the Pinnacle of the weekend was Creedence Clearwater. The Jefferson Airplane were very good also despite rumors that they were mainly a studio group. It may be my imagination but I recall a lot of fanfare about a new super group called Blind Faith stirring things up. I don't know if they played? Might have just been the album debut. I vaguely remember Joe Cocker but for some reason this memory is confused with his appearance in the Woodstock movie.
There was a lot going on away from the stage. I think someone read us the entire "Prophet". I lost contact with all off my friends but two within minutes of arriving. If Jill Benjamin reads this "thanks for the cigar you stuck in the pocket of my bibs" I didn't know that it was full of hash until I got back home on Monday. Upon leaving, other members of our expedition stole the Festival sign that was mounted at the gate to the racetrack. It was used as a room divider in a house on Pugh Street in State College for years. Wish it were still around.
, Wow! I stumbled onto your site and was extremely happy to see it. Things have changed so much regarding concerts and music in general and not necessarily for the better though I am by no means "stuck in the 60's" especially musically since I've kept up with and loved many new bands even till the present, but concerts with this many top acts and for those affordable prices are apparently gone forever.... too bad.
I don't know for certain why but I don't subscribe to the common (and overly romanticized and glib) idea that if you remember it you weren't *really* there. It isn't that I didn't partake as one of my more powerful trips was at this festival which did alter the first day's experience somewhat. After walking over the huge and incredibly hot parking lot's asphalt and arriving at what seemed like an incredibly intensifying bottleneck at a few turnstiles to handle thousands, if not tens of thousands, of converging hippies from all over it overcame me and I walked back till I came to the first piece of grass I could find and laid there for a few hours until the music which was very well audible even at that distance soothed me enough to sit up and look around. Seeing perhaps a hundred other sets of frog-eyed individuals made me laugh and they, or many of them, did too. So we huddled together for awhile enjoying the music till as the sun began to set and the temperature cooled down we all wandered closer to within sight of the stage and caught the last few acts, including Iron Butterfly (awesome live) visually as well as audiblt and got to feel the whole wonderful vibe of the appreciative crowd.
I could write on for hours about this show but today will only mention a few other things.
The next day I got in close to the turnstiles early to avoid the crush and get a really good seat. Tim Buckley was a stupendous surprise as he showed up with only another guitar player and a bongo player for accompaniment but it soon became clear that was all he needed because his voice was just so rich and compelling.
Ihave a couple questions about some unclear events. I saw an altercation onstage during Zappa's setup and heard rumours that this was planned by Zappa as some sort of "living theatre". Anyone know? Also, someone told me that someone associated with or actually in Credence had kicked out the monitors to minimize the following act, Jefferson Airplane's, performance. If so it was to no avail since this was right between "After Bathing At Baxter's" and "Crown of Creation" and they were at the top of their game, IMHO, and their set was simply magic. Anyone know if the monitors story is true?
One last story - Upon leaving I got caught up in an eddy of the crowd and was bustled to the opposite end of the race track building and had to walk the long way around it's exterior back to the location in which we were staying. Quite unexpectedly I saw/felt a group of people walking perpendicular to the pathway out of the area and in fact through a chain link fence and into some sort of out building or rooms apparently only easily accessible from the outside. Once I spotted the unmistakable Jack Cassidy and then Grace Slick I knew I had hit a moment of true serendipity. I stayed and watched the open doorway for awhile hoping for a further glimpse and to maybe understand why they were hanging around when Gracie came outside. It had begun to drizzle ever so lightly so I didn't want to stay too long and hoped either I'd be invited in or a cloudburst would make my decision for me and send me running back to camp. So I wondered, now being in the thrall of my first real star struck state and I remember well feeling amused that being star struck was even possible for me as I was a budding musician and enough past 21 that I thought I was beyond such teenage crushes but I was indeed smitten, just what one says to Grace Slick to seem at all interesting yet non threatening. So as I was wearing a necklace that I had made from these little shiny steel drums that served as some miniaturized, for the times, memory tapes for some kind of computers the like of which I've never even heard of since, and to which I had colored brightly with glossy acrylic paints. I thought she might enjoy the irony and dualism of turning computer technology into art since back then they seemed at odds, but she was only impressed enough to walk over to the fence to talk to me face to face albeit separated by chain links. She smelled terrific and it was not patchouli, thankfully, since I found that to be way too strong for direct application to people. However she was a bit dismissive, if politely so, since she seemed uninterested in the gift asking why I didn't give it away to someone who wanted it and had said so. I replied that since I had created it, though it might be added goodness to have someone admire it so, I felt the desire to give it to her and she could keep it, pass it on, or even throw it away since it was hers and that would constitute the destiny of that particular piece of art, much like a song is performed and each hearing it can do with it what they will. She did smile at that and agreed to accept it on those terms but it began to rain in earnest and apparently my chat was insufficient to gain entrance since she dismissed herself and walked back to the shelter of the doorway and I as they say, split, both elated and deflated all at once.
