The summer of the endless festival

by Ritchie Yorke
Toronto Globe and Mail
June 26, 1969

With last weekend's Toronto Pop Festival still on so many hiplips and with the now fashionable trend of attending as many festivals as possible during the summer, it is interesting to scan the list of North American pop festivals scheduled for 1969.

An estimated 15,000 of last weekend's 50,000 audience at Toronto's festival came from out of town, and if the trend continues, a large number of Canadians will be crossing the border for nearby U.S. Festivals.

This seems to be the year of the pop festival. More than 20 are planned.

This weekend there is the Denver Pop Festival with appearances scheduled by Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Creedence Clearwater, Iron Butterfly, Joe Cocker, and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

On July 11, a Blind Faith Festival will be held at Newport, R.I., featuring the new Cream - Eric Clapton, ginger Baker, Stevie Winwood and Rick Grech. The not-to-be-confused Newport Jazz Festival runs from July 3 through July 6, with the 1969 edition of this long-running annual affair featuring rock bands for the first time. The pop lineup includes Ten Years After, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, B.B. King, John Mayall, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

On the weekend of July 11 and 12, there will be coinciding festivals at Laurel, Md., and Philadelphia. The two will feature the same acts on alternate nights, with headliners including the Mothers, Sly and the Family Stone, Ten Years After, Led Zeppelin, Buddy Guy and Jethro Tull.

Even Atlanta has a festival, which will take place on July 3, 4 and 5, with Johnny Winter, Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

On Aug. 1, 2, and3, the Atlantic City Festival takes place and already there is talk around Toronto of hiring several buses to make the trip. Acts booked include Johnny Winter, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Procol Harum, Iron Butterfly, Booker T., Arthur Brown, Lighthouse, Joe Cocker, the Moody Blues, Little Richard, Janis Joplin and the Buddy Rich band.

With this strong competition, the venerable Newport Folk Festival doesn't dominate as it once did. Its talent includes Sly and the Family Stone, Led Zeppelin, Son House, Van Morrison, The Pentangle, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash and Joni Mitchell.

Toronto's Mariposa Festival, to be held on July 25, 26 and 27, has Joan Baez, Gilles Vigneault, Ian and Sylvia, Joni Mitchell, Lester Flatt and many others.

On Aug. 1 to 3, there'll be an Ann Arbor Blues Festival, with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Hanlin Wolf, Junior Wells, John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Willie Mae Thornton.

Whichever way you turn, the year of the pop Festival is upon us. And if they're all as good as Toronto's, it's going to be a hectic, heavy summer.


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