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Texas International Pop Festival - August 31, 1969

  • Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times (medley incl. Suzie Q, Eyesight To The Blind, "Lemon Song", Bye Bye Baby (Baby Good-Bye), Communication Breakdown
srapallo's picture
on September 20, 2007 - 7:46pm
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Average: 4.1 (98 votes)
August 31, 1969
United States

Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times (medley incl. Suzie Q, Eyesight To The Blind, "Lemon Song", Bye Bye Baby (Baby Good-Bye), Communication Breakdown


Portions of this show are filmed (approx 12 min.) for a documentary which airs a few times in the early 1970s. Several 8mm & 16mm amateur films also exist.

Press: The Vanguard of an expected 100,000 rock fans were already encamped Friday in the sprawling federal park lands around Garza-Litlle Elm Reservoir, Lewisville, Texas (near Dallas). The park is near the Dallas International Motor Speedway, where a three-day festival opens today. Among the attractions at the Texas festival were Janis Joplin, Herbi Mann, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter and Tony Joe White.




Portions of this show are filmed for a documentary which airs a few times in the early 1970s. Several 8mm & 16mm amateur films also exist.

Press: The Vanguard of an expected 100,000 rock fans were already encamped Friday in the sprawling federal park lands around Garza-Litlle Elm Reservoir, Lewisville, Texas (near Dallas). The park is near the Dallas International Motor Speedway, where a three-day festival opens today. Among the attractions at the Texas festival were Janis Joplin, Herbi Mann, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Winter and Tony Joe White.


Press Review (Star): Not until Sunday, the second night of the festival; was a group "synched" With the audience. Led Zeppelin, tired after a long schedule of American concerts, mustered the strength to "get it together" on the eve of their return home. Relying on longer sets to lure the gathering into its atmospheric web, the group played only five numbers (one encore).

JIMMY PAGE, lead guitarist (electric, pedal, steel, and acoustic), was devastatingly effective with his electronic techniques. Page, who has played with the Yardbirds, Rolling Stones, and Donovan, elicited the greatest response with his use of a variable lag system. This technique, achieved with the pedal steel guitar, is merely a sound delay. The sound would emit from the speakers about a second and a half after he struck a chord. The tones were highly modulated and at times hung on the edge of a plunge into screeching feedback.

Page added haunting sight gimmicks. After striking a chord, he would raise his arm in the air - only with the variable-lag, the sound burst forth on his upstroke, giving the appearance that he was playing the air above him.  Another techniquie involved using a violin bow with a fabric-like tail attached to its end. Still using the pedal guitar, he would slowly pull the bow across the strings and then bob the tail over them. The resulting unearthly sound which broke into the air was just short of phenomenal.

ROBERT PLANT, lead vocalist, was often able to simulate and blend with Page's guitar sounds. (in "You Shook Me", and "I Can't Quit You Baby"). His gyrations on stage fit a pattern with the music.

Jphn Paul Jones' bass and organ back-up lent important balance to the total sound. John Bonham's drumming was superb, and one mid-set solo rivaled the best moments of the Cream's Ginger Baker. A good deal of the crowd left after Led Zeppelin finished, although the highly-capable Chicago Transit Authority had yet to play. They sensed, most probably, "the moment" had come and gone, and they chose not to risk being brought down."

Led Zeppelin, incidentally, will perform here next spring as part of a Concerts West production. [S. Weber / Star]


Train Kept a Rollin', I Can't Quit You Baby, Dazed and Confused, You Shook Me, How Many More Times (medley incl. Suzie Q, Eyesight To The Blind, "Lemon Song", Bye Bye Baby (Baby Good-Bye), Communication Breakdown


Bob Alschuler's picture

Texas International Pop Festival August 30-September 1, 1969 It was the summer of ’69. I was 22 years old and had been working as the medical administrator at the Los Angeles Free Clinic for 50 dollars a week for about 6 months. I had started as a volunteer the year before, had served on the board of directors for six months, and then was promoted to assistant medical administrator.

