Laurel Pop Festival

 

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Laurel Pop Festival
Laurel Race Track In Laurel Maryland

Friday Night July 11th 1969

Buddy Guy - Great Blues Guitar

Edwin Hawkins Singers

Al Kooper Band - Remember the album "Super Session"

Jethro Tull - 1st album was out.

Johnny Winter - 1st (Columbia) album was out. He Kicked Ass

Led Zeppelin - There 2nd Album was just coming out. U.F.B.

Saturday Night July 12th 1969

Jeff Beck

Ten Years After - Alvin Lee

Sly & The Family Stone

Mothers Of Invention - Frank Zappa

Savoy Brown

Guess Who

The first time I saw Zeppelin was about a month before at the Merriweather Post Pavilion In
Columbia, MD (Outside DC). We actually went to see the WHO. The ad posters said
THE
WHO, at the bottom was "With Led Zeppelin" in smaller print. We had been anticipating
them because of the Yardbirds (Page, Clapton, and Jeff Beck all from the Yardbirds) and
there first album had been out for awhile. That show was May 25 , 1969 and the tickets
were $5.50 each.
By July 11,1969 they were top billing at the "Laurel Pop Festival"

All the Bands were still in there "Trying to make it -Mode". Which means they
were "hungry" and at there BEST.

Cover of the Laurel Pop Festival program


Here is the entire Laurel Pop Festival Program


Inside of Flyer


Front Cover Of Flyer

Here are some photos Tom shot both nights. We were 17 year old kids with a Kodak Instamatic.
We snuck backstage and talked to the artists.


Jeff Beck

Johnny Winter (Backstage)

Jimmy Page (Backstage) with roadie

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

Alvin Lee (10 Years After)

Robert Plant (Backstage)

Jethro Tull

Johnny Winter

Laurel Pop Stories

I just discovered your site.  I love it.  Here's a pic of my girlfriend Debbie and me before the show on July 11th, 1969. 
Only a few other people were there.  We arrived early to picnic on bread, wine, and cheese (and other things) with my best friend and his girlfriend.
John G.
 

 

 


I greatly enjoy your web-page, here's my story...
My (late) father was Paul Christy, the DJ at WEAM Washington, D.C. He took me to the Laurel Pop festival and arranged for me to introduce on stage my favorite band, the Mothers of Invention. Here's the funny thing, I was about to turn 8 years old at the time! Frank Zappa thought it would be a cool thing to do. I watched the show from the stage, by the side of the drum kit. (I grew up to become a drummer, among other things). Anybody remember this?
 
Chris Christy
Detroit, Michigan 

christo10@hotmail.com


I got my girlfriend (now my wife!) to sneak out and we went to the festival from Northern Virginia. We only had enough money for the cheapest tickets. So we're sitting there in the infield, pretty far from the stage, and this festival guy is walking around, and no one will give him a light for his cigarette. So I says that I will give him a light. In gratitude, he gives us his pass and tells us to go to the front and he'll get his pass back later. So we get a place in the front. Incredible show! I would guess that the Edwin Hawkins Singers felt a little out of place. Such a lot of primal rock and roll! What I most remember is during Led Zeppelin's set, it was getting really late, and they turned off Robert Plant's mic. He was pissed and hollered loud enough we could hear him over the band! They turned it back on, and they played for a little while longer until they cut off the power.

Richard


I remember it well......................I was 20 yrs. old with a new 69' Chevelle SS 396. I was a big fan of Zep,J.Winter,Jeff Beck, Mothers,etc.etc.etc. I remember when Zeppelin closed the show and the P.A. System was turned off because of people in the surrounding town complained and forced the show to end............but you could still hear Robert wailing above Bonzo's drums...................and that's when we started burning the chairs in a huge BonFire.

  • Those were amazing times for music and I still have my ticket stubs to all the concerts that I went too, many of the same ones you went too. And then there was the following month of August and off to the Atlantic City Pop Festival..................Ah the Summer of 69'

God bless ya for having all the stuff here that make memories everlasting !

Chip


Hello -- can't believe how many of the exact same concerts I attended as you -- wish I'd saved my ticket stubs like you did. I wanna add a couple of important factoids to a couple of your concert blurbs and ask a question or two. First -- was that Hendrix concert at the Balt Civic Center the one with Buddy Miles? If so, I was there as well as the Hendrix show at the Hilton in DC.

Also -- add "The Edwin Hawkins Singers" to your line-up at Laurel Pop, Friday night. (sad, but true :D )

The Cream concert ($10.00!!! Remember how outrageous that was??) That was their farewell concert (very important item to add) and the opening acts were: The Terry Reid group and The Moody Blues. I was there, too -- what a show!

I saw a lot of the same acts you did, but different places -- saw the Iron Butterfly open for the Airplane at Shady Grove. Saw John McLaughlin with AlDiMeola & Paco DeLucia at the Kennedy Center and saw Weather Report at DAR.

That's about it for now. Cheers! Cool website (damn! I wish I'd saved those stubs!)

Allen R.

Johnson, Jr.


It was quite a coup to have a two day festival with so many big name acts just up the road from my home in Lanham.

