(Various British and American Artists 1970)
This triple album is a compilation release for two major rock festivals held at the start of the 70's in both the U.K and the U.S
Both 'The Isle Of Wight' and the 'Atlanta Pop Festival' were held at a time when the world was still recovering from 'Woodstock', yet they still managed to become significant events in their own right.
The Isle of Wight concert was the biggest ever festival to be held in the UK . Forty years on, its still not been topped, not by Knebworth , Live Aid , or Reading. No one has even come close to the 600,000 odd figure bandied about in some circles. At least half a million attended, maybe more. It was very badly organised in many respects, such as the relations between the organisers and the bands , the organisers and the audience as well as the actual site location chosen by the promoters.
Selecting a site overlooked by a commodious hill , which afforded non paying squatters a free view of the entire proceedings was not a good move, although we should also remember that this was not their first choice as a site. This fact alone was to give the promoters, the Foulk brothers, endless logistical headaches , as many who might have paid to get inside the arena sat on the hill for the entire week .
The preceding Isle of Wight Festivals, also promoted by the Foulks, had already gained a good reputation in 1968 and 1969 by featuring acts such as Jefferson Airplane, T. Rex, The Move, Pretty Things, Joe Cocker, The Who and Bob Dylan in his first performance since his 1966 motorcycle accident.
The 1970 version, following Wood in the previous year, set out to move one step forward and stockenlisted Jimi Hendrix. With Hendrix confirmed, artists such as Ten Years After, Chicago, The Doors, The Who and Free willingly took up the chance to play there. The event had a magnificent but impractical site, since the prevailing wind blew the sound sideways across the venue, and the sound system had to be augmented by Pink Floyd's PA.
Political and logistical difficulties resulted in the organisers eventually realising that the festival would not make a profit and declaring it to be "a free festival", although the majority of the audience had paid for tickets in advance, and the event was filmed contemporaneously. However, at the time, the commercial failings of the festival ensured it would be the last event of its kind on the Isle of Wight for thirty-two years.
Many of the names on the bill were big, but time has shown that they were not the cream of the crop from the era. Highlights were performances by The Who , Joni Mitchell and Miles Davis . Free, Taste , Family and Jethro Tull were good, but there were also disappointing sets by artists that were not performing at their best , such as The Doors and , sadly, Jimi Hendrix . Most of the rest of the bill were artists that were unsuited for the big outdoors , such as Donovan, Leonard Cohen and Joan Baez, or simply second rate .
If one then adds the logistics of just getting around the arena , to visit the toilets , eat food and get a good view of the stage, it becomes evident that in reality many in the crowd did not see much , hear very well or have a particularly comfortable time.
Still, with such a huge number of attendees, a multitude of events happened that were peripheral to the event itself. A giant inflatable tent played host to a number of bands and provided a diversion for those who could not afford to get into the arena or who had no shelter . A short lived tent city sprang up on Desolation Hill and the great weather ensured that it was possible for hundreds to indulge in nude fun and games on the beach , much to the delight of prurient fleet street reporters who salivated over the prospect of titillating their readers with tales of mass debauchery and drug taking .
Also, on the plus side of things, the sound system was very good , the filming of the event was probably the most comprehensive coverage of any UK rock festival ever undertaken, the weather was unrelentingly and there was some very good music on occasions.
The second Atlanta International Pop Festival was a music festival held at the Middle Georgia Raceway in Byron, Georgia. Originally scheduled for July 3 to July 5, 1970, it did not finish until near dawn on the 6th. It was the only successor to the first Atlanta International Pop
Festival 1969. The event was promoted by Alex Cooley, who had organised the same event the
previous year, as well as the Texas International Pop Festival
Like the Woodstock festival the previous summer, the event was promoted as "three days of peace, love and music." Tickets for the festival were priced at $14. Also like Woodstock, it became an "open event" when the promoter threw open the gates after crowds outside began to tear down the plywood fence that had been erected around the site. An estimated 350,000 to
500,000 and possibly 600,000 people attended.