One day in July the phone rang at work. It was Interpop Superfest, two young rich rock promoters, who had just produced the Atlanta International Pop Festival and wanted to duplicate their success in Texas on the three-day Labor Day weekend. They somehow had heard that the Free Clinic had expertise in setting up medical facilities at rock and roll festivals, which we really didn’t. They wanted someone to come to Dallas to work with their doctors and nurses to create medical facilities for 150,000 hippies and peaceniks.

The festival was taking place in Lewisville, Texas, 30 miles north of Dallas at the Dallas International Motor Speedway. Since no one else wanted to go, I was the one who volunteered. Before I left, friends told me that they shot hippies on site in Texas. At the time, I was a hippie with very long hair but that didn’t deter me. However, when I got off the plane in Dallas, the very straight-laced promoters who had come to the airport to pick me up couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw me instead of a doctor that they were probably expecting! This festival was happening two weeks after Woodstock and these were most of the same bands that had played there in the rain. However, none of them were prepared for 100 degree Texas heat. (Read band names)

The promoters gave me a seventeen year old kid with a car and several thousand dollars in cash to buy supplies. For two days we went to medical supply and pharmaceutical houses to buy all the things we would need for two medical stations (similar to an army field hospital). Additionally, for a first aid station next to Lake Lewisville, where we knew several thousand people would be camping and skinny dipping. Also at the camp ground was a free stage where groups would jam after playing their main stage gig. The “Merry Pranksters” Ken Kesey’s group was in charge of the campground and the free stage. It was quite a scene! Here I was, a 22 year-old, inexperienced guy, supervising 12 Dallas doctors and 15 nurses with 8 ambulances on standby parked next to the stations. My responsibility was to inform them what to expect as far as medical problems including heat exhaustion, drug overdose, and abrasions and contusions. These were just a few problems to expect when over 150,000 people live together for three days. We had to send a few concertgoers to the hospital, but it was usually for heat stroke or a bad LSD trip. Unfortunately, there was one death due to heat stroke but there was also one birth. All these years later I recall a couple of funny incidents that happened during that week.

One was when I was talking to my 17 year-old driver I mentioned I was from Los Angeles where Disneyland was. I asked him what he would consider Dallas’ biggest tourist attraction. Imagine my surprise when he proudly told me that it was the book depository where JFK was assassinated! Another time, I went to a restaurant with a couple of band members and their girlfriends. I was wearing a tank top with no sleeves. The hostess refused to serve me unless I covered my arms. Since we didn’t want to leave, one of the girls gave me her shawl to wear to cover my shoulders. With my long hair and her shawl, we able to be served, even though some of the other diners probably thought I was a girl! The last evening I was there I was driving to the festival site from the hotel and somehow got lost. All of a sudden I saw a Texas trooper behind me with his lights on. I start to panic as he motions to pull over. I’m expecting all kinds of trouble but it actually turns out that he thought I looked lost and he helped me find my way to the festival site. Pretty good karma, I guess.

Overall it was a very exciting trip. I made friends with many of the medical people including the county sheriff’s wife, who was one of my nurses. On the last day of the festival, her thinking about hippies and the movement had changed so dramatically that we even shared a joint together. It was truly an amazing rock festival, especially for a rock and roll fan like me. The music and sound system were the best available at that time. Some of my favorite groups like Led Zepplin, Johnny Winter, and Grand Funk Railroad were there. Having my “ALL ACCESS PASS” allowed me backstage and in the dressing rooms where I could mingle with all the groups. I had been to the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 but only as a fan, so this experience for me was like a dream come true. I got to stay in Dallas for a week, saw and met some amazing rock bands, probably prevented several medical emergencies and left with $2,500 worth of medical supplies for the free clinic. Not bad for a young hippie kid from California!

Dallas's picture

Press Release (9/12/11)


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.

Gary Moates's picture

I was there that night. Freaked out when Jimmy Page during Dazed and Confused started waving his cello bow and ostensibly making sounds with it in mid-air. Great concert that I will remember forever!

Earl Clark's picture

Attended the August show in Dallas. Then got to see 'em again just a few weeks later at the Festival! Then saw them again a year late in Fort Worth.

Those four days were a life-changer for me!

