Story tonight for my pr pal Billy James....

On the 4th of July a bunch of us Army brats grabbed a car and made our way from Ft. Benning GA to a raceway 20 miles south of Atlanta...not very far...we had 1 day planned out as we were so young and failed to alert our parents of our idea.... I was 14 my friend Brian the driver was 16. My best friend Cindy and her friend Kevin rounded out our group.  Cindy was a Martha Stewart type....We had 2 big coolers full of cans of pop, water, snacks and ice. Thankfully there was 4 of us to carry these things.

We left really early in the morning like 630a and got to our location in 3 hours.  Quite a traffic jam getting into the track. We finally got in and found a really good spot...not far from the stage and close to porta johns....I remember very little now except for it being very hot and how I felt when an unknown band from Michigan took the stage and blew the crowd away..the band was GRAND FUNK RAILROAD

We had heard so much loud music already but when GFR took the stage the world stood still...then the joy spread all over the audience. No politics, no war, no more British invasion pop...this was American Rock and it shook us kids to our soul..especially for me being from Ypsilanti, MI and hearing Michigan music in GA...I was so homesick for Detroit music...I teared up just remembering how good Grand funk made me feel...and they still do...

This video was filmed in Texas and the ATL gig was just before but they looked very similar...for history's sake  ATL was 4th of July and TX was Labor Day 1969

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great summary! Thank you!

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