Obviously I will never forget Atlantic City Pop Festival.
I remember going to
the festival with my friend Robby. We were done one year of college and
commuted each day from suburban Philly. My most vivid memory was wandering
around the infield talking to people and stopping at this big wall. It
wasn't until the next act came on that I realized the wall was the speakers.
The act was Iron Butterfly, and their whole set was a long Inna Gadda Da
Vida. It was so loud, I couldn't hear much for three days. The rest is a
blur, I remember Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Creedence, and I thought Jimi
Hendrix too. Overall, not much specific but a great weekend and a great
Dave in Glenolden Pa. Remembers
How amazing to see this site!
What a time! There was never an east coast rock festival like this and, after Woodstock, could never be again. The age of innocence and my own "summer of love". My friend from high school, Pete, and I drove down from CT and slept in the car. We had earlier that summer hitchhiked to the Newport Jazz Festival which for a year or two was really the Newport Rock Festival. That August, we were 19 and I was two months away from entering the Air Force which set my life on another path. We spent Sat and Sun right down in front at the stage. The Airplane, CCR, Santana...I will never forget that weekend. It was another world where you could see all this for a few bucks. Late at night while Little Richard was finishing up his incredible show, we were even up on the stage. Try that nowadays and go to jail! Next morning I held the door for Janis Joplin coming out of a diner there while we were headed in. And correct, as so many have said, I have tried to tell people over the years about one of the high points of the Age and nobody ever heard of it. Woodstock followed and everybody knows about that mudbath...Pete went there and never got within good sight of the stage, but he did get soaked....I passed. Pete died about 20 years ago so it's left to me to remember Atlantic City in 1969.
My parents dropped me off at the front gate on Friday with a sleeping bag and $20 for food. I was 14 years old, I guess those were kinder times. My sister was dating the lead singer for the American Dream; we thought they would become become famous - I guess they didn't. I remember that they kept announcing from the stage "Don't take the purple peace pills", I believe they were actually horse tranquilizers. On Saturday morning hippy chicks were handing out big red flowers, they were everywhere. The music was fantastic, but what I remember most was people. Everyone was welcomed, everyone was loved, everyone was safe. My friends were going on to Woodstock, but I just wanted to get a shower and sleep in my own bed. I had eaten, drank and partied for three days but still had the $20 when my parents picked me up on Sunday.
We drove from Detroit to the festival and I remember mostly the end of the show for the day I think on sat. and the word was there was to be a special appearance by someone and don't leave until the end. Well at the end of the day when we thought the show was over the stage slowly turned around like a large lazy Susan and the chamber brothers appeared, A huge pool of water had collected above the stage from an earlier rain and it rolled on top of one of the guitar players and he never missed a beat, Does anyone remember this?
I was 16 then I hitch hiked with 2 other friends from Washington DC. We got picked up by someone in a VW bug. I rode all the way to the concert with this freak sitting on my lap. He ended up going to Woodstock and made it in the movie. His name was Turkey and he was the one coming out of the Port a John smoking a joint. The night before the concert my buddies and me got caught jumping the fence. To our surprise the sheriff deputized us asking us only to request anyone else coming in that night to stay off the inner turf so as not to damage it. It didn't work but we did get free admission.Anyone remember the rainstorm? We slept up in the tracks observation tower until the lightning scared us as we were sleeping on a metal floor. Yes Joni Mitchell should have realized that it was too much to ask of a crowd that large to stay quiet from her act. I heard she walked off at the Isle of Wight also. Things are still hazy from there, Orange Sunshine if you know what I mean.
Me, my boyfriend (later Husband) and his Brother drove
from Maryland to see the show. My Mother said the only way I could go (being
17) was to have a separate room from the guys. We showed up to NJ, turned in
the second room reservation for cash value and head on out to the racetrack.
