The Most Memorable Rock Festivals Of The 60s And 70s
Jimi Hendrix - yren ruffians / Youtube
Before festivals like Coachella or Lollapalooza became some of the biggest music events in history, things were already prepared for in the ’60s and ’70s. Music festivals during the said decades ran aplenty and featured some of the heaviest bills of all time, especially in rock music. With that, here are some of the best rock festivals that stood out in the ’60s and ’70s.
Newport Folk Festival of 1965
One of the most notable events that cemented the Newport Folk Festival of 1965 as an iconic moment was Bob Dylan switching to electric instrumentation for the first time ever. While it was met with disapproval back then, it paved the way for Dylan’s shift in his creative process.
Isle of Wight Festival of 1970
The 1970 iteration of the Isle of Wight Festival was one with the highest amount of attendees, reaching up to 700,000 according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This was probably due to the success of the preceding events and the heavyweight bill comprised of acts like Jethro Tull, The Moody Blues, The Who, Joni Mitchell, and more.
The 1970 train tour Festival Express crossed Canada and had acts onboard like Janis Joplin, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy, and more. The train was a means of transport and a way to party in one place, which made it easy for the artists to settle after every show.
Altamont Speedway Free Festival 1969
Known as a counterculture concert event, the Altamont Festival of 1969 was attended by acts like Jefferson Airplane, Santana, The Rolling Stones, and CSNY, among others. It became known for the prevalence of violence and vandalism, however, very opposite of what they expected to be their version of Woodstock.
Monterey Pop Festival
Taking place in 1967, the Monterey Pop Festival helped push the counterculture movement into the public eye with an estimated audience attendance of up to 8,500 people. This was the time when Jimi Hendrix famously lit his guitar on fire, while all artists chose to donate their revenue for the event to various charity bodies.
Stretching to over four days of music, drinking, and celebrating peace and love, Woodstock 1969 became a legendary live music event that made an impact on subsequent festivals that followed. It was held on a dairy farm with over 400,000 people being accounted for who witnessed 32 acts perform over the festival’s duration.