Gary Stell's picture

I was there and it was truly awesome. I was just a few feet away from the death that occurred there and saw the birth as well. It was a trip goin skinny dippin with so many people in Lake Lewisville. All I can say is that it was "Groovy Baby"!

Dallas Morning News 's picture

Texas International Pop Festival was full of surprises for artists, fans, onlookers

August 30, 2009

By MICHAEL E. YOUNG and ROY APPLETON / The Dallas Morning News

After Woodstock, where most attendees walked in for free, organizers of the Lewisville festival knew they needed better security.

So they hired men like James Polser, then 28 and selling Chevys at Huffines before taking over his family's Lewisville Feed Mill in 1978. Handy on horseback, Polser and others patrolled the perimeter of the property, and saw some sights that still shock them 40 years later:

"I was out there on my horse, riding the fence line, and there was a man and a woman and a little baby, and they asked if they could put the baby on my horse and take a picture of him," Polser recalled.

"I said that was fine. The only thing was that the woman – and she was a good-looking woman – she had her pants on and that was all.

"And nobody paid any attention, except for me and my heart attack. Gosh almighty, we saw things that would blow your mind."

Led Zeppelin
gets the news

Even among the stellar lineup at the Lewisville pop festival, none was hotter in the summer of '69 than Led Zeppelin. So when the band came to perform at the Fair Park Coliseum on Aug. 4, three weeks before the festival, Angus Wynne III and his partners saw a chance for some publicity.

"We found their road manager, and we said we wanted to make sure the band recognized the festival from the stage," Wynne said. "And he said, 'Well, the fellows think they're going to be on vacation then. They don't know about it.'

"The band gets on stage, and after a couple of songs, Robert Plant says, 'Anyone heard of the Texas International Pop Festival? We got into town today and saw the posters with our name on them. We've never heard of it. It's a classic ripoff, and if you have tickets, you need to get your money back.' "

Furious, the producers found the road manager locked inside a limousine.

They pounded on the windows and almost tipped the car over before the manager emerged.

"He ran out there and he pulls Plant over to the side and whispers in his ear," Wynne said. "Then Plant grabs him by the lapels and starts shaking him.

"At the end of the song, Plant goes to the microphone and says, 'Yeah, we're going to play [at the festival]. Our weasel road manager just told us.' "

How Wavy Gravy got his name

He arrived in Lewisville as Hugh Romney, the gentle, gravel-voiced jokester who'd promised the crowd at Woodstock "breakfast in bed for 400,000."

But after a brush with blues royalty at the Texas International Pop Festival, Romney would forever be Wavy Gravy.

Exhausted from hours spent around Lewisville Lake urging nude festivalgoers to cover up, Romney collapsed on the free stage at a lakeside campground.

"They had these conga drummers on the stage, and I said, 'Don't dance on the wavy gravy,' " he said. "Then someone announced that B.B. King was there, and he was going to play for free.

"I started to get up, and I felt this hand on my shoulder and it was B.B. King. And he said, 'Are you Wavy Gravy?' and I just said, 'Yes, sir,' and he said, 'Wavy Gravy, I can work around you.'

"And he stood me up next to his amplifier, and Johnny Winter comes from the other side, and they played all night long.

"I was Hugh Romney at Woodstock, but I've been Wavy Gravy for 40 years."

'Lewd and loose in Lewisville'

A Dallas Morning News editorial helped whip up the fear and loathing for all those hippies coming to hear all that music.

An Aug. 30, 1969, editorial headlined "Nausea at Lewisville" told readers:

"Young people assembling to hear music is one thing. Young people assembling in unspeakable costumes, half-naked, barefooted, defying propriety and scorning morality is another.

"... We hope readers of this newspaper will realize this weekend that the great majority of youngsters in this area are at home where they ought to be – mowing yards, working at part-time jobs and preparing for useful lives.

"In the meantime, the lewd and loose at Lewisville will swing and sway. They are to be pitied."

Lu Mitchell remembers the heat, the refreshing water hose, leaflets dropped from an airplane, the friendly crowd and enjoying the music, particularly Janis Joplin, until 5 a.m.

