– 1970 Atlanta International Pop Festival Site Receives Marker from Georgia Historical Society –
Only a part of the name is a misnomer. Byron is nowhere near Atlanta, but it was definitely a pop festival. Famous and soon-to-be famous acts included: The Allman Brothers Band, Jimi Hendrix, Ten Years After, Procol Harum, B. B. King, Mountain, Captain Beefheart, Rare Earth, The Chambers Brothers, Chicago Transit Authority, Poco, Ravi Shankar, Grand Funk Railroad, Spirit, The Bob Seger System, and others. Atlanta concert promoter Alex Cooley sold tickets at a mere $14 each.
Christina M. Wright’s story in The Macon Telegraph has the scoop on honoring the epic “three days of love peace and music” in Byron, Georgia, over a long Independence Day weekend in 1970.
In retrospect it was a time of relative innocence despite the nudity and omnipresent acid and other hallucinogenics. No arrests were made and the only person shot was a photographer who accidentally shot himself in the hand while climbing a telephone pole. Governor Lester Maddox circled the event vainly in a helicopter.
At midnight on the morning of July 4th, Jimi Hendrix would deliver his explosive performance of The Star Spangled Banner with fireworks on and off the stage before the largest crowd of his career. In ten short weeks he would be dead.
Should an event be honored simply because between 250,000 and 600,000 people gathered in a soybean field for a music concert? If not, should it be remembered for the cultural change it signaled or for the amazing talent presented?
For additional information and a lot of pictures, please see: