Longtime Friends of Unfair Park are by now well aware of my lifetime obsession with the Texas International Pop Festival, held during Labor Day weekend in 1969 in a Lewisville field. The roster, put together by, among others, Angus Wynne, was legendary: Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Ten Years After, Santana, Johnny Winter, Sly and the Family Stone. For starters. It was North Texas's Woodstock -- a place where, as The New York Times noted, "more than 25,000 youthful rock fans gathered in a grassy drag strip ... to shout, clap and groove on the music and each other." Far out.
Richard Hayner, keeper of the Texas International Pop Festival website, has long been trying to commemorate the site or the event with a historical marker. I've just been informed that he was successful:
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The Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized the Texas International Pop Festival as a significant part of Denton County history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker. A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held Saturday, October 1, at 10 a.m. at the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) Hebron Station in the 900 block of Lakeside Circle in Lewisville. The dedication is free and open to the public.
The full release follows. So too do more photos ... of Robert Plant and Sly Stone. Hayner was kind enough to provide them. In fact, we may have to do a slide show. Which go well with our boxed set. Far out.
Update: Did someone say slide show?!
OFFICIAL TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER DEDICATION FOR
TEXAS INTERNATIONAL POP FESTIVAL SET FOR OCTOBER 1
In 1969, Lewisville, a small farm town of approximately 9,000 residents, was the site of
a music festival that attracted 150,000 hippies, bikers and music lovers
LEWISVILLE, TX - It was 1969 when Lewisville, a small farm town of approximately 9,000 residents, became the site of a music festival that attracted 150,000 hippies, bikers and music lovers. As a result of that momentous event, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) has recognized the Texas International Pop Festival as a significant part of Denton County history by awarding it an Official Texas Historical Marker. A dedication ceremony to commemorate the event will be held Saturday, October 1, at 10 a.m. at the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) Hebron Station in the 900 block of Lakeside Circle in Lewisville. The dedication is free and open to the public.
The 1969 event's original stage was located near the area where DCTA's Hebron Station recently opened. The Dallas International Motor Speedway, which had opened in July 1969, was the site of the three-day event held 42 years ago on Labor Day weekend. The Texas International Pop Festival is the first event that has been recognized with a state marker in Denton County. To qualify for a marker, events must have happened at least 30 years ago.
Richard Hayner, sponsor of the THC 2010 subject marker application, attended the pop festival when he was 16 years old. During the dedication, the Denton County Historical Commission will present certificates of commendation for efforts that led to the placement of the marker recognizing Hayner along with Andie Jones, Swan Song, Soul Sacrifice, Piece of My Heart, Johnny Nitzinger, Bill Winter, Angus G. Wynne III, Ed Cullum and Randy James.
Wynne, a partner in the Dallas-based concert promotion company, Showco, asked Atlanta Pop Festival promoter Alex Cooley to join him in promoting the Texas International Pop Festival. The Atlanta Pop Festival was held in Hampton, Georgia, the weekend of July Fourth in 1969. On August 15, 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair began near Bethel, New York.
The Texas festival featured 25 musical acts. In Hayner's historical narrative submitted to THC, he wrote:
"The festival opened with an unknown band named Grand Funk Railroad. The line-up included rock and roll and rhythm and blues. B.B. King played all three days. Other blues acts were present such as Johnny Winter, The James Cotton Blues Band, Canned Heat, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, and Freddie King. Rhythm and blues was represented by Sam & Dave and Sly & The Family Stone. Rock and blues crossover acts Rotary Connection, Ten Years After and Janis Joplin tied the genre together. Jazz was represented by flutist Herbie Mann, and even a bit of Cajun sound was made by Tony Joe White. Mainstream rock music was represented by Chicago Transit Authority, Spirit, Santana, Nazz, Sweetwater and an up-and-coming blockbuster band from England named Led Zeppelin."
In addition, a free stage was constructed at a public campground at Lewisville Lake, which was five-and-one-half miles north of the festival grounds at the motor speedway. Each evening the campground attracted thousands of festival campers. Local bands performed on the free stage along with some of the big name acts after playing the main stage. Famous icon of the 60s, Wavy Gravy, acquired his moniker at the free stage.