Performers included The Allman Brothers Band, Jethro Tull (scheduled but did not perform, citing laryngitis), Terry Reid, B.B. King, Procol Harum, Jimi Hendrix, Chambers Brothers, Poco, Grand Funk Railroad, Captain Beef heart, Ravi Shankar, Ten Years After, Johnny Winter, John Sebastian, Mountain, and Spirit. Jimi Hendrix played his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner for the fireworks around midnight on the Fourth of July. Local Atlanta bands Radar
and the Hampton Grease Band also performed.
The following is a first hand account of the festival thanks to Terrell Davis, LaVergne, TN
I had gone to the first Atlanta Festival in Hampton, so I invited a couple of friends, Pat Jaros and Barb Dill, to ride along with me to Bryron.
When we got to the festival there were people everywhere. We parked and walked a long, long way but it was so cool because we talked with so many people on our way into the area. I remember one area being like a drug supermarket, but there weren't any hassle from cops. We made our way down to a lake, striped and jumped in for a cool splash. When we left, I decided not to put my jeans and shirt on. So, I, along with lots of other people, walked down the road naked. The locals trying to use the road were having a large time gawking at everyone, but no one, including the locals, seemed to care. In fact a Georgia State Trooper came by and offered us a ride on his car. It sounded like a good idea until I sat on the hood. Man was it hot. When I said I got my ass fried at the festival, I wasn't kidding.
I was taking a nap on a blanket in the middle of thousands of people who were listening to music, when Pat woke me and said, "You're gonna want to see this." It was the beginning of the Hendrix set, complete with fireworks. I think it was a little past midnight. I remember there were a few hassles coming from middle Tennessee and a few more going back, but while we were at the festival, we were in another world, and certainly, another time
I had a great time and I consider it one of the best times of my life....and I've had some great times!
For more accounts of this festival, see the following website
This three LP set 'The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies' was released by Columbia in 1971 - and is a combination of the Isle of Wight Festival and the Atlanta Pop Festival.
The rip was taken from my vinyl copy which is in very good condition, however there are the occasional crackle and pop at times which only adds to the atmosphere in my opinion.
The post consists of mp3 's ripped at 320kps and includes full album artwork. I have chosen to combine tracks (by the same band) when they run together, to retain the continuity of the live atmosphere. I have also provided CD artwork and amended the track listing accordingly, as the CD release chose to separate all tracks.
For more information on the Isle Of Wight Festival see Isle of Wight Festival and uk rock festivals
CD 1: Atlanta Pop Festival
01. Whipping Post - The Allman Brothers (5:06)
02. Stormy Monday - Mountain (19:34)
03. Mean Mistreater - Johnny Winter And (5:50)
04. Kind Woman - Poco (5:16)
05. Grand Junction - Poco (2:28)
06. Love, Peace And Happiness - The Chambers Brothers (4:20)
07. Statesboro Blues - The Allman Brothers (4:19)
Isle of Wight
08. Stand - Sly & The Family Stone (4:11)
09. You Can Make It If You Try - Sly & The Family Stone (6:04)
10. No Need To Worry - Cactus (5:09)
11. Parchman Farm - Cactus (4:28)
12. Mr. Bojangles - David Bromberg (5:44)
CD 2: Isle of Wight
01. I Can‘t Keep From Cryin‘ Sometimes - Ten Years After (19:09)
02. Salty Dog - Procol Harum (4:58)
03. Tonight Will Be Fine - Leonard Cohen (6:48)
04. Message To Love - Jimi Hendrix (6:53)
05. Midnight Lightning - Jimi Hendrix (4:07)
06. Foxy Lady - Jimi Hendrix (4:12)
07. Blame It On The Stones - Kris Kristofferson (4:01)
08. The Pilgrim – Chapter 33 - Kris Kristofferson (2:47)
09. Call It Anythin‘ - Miles Davis (17:31)
Great Rock Festivals CD1 (156Mb) New Link 12/09/2016
Great Rock Festivals CD2 (with Artwork) (163Mb) New Link 13/05/2018