Miami Pop Festival (December 1968)

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Miami Pop Festival
Poster/ad for Miami Pop Festival with scheduled performers
GenrePop music, rock music
DatesDecember 28–30, 1968
Location(s)Gulfstream Park in
Hallandale, Florida
Years active1968
Founded byTom Rounds, Mel Lawrence and others

The Miami Pop Festival is the name by which two different music festivals that took place in 1968 are known. The location for both was Gulfstream Park, a horse racing track in Hallandale, Florida, just north of Miami. Apart from the venue, the two events were not related. The first of the two festivals, which took place in May, was actually officially publicized on promotional materials and in radio ads as the "1968 Pop and Underground Festival," and "The 1968 Pop Festival", and only later came to be referred to colloquially as the "Miami" Pop Festival, a practice which has led to widespread confusion between the two events.


The Miami Pop Festival was held December 28–30, 1968, and was the first major rock festival on America's east coast.[1][2] It was produced by a team led by Tom Rounds and Mel Lawrence, who had previously produced the seminal KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. The crowd size for the three days was estimated to be around 100,000.[3]

Performers covered a wide range of music genres,[4] and included:

Many of these musicians were cast as superheroes in a commemorative comic book distributed at the event. Interesting moments during the festival included: Joni Mitchell inviting former Hollies member and new love interest Graham Nash, as well as Richie Havens to join her onstage to sing Dino Valenti's "Get Together"; Jefferson Airplane's Jack Casady playing bass guitar with Country Joe & the Fish; and folksinger/songwriter icon and Coconut Grove resident Fred Neil stopping in at the festival one day to hang out and enjoy the music.[4] Several acts advertised in early promotional materials did not appear, and their names were removed from subsequent promotions, including John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Dino Valenti and H.P. Lovecraft. Two bands who were expected to appear were unable to perform due to last-minute problems: The McCoys got snowbound in Canada and Booker T. Jones of Booker T. & the M.G.'s got the flu.[5]

This festival was unique in that it was the first rock festival to have two entirely separate 'main' stages several hundred yards apart (the Flower Stage and the Flying Stage), both operating simultaneously and offering performers of equal calibre.[4][6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Santelli, Robert. Aquarius Rising - The Rock Festival Years. 1980. Dell Publishing Co., Inc. Pg. 77.
  2. ^ Sander, Ellen (January 12, 1969). "The Miami Festival: An Inspired Bag of Pop". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Santelli. Pp. 77, 265.
  4. ^ a b c Sander.
  5. ^ "Miami's 350G Gate Tops Year of Pop Fests; Two-Ring Rock at Racetrack". Variety. January 1, 1969.
  6. ^ Santelli. Pp. 78-79.
  7. ^ Kubernik, Harvey and Kubernik, Kenneth. A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival. 2011. Santa Monica Press LLC. Pg. 57.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 25°58′43″N 80°08′17″W / 25.978474°N 80.13799°W / 25.978474; -80.13799