Atlanta International Pop Festival (1969)
|Atlanta International Pop Festival|
Poster for the event
|Genre||Rock, pop, jazz, blues|
|Founded by||Chris Cowing, Robin Conant and Alex Cooley|
The first Atlanta International Pop Festival was a rock festival held at the Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, Georgia, twenty miles south of Atlanta, on the July Fourth (Friday) weekend, 1969, more than a month before Woodstock. Crowd estimates ranged from the high tens of thousands to as high as 150,000. With temperatures nearing a hundred degrees, local fire departments used fire hoses to create "sprinklers" for the crowd to play in and cool off. It was a peaceful, energetic, hot and loud festival with few (if any) problems other than heat related. Concession stands were woefully inadequate. Attendees frequently stood in line for an hour to get a soft drink.
The festival was organized by a promotional team that included Chris Cowing, Robin Conant and Alex Cooley. Cooley was also one of the organizers of the Texas International Pop Festival a few weeks later on Labor Day weekend, as well as the second, and last, Atlanta International Pop Festival the following summer, and the Mar Y Sol Pop Festival in Puerto Rico from April 1-3, 1972. The sound system for the 1969 Atlanta festival was supplied by Hanley Sound of Medford, Massachusetts, and the light show was provided by The Electric Collage of Atlanta, both of which would return for the second Atlanta Pop Festival.
On the Monday following the festival, July 7, the festival promoters gave Atlanta’s music fans a gift: a free concert in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park featuring Chicago Transit Authority, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, and Spirit, all of whom had played at the festival, and Grateful Dead, who had not. According to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the free event was the promoters’ way of showing “their appreciation for the overwhelming success of the festival”, although Alex Cooley has also described their motivation as simple hippie guilt at making a few-thousand-dollar profit. Piedmont Park had by then become the location of regular, free, and often impromptu rock concerts by mostly local Atlanta bands, and, beginning in mid-May of 1969, by Macon’s new Allman Brothers Band. 
Over twenty musical acts performed at the event:
- Roberts, Scott. (July 2011). "42 Years Ago This Month: The First Atlanta International Pop Festival". Atlanta Magazine.
- Haden, Courtney. (July 2, 2009). "Remembering the Atlanta International Pop Festival". Birmingham Weekly.
- Beeman, Paul. (July 6, 1969). "Music Fans Stay Orderly Despite Heat, Wine, Drugs". The Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
- Santelli, Robert. Aquarius Rising - The Rock Festival Years. 1980. Dell Publishing Co., Inc. pp. 105-109, 266-7.
- Beeman, Paul. (July 7, 1969). "Pop’s the Thing Despite Heat at Hampton". The Atlanta Journal.
- McCabe, Tim. August 1969. “Festival Review”. Metro Beat.
- Beeman, Paul. (July 6, 1969). "Pop Group List Concert at Park". The Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
- Budnick, Dean and Baron, Josh. Ticket Masters. 2011. ECW Press, Toronto.
- Mankin, Bill. "We Can All Join In: How Rock Festivals Helped Change America". Like the Dew. 2012.
- The festival as chronicled by The Strip Project
- Media related to Atlanta International Pop Festival (1969) at Wikimedia Commons