The evening started out poorly with me getting stood up by the girl I'd arranged to take to the show.
It turned out OK in that I gave the ticket to my friend who turned 18 that day. He was killed a few years later so I'm glad he had the chance to attend such a memorable show.
I was a huge Zeppelin fan by that time, having seen them open for the Who up at Merriweather and wearing out the vinyl grooves in the Legendary LZ I album. I didn't know what to make of Tull. I'd only heard a little about them and they were considered a sort of "jazz-rock" group then what with Mick Abrahams on guitar and Anderson doing his Roland Kirk imitations on flute.
Anderson with his long beard and clad in what appeared to be a tattered bathroom had us shaking our heads in delighted amazement with his antics on stage . At one point, with his back to the audience, he went into a slow theatrical half turn and pointed a bony finger at the assembled crowd of newly minted freaks hissing "Juunkieeesssss!" We loved it.
 I remember Led Zeppelin playing Communication Breakdown as it started to rain. I don't know that it was the greatest performance of LZ ( I saw them several times over the next years including twice at Baltimore) but at that time they could do no wrong.
Can it be true that all this went down almost 40 years ago?
Nah!!
 
Mark G

Here’s what I remember about Laurel.

By Michael M.

I was a big Jethro Tull fan and I thought they were great. One thing I often think of now is that they played brand new songs we had never even heard and we thought that was cool. That would NEVER happen today. Band HAVE to play the hits. Too bad because it really takes you into their creativity and you come to a show not knowing what to expect. Makes for much more excitement. Tull did not disappoint.
Zeppelin as I said in a previous email was good but Johnny Winter was just SO overpowering that they paled in comparison.
I don’t remember Al Kooper. I loved Blood, Sweat, and Tears (which he was the brains behind) but I honestly don’t remember a thing about him that day.
Winter as I said was a true guitar god. Striding around the stage like a man possessed. A master of the fretboard playing with a ferocity that was unrivaled. I just saw him last month her in LA. He’s a mere shadow of himself in everyway but I had to pay tribute to one of the greats.
The Edwin Hawkins Singers were one of the highlights for me. I love gospel music (isn’t that where rock and roll comes from??!!) and they were stratospheric. I don’t believe in god but I sure did that day. Wow.
I’ve never been much of a Buddy Guy fan. He’s good but to me lacks the conviction of other players. He puts on a good show but neither his singing nor guitar playing really rings my bell.
I saw Jeff Beck probably half a dozen times around this time and always enjoyed his playing. What amazing control. More of a rebel than a revolutionary he didn’t really stick which was too bad. I just read that he and Rod were starting in a new direction when he was in a car accident and as a result their paths split. Too bad. I just saw him a year or two ago and he is as amazing as ever.
Ten Years After was a frenetic group that was fun at the time but didn’t run too deep. There was just a good interview with Alvin Lee in Guitar Player.
One of the best shows (if not the best) I ever saw was Sly in Boston and this show was not as good. It was a good show but not an amazing show. To me Sly and Jimi are the top of the heap. Same with Jimi: first show amazing, second just great.
What I remember about Zappa was that it started to drizzle and the horn section pulled a huge piece of clear plastic sheeting over themselves and kept playing. Hilarious.
Don’t remember anything about Savoy Brown.
The Guess Who were awful. The played one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. Something about 13 steps or something but it was just dreadful.
And wasn’t there a Laurel Jazz Festival? I went to that too although Cannonball Adderley is all I can recall.


My Gonzaga classmate Pete and my younger brother Kevin and I had $6.75 tickets like the one pictured for Friday night's show. We were sitting in the wayback when a group of people -- my recollection is that one of them was Bill Craig, who lived a few blocks from me in Hollywood, a suburb of College Park, and whom I had met the semester before at the University of Maryland -- surged forward over the snow fence dividing the seating sections from one another to colonize $12 seats.

Pete and Kevin and I joined the invasion, and wound up about ten rows back from the stage. When the inevitable usher arrived and demanded to see our tickets, we pretended to be foreigners. Kevin and I both had used the same German text at Gonzaga, so we began reciting both parts of a dialogue from "Deutsch Erstes Buch" in which a tourist is asking a traffic policemen for directions to the cathedral. Pete had taken French, and he used the same tack.

"Where are your tickets?" the usher said.

"Entschuldigen se bitte mir, Herr Wachtmeister, " I said to him, looking as earnest as I could. "Wo ist der Dom, bitte?"

"Der Dom ist nicht weit von hier," Kevin said. "Geradeaus, dann links."

"Vraiment, la cite, c'est tres belle," Pete said, or something like that.

"I said, where are your tickets?"

"Geradeaus, dann links? Ausgezeichnet!"

This went on for a while until the usher gave up and rousted Craig and his pals, and we enjoyed the show immensely. The era being what it was, it made perfect sense to be drenched in so much live excellent music for such a pittance. I still remember vividly Led Zeppelin leaving the stage at the end of their set and, from behind the amplifier bank, starting "Communications Breakdown" as an encore, with Plant leaping like a superhero over the Marshalls, only to have someone cut the power at mid-verse.

The next night Kevin and I went to the Biograph to see "Monterey Pop!" and it's been downhill ever since.

-- Mike Dolan


Great to read your blurb about this show. I'm sure you know that it continued Saturday night the 12th- I went to that night and saw the Guess Who, 10 Years After, Mothers of Invention, and Savoy Brown, among others- I stumbled backstage after the show and saw Frank Zappa holding hands with a woman not his wife and then getting ready for a filmed interview with a local DJ. I was only 15 then, nobody told me to get out- those were the days!
George


Recollections from a then 15 year old Rock and Roller

I remember Sly and the Family Stone as stealing the show on Saturday night. They were awesome and had a funky groove that got me and my friends up and dancing. That is one of my favorite all time performances. I liked Guess Who set although I wasn't a fan of theirs. As usual, Frank Zappa put on a great show and the Jeff Beck Band featuring Rod Stewart was great. I don't think Savoy Brown played as the show ran late and the promoter were angry cause the crowd had built bonfires out of the wooden chairs as it was a chilly wet night.I didn't go the night before because I didn't have the money. One of many regrets.

Tom

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This site was last updated 03/24/11

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