Monday, July 21, 2008

Rock Revival's Time Capsule (1968): The Miami Pop Festival, Chuck Berry and Hendrix !! Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer !!

We've been doing abit of a series on rock festivals here on Rock Revival, not just the classics (Monterey, Woodstock, Isle of White and Altamont) but the lesser known ones, California Jam, Atlanta Pop, Sunbury in Oz, Kralingen in Europe (see labels Time Capsule)

The Miami Pop Festival may be the least known of the lot, but a very important one, the second major festival after Monterey.

It was a two day event held at the Gulfstream Race Track on May 18-19, 1968. It was attended by an estimated 100,000 people.

What a line up !!!! Chuck Berry and Hendrix on the same bill !!

Steppenwolf and Blue Cheer, two of the classic proro-metal bands of all time !

The Mothers of Invention, the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Blues Image, Pacific Gas and Electric and Three Dog Night

Here's how some of audience remember it:

"I saw Hendrix at the May 1968 Gulfstream Pop Festival in Hallendale Florida, just north of Miami. This was after his first album was released and Purple Haze was getting a little airplay on the radio. But he was just a new and strange act at that time, not the legend he became later. I sat on a blanket about 50 feet from the stage, (everyone sat back then). Anyone could have walked right up to the stage and held out their hand and he would have shook it. I saw a girl walk up and hand him a rose, and then walk back to her blanket and sit down. Anyway, he did a straight set of the songs on Are You Experienced. I can't remember if he did any extra songs, but he didn't do anything wild like set his guitar on fire. He did play with his teeth and behind his head on one song. There were only about 400 people interested enough in him to watch his performance."

"I too saw this show. It was one to remember always. Allow me to set the scene. Three stages were set on flatbed trailers just to the outside of the westernmost stretch of track with the fans either on the lawn or in the stands to the west of the racecourse. The Mothers were playing on the southernmost stage when out of the northern sky came two choppers. The lead helicopter said "Are You" the second, "Experienced?" As the whirlbirds landed on the infield grass we were all atwitter with anticipation. From the lead airship stepped Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchel. Out of the second, Jimi Hendrix in his magnificent costume which featured a large fedora adorned with a billowy feather. His trousers were velvet bellbottoms, his blouse silk. Many of us quietly relocated to get better viewing of the center stage as the band came silently to their marks and began a respectful tuneup".

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