My memories are getting as close to the stage as possible everyday. I had a
bad cut on my bare foot after stepping on glass and found an incense box and
a piece of string which I used as a cardboard bandage. I left the guys to go
use the facilities and walked over and around hundreds people and after 45
minutes heard someone calling my name. I had made a complete circle and
ended up finding a place ten feet away to drop drawers and wee. It never
occurred to me that I would have to find the guys on the return trip (it
would have been impossible) so I guess the circling was a blessing. The fire
trucks came out on the infield and sprayed water to help everyone cool off
and get a drink. Lots of nudity! The bands were unbelievable Janis was
shocked after grabbing on the mic and stormed off stage only to come back
swigging on a bottle of whisky and singing her ass off. Its a damn shame I
can't recall the whole three days, I was there and I was front row, but it
was 1969 people! Its an experience I still talk about today and am thankful
I made the trip. Oh yeah on the way home the last day everyone was
trying to bum a ride to some place in New York called Woodstock........I had
to go home Mom was expecting me...
What a Great Site!
Some friends from Old Dominion College and I went to the festival in a VW mircrobus.
It was incredible.
I remember Joni Michell's exact words "I just sang the last verse twice and no body even noticed...I can't go on....."
While Janis was singing "Piece of My Heart" my future first wife and I were balling in a sleeping bag about 6 rows from the stage.
Santana was introduced as making their first east coast appearance.
Little Richard brought the house down as the closing act on Sunday. " I want to tell all you wimmins to hold on to all your mens, 'cause Little Richard is IN town !!" I think I remember him throwing his silver sequined jacket into the crowd during the final song.
I didn't make it to Woodstock, but considering the great weather, great venue, great people and groups at Atlantic City, I don't feel I missed much but the mud.
Mike the Tripper
Joan from Atlantic City
How amazing to have found this site! This incredible festival has somehow vanished out of popular culture, having been overshadowed by Woodstock, which followed closely on its heels. I was a junior in Atlantic City High School at the time, and my friends and I were there for every minute. I remember Joni Mitchell walking off in a huff. I was a big Joni Mitchell fan, but the crowd was much too fired up to sit still for folk music. I then remember Frank Zappa being disgusted with the crowd's reaction to Mitchell, and playing an entire set of only instrumentals. It sticks in my mind because I was disappointed, wanting Zappa to do some of his more well-know stuff.
For most of the festival I sat in the stands, but I remember pushing my way up to the stage for Janis Joplin, who I believe closed the evening. She gave one of her full-blown, wild performances and I still remember it with amazement 39 years later. My brother had an original poster on his wall for years, and I always marveled at the talent that was there in one place. When I tell people that the AC Pop Festival was as good as Woodstock, no one believes me. My boyfriend's sister offered us a ride to Woodstock, and I begged and begged but my parents wouldn't let me go. But I'll always have Atlantic City, which was a once in a lifetime experience!
Robert Teister from Kettering Ohio
I remember driving to ac from Kettering, Ohio with a friend. we must have arrived late Friday. it all seems like such a blur. I remember walking around and seeing all these groovy people. I truly felt like I had finally come home and was with my people. it felt like a huge tribe, everyone was so loving. I was walking toward the music, but I was meeting and talking to all these really cool people. I'd just walk into their camps or van or whatever and say hi. people would just welcome you into their space, give you drugs, food, music & just talk about stuff. I swear just being in the tribe was the best part for me. I was just 19 y/o & the scene in Ohio wasn't that advanced. this pop festival was my first and the best one I ever did attend. I only remember a few musicians, even though I was there listening to lot's of them. Joe cocker was just great, such a spastic. bb king was super, too. I remember it was really hot & the tanker truck drove in front of the stadium and sprayed the crowd with water. it felt so good. I loved everyone that was a part of this life changing event. I've tried to tell a few people about it, but gave up because nobody really got it. everyone is so enthralled about Woodstock, but i don't think that had anything on Atlantic city. I went from there to visit my aunt...hmmm, everyone else went on to Woodstock.
