Wednesday, August 27, 2008

History of Festivals Part 7: Miami Pop 1968; 5 Free Yngwie albums

Miami Pop Festival December 28-30 1968

This festival is an important one because it was the first major fesitval held on the east coast, following on from a smaller Miami event in May.

Over 100,00 attended all from the Fort Lauderdale-Miami area.
It as actually held in Hallandale, just outisde of Miami in Gulfstream Park, a massive race track. Promotor Tom Rounds who had organised the Mount Tam fest in Oakland the previous year amazingly rented the track for just $5,000 and a 5% gross of the gate. This more or less guaranteed a decent profit could be made.

Rounds and his associates had already realised you needed to get everyone on your side, so he secured backing of local Governor Claude Kirk, the Mayor of Hallandale and local community groups. All of whom worked together to solve difficulties over sleeping arrangements and traffic jams.

This was an early example of a two stage festival where one band could set up while another played on another stage a few hundred yards away. With stalls and booths inbetween it ensured there was always plenty to do and the music was more or less continuous with bands all playing around 45 minutes each.

The line up was broad-ranging and diverse. From the folk side of things were Joni, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Richie Havens and Ian & Sylvia. Blues was represented by the brilliant Butterfield Blues Band - do check out all their albums if you can; hard core electric chicgo blues at its finest.

Also on the bill were Canned Heat, Booker T and the James Cotton blues Band. Hugh Masekala and the Charles Lloyd Quarter were the jazz element; soul was there in the shape of Marvin Gaye; The Box Tops, Junior Walker and Joe Tex - that's hot stuff right there eh!

If you fancied a bit of bluegrass then Flatt & Scruggs were there to finger pick you to heaven. On the pop side were The Turtles, Three Dog Night and Jose

And finally there were the rock n roll bands. Oh yeah. You got Terry Reid; Procul Harem; Fleetwood Mac; Country Joe; The Dead; Pacific Gas & Electric; Iron Butterfly, Steppenwolf, Sweetwater and Chuck Berry and a host of other local bands. This was one hell of a lot of music wasn't it??! And all for just $7.

The Dead's set was Lovelight, Dark Star > St.Stephen > The Eleven > Cryptical Envelopment > Drums > The Other One > Cryptical Envelopment > Feedback > We
Bid You Goodnight.

By all accounts it was West Coast rockers Pacific Gas that rocked the festival, playing 4 times to thunderous applause. A much forgotten band PG & E are well worth checking out. They were from Los Angeles and were an early racially mixed band. Their 1968 album Get It On, the eponymous follow up and 1970's 'Are you Ready' are a fine triumverate of records. For no good reason I've recently been collecting all their singles on vinyl!
Check them out on youtube here Man they look super groovy!

The Miami Pop Festival was a big success. No trouble lots of great music Rolling Stone ran a headline saying ' The Most Festive Festival of 1968' and indeed, it proved to be a great way to wrap up a great year of rock n roll.

Tom Rounds got all the plaudits and planned a follow up fest the next year and had got everyone on board once again, then Woodstock happened and the authorities panicked. They feared half a million kids would show up in Hallandale this time and wreck the whole place. They pulled his permits and the festival never happened. In one short year the whole festival vibe had gone from being one of groovy acceptance of this new social phenomena to fear of the
breakdown of society. All of which seems a shame really.

As this fesitval showed early on, it was quite possible for everyone to have a good time, to get their rocks off, for the promoters and bands to get paid and for everyone to go home happy to have been part of some good vibes and great music.

Within a year Altamont had proved to be the flip side to this enlightened dream, ending in violence and murder. But in 1968 in Miami the future still looked golden as the bands jammed together long into the night.

Free Stuff

This week you get a chance to win 5 Yngwie Malmsteen Albums. yes 5!

You get all of these:
War To End All Wars
Magnum Opus
Double Live
Seventh Sign

If you like a sweeping arpegio, a lot of legato noodling then these albums are right up your shanghai noodle factory. If you've not got our Yngwie shirt it is here

I've got 5 sets of these to give away. For a chance to win email me with your address and Malmsteen in the subject box. I'll draw 5 at random next week.

All other draws have now been made so ther's no point in entering any of the ones below!

Rock on!


No comments: