TEXAS INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL, 1969
TEXAS INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL, 1969. The Texas International Pop Festival was the first major rock festival in Texas. Held August 30 through September 1, 1969, at the Dallas International Motor Speedway in Lewisville, the event was produced in part by Angus Wynne III of Wynne Entertainment. The Texas festival was held only two weeks after the legendary Woodstock festival in Woodstock, New York. It was unusual in the wide variety of musical acts it attracted and in its atmosphere.
With a budget of only $120,000, the promoters booked twenty-six of the biggest names in blues, rock-and-roll, and psychedelic rock. Janis Joplin, Sam and Dave, Sly and the Family Stone, Santana, Canned Heat, the Grass Roots, B. B. King, Chicago Transit Authority, Tony Joe White, Spirit, Johnny Winter, Sweetwater, Ten Years After, Freddie King, and a virtually unknown British band, Led Zeppelin, all performed during the three-day festival. The musical acts were not paid much to perform; Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin were paid the most—$10,000 each. Some major groups that wanted to perform could not get in to play. A band from Michigan, Grand Funk Railroad, was allowed to perform only after the members agreed to play free and pay their own expenses.
The festival was extensively advertised through radio and newspapers and was promoted at Woodstock. Consequently, music enthusiasts from all over the United States, and from numerous foreign countries, poured into Lewisville to pay the admission fee of $6.50 a day. Although the promoters anticipated a crowd of over 200,000, actual attendance for the three days was more like 120,000. The festival lost money, but was generally considered a success by those who attended. The promoters created a "carnival-like" atmosphere that featured booths catering to "flower-children." Astrologers, painters, artists, craftsmen, and leather workers; sellers of incense, T-shirts, jewelry, and candles; and food vendors all peddled their wares. Most who attended the festival camped on the adjacent 10,000-acre lakefront. At night, many of the performers joined the campers and played without charge. Initially, police and local authorities were concerned about drug usage and traffic problems on nearby Interstate 35. Although there were a few drug overdoses and problems associated with the intense heat, in general the festival ran very smoothly. The primary complaint from local residents was that the festival participants swam naked in Lake Lewisville.
Interest in the Texas International Pop Festival remained years after the event. Various bootleg albums were released from live recordings of the performances, and decades later, bootlegs surfaced as sale items on the Internet. Got No Shoes, Got No Blues, a video of some of the musical acts at the festival, was also available, as well as reproductions of festival posters and programs. A Texas Historical Marker commemorating the event was erected near the site of the festival in 2010.
Dallas Morning News, August 7, 29, 30, 31, 1969. Chris Gray, “The Forgotten Festival: The 1969 Texas International Pop Festival, Houston Press (http://www.houstonpress.com/2009-09-03/music/the-forgotten-festival/), accessed November 27, 2011. Texas International Pop Festival (http://www.texaspopfestival.com/home.htm), accessed November 27, 2011.
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Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on November 1, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.