Hi, I’m so happy to see this site…in 1969 I was 15 years old and [I still can’t believe my parents let us go] my 17 year old sister and I went to the three days of music…the stand outs in my memory are Janis Joplin, Tim Buckley, the airplane and Hugh Masekela….I’m so glad you listed the acts because I couldn’t remember a lot of them….[hell it was the 60’s] …..one of my favorite memories was seeing the ladies rooms attendants [ the race track bathrooms were huge and luxurious] gaping in shock as dozens of hippie girls stripped naked and lathered up standing in front of the sinks as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do!!! thanks so much, Bella…..still lovin the music……my other favorite concert was 1966 JFK stadium….The Beatle
I was 21 years old and in the United States Navy, stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital. My youngerst brother came to Philly from Elmira, New York. The trip was my brothers birthday present for his 16th birthday. We took Greyhound to the concert site on Friday morning and hid our gear in a field across the road from the raceway. I remember Dr. John the Night Tripper opening the show, he was dressed up like a Voodoo Prince. and the
revolving stage jammed so Dr. John was on a lot longer than expected.
I agree with others that the performers that stood out most were, Santana, Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Chambers Brothers, The Mothers of Invention, and Janis Joplin to mention a few. I remember when CCR were playing, I was dancing in the isle and yelled at some girl
"if this music dosen't move you ... you must be dead.
We saw pretty girls, people tripping on acid [they were eating toothpaste], a few bikers on Harley's and miscellaneous other sights. The weekend
was exhausting and a highlight of my life! The next week I was supposed to go to Woodstock with my other brother, however the woman that later
became my first wife raised hell about my trip to Woodstock, so I stayed home, and my other brother went off to Woodstock.
I hope a few people enjoy reading my rememberances, I enjoyed recording them.
For old time sake --- PEACE ..
Mark in Hyattsville, MD
Just graduated from high school in MD and a few weeks earlier had been to the Laurel Pop Festival just up the road. Buddy Guy, Ten Years After Sly, Tull and Zeppelin. We were begging for more. Drove up to Atlantic City with a bunch of newly freaky cohorts. Literally a motley crew. I was wearing a PG County Police shirt that had been “liberated” from a laundry room at a local apartment complex. We had a tent but it was not really big enough and I recall it rained.
I remember Credence being particularly good. At one point they said “we’d like to dedicate this next song to George Corley Wallace”. It was: Bad Moon Rising.
I’d never heard of Santana at that time but they were amazing.
The Iron Butterfly was a big draw. Looking back they seem somewhat quaint.
I remember a great debate raging in the stands when Joni Mitchell walked off stage due to the lack of attention she was receiving from the crowd. Some claimed she owed it to the faithful music lovers to finish her set and ignore the indifferent reception. Others argued that as an artist, she shouldn’t have to put up with such a lack of respect. I was sorry I didn’t get to hear her. Turns out she survived the Atlantic City debacle. I saw her ten years later in SF, with Pat Metheney, Lyle Mays and Jaco Pastorious; Has to rank as one of the best shows ever.
Perhaps I’m mistaken but I believe The Chambers Brothers were the top billed act on the first night. Everyone was rocking and swaying to Time Has Come Today. Many years later I encountered the Brothers (or some version of them) while I was running the box office at a nightclub in California. They had played some months back and needed to cash a check they’d received for a gig at the University, where payment was not in cash.
Carol in Philly
I am 55 years old now and for 35 years I have told people that the best "concert" I have ever been to was the Atlantic City Rock Festival, one week before Woodstock. Mostly, I have received blank stares or "oh reallys". No one ever heard of it, of course, there really was no press about it either before or after. The first time I ever read anything about it since summer of 69 was this past summer in the Philadelphia Inquirer written by Dan DeLuca.
Like many Philadelphians my friends and I were "down the shore". We were all 19 turning 20 that summer. I have a 19 year old daughter now whose favorite groups are Dave Matthews and Phish (no longer together I hear) so I can understand how important her music is to her now while reliving experiences like this concert which my friends and I snuck into. We had a group house in Avalon. Our guy friends rented the 24th street house, we (the girls) were at the Dune Drive and 11th street house. We took a vote, some wanted to go to the beach, some wanted to go to the concert. We did not have any money. So, two car loads went to the AC racetrack, parked in the back (on the Black Horse Pike) illegally, I might add and then politely climbed over the fence and did not pay! I still feel like 19 when I play the music I heard that weekend. If I close my eyes I can picture Janis Joplin singing "" A little piece of my heart" Oh yes indeed.
Jeffrey in Los Angeles
My friend Allan and I hitched to the festival from Long Island. We got there in
time for the Butterfield set and it was magnificent. He had his full band with
him and really gave it his all. We also heard Credence and the Airplane. It was
a wildly supportive and good natured crowd. The estimate was 125K people at the
track.....mostly young people. Packed to the walls with everyone looking for a
Mr. Lee in Pittsburgh
I graduated from high school
the summer of 69 and spent the summer hitch hiking around dc, ocean city
Maryland and back to Pittsburgh. tom, Dave and myself, three 17 year olds,
hitch-hiked from Pittsburgh to Atlantic city. it was very, very hot on July 31st
and humid as hell. we stopped to eat new jersey peaches along the way from some
farmers orchard. we were dying and contemplating hijacking someone's car just to
stop walking and get there. we swore the next car that stopped, we would do it.
it happened to be two black brothers, two very big black brothers, who bothered
to stop and pick up 3 white guys. they were great. they were going to ac as
well. we all got stoned along the way. our friends Rick and Gary were hitch
hiking as well and would meet us there. it was a miracle that Gary went. his
parents never let this 16 year old do anything because Gary had a bad heart
condition. he had been coddled all his life. the doctors said he would never
graduate high school. he wasabout to go into his senior year. taking Gary to ac
was the event of his life. we camped out, outside of the race track where the
concert was. we tripped most of the 3 days. I remember tickets being $20 for 3
days. is that right? people eventually crashed the gates and after awhile, it
was a free concert. that seemed to be the case at most rock festivals. for three
days it never rained and it was hot as hell. there were concession stands with
food and souvenirs, bathrooms, seats (if you were in the club house), a medical
tent for the bad acid, it was all there, basically a successful event. that's
why no one ever heard of the ac pop festival. if it had been a disaster like
Woodstock two weeks later, it would have gotten recognition. I remember Joni
My buddy Dean and I drove down
from NY State in Dean's white jalopy
Yeah, I was there too. I had just started my first real job a month earlier, so I was late getting there, just as Joni Mitchell walked off the stage, excoriating the crowd for not realizing she had sung the same verse twice, and nobody noticed. Friday was pretty tame, and we were told that Crosby, Stills and Nash weren't gonna be there after all.
Saturday was a beautiful day as I remember it, and I remember being the passer of joints, all day long. As I had a responsible state job, I knew that taking drugs would get me fired, so I passed!
The highlights for me on Saturday were the extremely short set that CCR played (since they sounded exactly like their albums) and the Joshua Light Show during Jefferson Airplane, plus the fact that all of my friends who cared even a little bit about music were all there.
Sunday came, and with it Sir Douglas Quintet, which was a pleasant way to start off the day- then out walked Carlos Santana, who announced to the crowd that the name of the next band was the Santana band, and "we are not a blues band, as I think you will soon find out." The band came out, played their entire first album (I don't remember Black Magic Woman), and blew the entire crowd away. Later on came Frank Zappa, who announced, somewhat disgustedly, that he had to shorten his set, "To make way for some important acts." Janis came later, and was fabulous, and unless I am hallucinating now, Hendrix closed the show- I say this because I only saw him live once, it was outdoors, and I wasn't at Woodstock!
It was a great concert, maybe because I was all of 22 at the time, but I am surprised that no Videos, or audios have ever surfaced from this concert. Given the fact that the folks from Electric Factory were involved, I can't believe that these tapes aren't in someone's basement or safe deposit box.
David from Atlantic City
I lived in Atlantic City the summer of '69 and attended every minute of the festival. It was held at the horse race track outside the city on the mainland. My girlfriend and I went out there each day and back home again in the city each night after the show. I don't remember too much of the acts except Joni Mitchell stopping in the middle of her set, Janis Joplin wonderfully out of control, Little Richard screaming incoherently at the top of his lungs, and Santana the unknown being great. I've seen many of the groups that were there since so it's hard to remember which performance was at AC. Anyway, my 18th birthday was on August 2nd and this couple from Wilkes Barre PA we met the day before and got a hold of a cake somewhere, maybe my girlfriend brought it, and the whole crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to me. It was simply outrageous, a special memory. We kept bringing food out to the festival each day to share as so many people there had nothing to eat and the food concessions were just overwhelmed. It was one of the great memories of my life. I still have the T-shirt, lovingly preserved all these 35 years!! The next week we took off for Woodstock, nothing could have kept us away. And that's a whole nother story...................but one thing's for sure, that was the summer we all grew up. It shaped my life.
Thanks for the cool site. It dredged up a lot of memories. Here's some on Atlantic City.
3 of us piled into my VW for the ride to the Atlantic City Festival: me , Mike, and my buddy Richie (wonder if YOU're still alive, bro?). We headed out of Jersey City late afternoon, and made it to the track before dark. We each had a couple of Tshirts, and each had a bag of assorted substances to snack on. The VW had no radio, so I rigged a 15 inch speaker to a mono cassette recorder. We got to the track, parked and set up a base, meaning I threw my army blankets on the ground. No tent, no sleeping bags. Mike decided to drop acid, and ended up groveling on the ground and eating dirt. After Richie's Dexedrine's wore off, he locked himself in the VW and crashed. I chainsmoked joints and babbled with everybody that would listen. Slept about an hour. I remember a shitload of Pagans arriving on their Harleys in the middle of the night, sounding like Armageddon. In the AM we went into the track and the music was going. I remember making a tape live on the cassette that I had for YEARS, but is lost now. Tim Buckley, the Byrds, Hugh Masekela, Booker T & the MGS ("play it Steve"), Butterfield, BB, Creedence, and the Airplane. Mike & I were in a blues band at the time so we were digging it to hell. Amazingly, we met up with friends from Jersey City there who had even MORE drugs. The sights were unreal: people tripping their brains out all over, zillions of hippie chicks, colors galore. I remember seeing one of the Pagans on a chromed Sportster chopper that had obviously fallen in a drunken stupor, as his back and arms looked like somebody skinned him. I saw what became "the legendary guy with the rag on his head" stick his entire head into a massive PA horn speaker for about an hour (I'm sure he can no longer hear). We laughed so hard we hurt till Wednesday. Went back and crashed Saturday night a our friends motel (no sleep that night, laying on the floor, wishing I was sleeping with my buddy's wife.....). Sunday we got up and drove back to JC as we had to work the next day. I gave Mike the wheel and crashed out, only to wake up about 10 miles from home in front of Newark Airport after Mike burned out the Bug's clutch. Had to call the old man to come get us. Probably one of the best weekends of my life. Finally quit the drugs a while back. Still play guitar, ride Harleys, and listen to music. And oh, yeah........ about that buddy's wife...............
Thanks, T, for turning me on to this site,
Another Great Story from Neil in San Antonio Texas
I graduated from high school that summer and the trip to the festival was my graduation present. If my Mother only knew. We made some 8mm movies of the trip, but I think they're lost. We drove from San Antonio Texas straight through to Atlantic City in my green Chevelle SS 396. I might add that we smoked the entire way. Even when I was hitting about 100 on the highway in Tennessee. We got to the festival grounds Friday morning and met some freaky guy who was selling LSD. We loaded up on goods and then went to the show. I thought the show started on Friday, but my memory is a little flawed when it comes to that time. I remember that nutty guy from AUM jumping off the stage. Dr. John was doing his Night Tripper stuff and really freaked out one of my high flying buddies. Miles Davis was totally weird. I was unfamiliar with his music and this was around Bitches Brew. There was a couple standing in front of us and the guy was weeping loudly. Bawling. This guy was obviously having a bad trip and Davis' music was putting him over the edge. His girlfriend had to take him out of the park. Procol Harum began with the theme fro 2001. Tim Buckley was fantastic. I remember him just wailing away. Frank Zappa kept shooting the finger at the crowd and really get them riled up. I was standing next to a group of bikers who kept tossing their beer bottles at the stage. I think the high point was Creedence Clearwater Revival. What a fantastic show. I don't remember the Sir Douglas Quintet playing. I am from San Antonio so I though I might have remembered seeing them. After the show we were going to go to Woodstock, but my mother wouldn't send me anymore money. Oh well.
Another Great Story from Bill in Nashville, TN
Thanks for giving me a place to
remember one of the greatest times of my life. Many things about
that weekend are pretty fuzzy, for obvious reasons, but other people's
recollections brought back memories for me that were buried deep and presumed
lost. It was summer at home in Richmond and all my college friends
were scattered about the states, so I hitchhiked to Atlantic City by myself on
Friday. A guy I met and palled around with at the festival gave me a ride back
to his parents house in Philly Sunday night. We were so "tired" we
had to hang our heads out the car window to stay awake. Needless to
say, I didn't make it back to work on Monday, since I spent the day hitchhiking
home to Richmond. The next week, when I asked my boss if I could
have off on Friday again to go to Woodstock, he said, "HELL NO, last week you
took Friday off and missed Monday." I should have called in sick
from the road, but I wasn't exactly thinking straight at that point.
After that weekend of music and mayhem, I wasn't sure I wanted to go back to my
life, much less my summer job.
More Atlantic City Pop Info from Del
There we were near the front of the stage. It must have been Sunday night, about eight. We had seen Santana, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker and a bunch of other groups I can’t recall at the moment and now it was Janis Joplin’s turn to take the stage. Big Brother or whoever was now backing her came out and started setting up and finally all was ready and Janis appeared. The crowd roared and pressed forward. She started her set, swigging from what looked like a bottle of Southern Comfort at opportune moments between verses, which were frequent. The crowd was loving her. I found her unappealing and her music depressing, but what did I know, unsophisticated and mired in middle class tastes as I still was? Anyway about halfway through her set as she was singing
C’mon, TAKE IT! Take another little piece ‘o my heart now baby!
she started disrobing, tearing off her outerwear and throwing it into the crowd. I hadn’t been paying close attention to her and had been looking away from the stage for a moment. I returned my attention to the stage just in time to see a white go-go boot come flying through the air directly toward my head. My somewhat altered mind found this slowly spiraling object most fascinating in the half second before it impacted, glancing off my cranium into the crowd behind me where it was quickly grabbed at by many hands and disappeared. I dimly noted the useless observation that it appeared to have been a left boot and had rinestones. Stunned, I looked up at the stage and she was looking right me wailing
You know you got, if it makes you feel good! Oh, yeah!
My friends, after a moment of incredulous silence, broke up laughing hysterically.
Oh, wow, man! Did you see that? He got hit in the head with with her fucking boot! Fucking Janis Joplin hit him in the head with her boot!
Somewhat dazed I said,
yeah, never mind that shit, is she gonna throw the other one? She’s got that one off now, too, look out, she’s gonna launch… there it goes!
She threw that one elsewhere into the crowd so probably she wasn’t aiming at me after all. Somehow, all of this seemed perfectly normal
And such Is my claim To rock and roll Fame.
More Atlantic City Pop Info from Winnie
Some of my most vivid memories were the camping outside the
track. We camped near what seemed to be the "entertainment center" of the
campsites. There was a large bonfire each night. There was the "Ripple Lady"
who would chug bottles of Ripple being encouraged by everyone. It was
actually kinda gross. She would end up passed out. I recall one evening when
large plastic bags full of pot were passed around the gathered crowd. Where
they came from... I couldn't tell you, but it was very generous. Yeeha!!
Back to home to Rochester NY and then off to Woodstock. What a summer!!!! A
friends parents were in France for a month and our large group of friends
hung out there.
More Atlantic City Pop Info from Gary
I WAS THERE IN THE FRONT RIGHT ON THE TARMAC WITH FOUR CHICKS FROM TORONTO...WHAT A CONCERT! BIFF ROSE WAS THE M. C. FOR THE EVENT. IT STARTED ON AUGUST 1ST....JONI MITCHELL STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF HER FIRST SONG...FOUND OUT YEARS LATER THAT SHE HAD BROKEN UP WITH HER BOYFRIEND AT THE TIME AND WAS EMOTIONALLY UPSET.
THE LEAD SINGER OF AUM DID AN AWESOME LEAP/FLIP OFF THE STAGE ON THE FINALE AND LANDED ON HIS FEET. CHAMBER BROTHERS DID A RENDITION OF TIME THAT LASTED FOR IT SEEMS NOW LIKE 45 MINUTES TO WRAP UP THE FIRST DAY'S SHOW.
THANKS FOR BRINGING UP ALL THE GREAT MEMORIES.
A HUI HOU
More Atlantic City Pop Info from Don in Virginia Beach
I was doing some research tonight after I had been trying to
explain to my kids, now
I remember each of the groups so well, and added at the bottom
I'm sure there were some substitutions, but I don't
remember any no-shows; I think the
I'll never forget it; what memories!
More Atlantic City Pop Info from Dennis Fenlon
I was there and saw the whole show. I watched John Fogerty
from CCR kick a guy in the
Thanks to Donna and Joanna for taking Papa Joes camper for the ride. We all loved him and miss him.
I got home from Atlantic City, a week later we took off for
If you have any info or stories about any shows on my site
just send them to me.
This site was last updated 09/06/14
This site was last updated 09/06/14