A singer-songwriter herself, now living in Farmers Branch, Mitchell didn't care much for the editorial stance. "I got so upset over that that I wrote this song," she said. It's a song she still performs at age 85.

We were lewd and loose in Lewisville, we had us a time

Lewd and loose in Lewisville covered with dirt and grime

We were unsanitary and full of fleas

Some had beards clear down to their knees

Lewd and loose in Lewisville

The Dallas News told you so.


HoustonChron's picture


I wasn't at the "Woodstock" Woodstock. But I was at the "Texas "Woodstock.

Less than two weeks after the tribes left Max Yasgur's farm, they regathered in the heart o' Texas. And I was there. The Chronicle sent me to Lewisville, a prototype of a little North Texas town near Dallas. On Saturday, Aug. 30, 1969, I was standing on the banks of a reservoir at a Corps of Engineers campground watching rednecks watching the early arrival hippies skinny-dipping. An editorial in the Dallas Morning News that morning greeted the tribes:

"Young people assembling to hear music is one thing. Young people assembling in unspeakable costumes, half-naked, barefooted, defying propriety and scorning morality is another.

"Who and where are their parents? Where do these young people get the money to loaf around the country in their smelly regalia?"

There were three days of music, through Monday, Labor Day. The crowd estimates averaged about 100,000. I don't remember who was positioned as the headliner. At this distance, the only performer I remember is Janis Joplin. I watched from a plywood sound booth at the side of the stage. She did everything in exact concordance with the legend: screeched, spoke unintelligibly between songs, swigged from a bottle of liquor.

As they had at Woodstock, members of the Hog Farm, a New Mexico commune, set up a trip tent at Lewisville and escorted those who were having a bad trip or needed medical attention.

Whatever went on up in New York has now become known as "Woodstock." The Texas International Pop Festival was known as "Lewisville" for the length of time it was remembered, which, stretching it, may have been as long as Sept. 21, 1969, when my story appeared in Texas magazine.

We called the story, "Freak Meets West." Excerpts are printed here:

Popfest Texas style: That's it. That's all. I've seen everything. A small-Texas-town cop walked out on a stage, shot the peace sign to about 35,000 hippies - a good 10 percent of them zonked on some kind of drug or another - and said: "Any time you want to come back, you're welcome."

This happened - I swear it did - Labor Day weekend at the Texas International Pop Festival at Lewisville (population 10,000). Little Bethel. Son of Woodstock. Freak Meets West 18 miles north of Dallas at a motor speedway and five miles away at the Garza-Little Elm Reservoir campground.

Pop festivals have been around only a couple of years, and it wasn't until Woodstock that the pop festival protocol was really solidified. Previously, pop festivals had been like jazz festivals; one undergoes a certain amount of privation - crowding, uncomfortable seating, expensive tickets, scarcity of housing - to be able to hear a lot of artists back to back. At Woodstock, however, where 400,000 turned up when the promoters expected maybe 150,000 tops, the whole festival environment became the thing. The music was secondary. You probably couldn't hear it because you couldn't sit close enough, or you never got there to begin with. But you were part of the Experience, part of the Presence. The more freaks the better. You were there at the Gathering. Great God Almighty, for one time there was more of You than there was of Them.

The national press thought this was an epochal event. Big spreads in Life. On Huntley-Brinkley. The Festival Style was set. So the people coming to Lewisville knew what to do.

The main thing was no hassles that would upset the fuzz: No breaking up things, beating up on each other or the local yokels. The idea was to keep the cops out of the festival area so that no one would get busted for pot or hard stuff. The cops were willing to trade drugs for no hassles. With that crowd, the cops couldn't handle the hassles. So no hassles.

Freaks Meet Cowboys: If the pop festival wasn't enough, the Lewisville Rodeo was in town that weekend. By Sunday, the road from IH 350 to the campgrounds, where a good 2,500 festival goers had crashed, was half-and-half with psychedelic VW buses and bashed-up Chevy pickups with gun racks and U.S. flag decals. The cowboys were coming to eyeball the freaks.

Out on the water, a good 100 freaks were skinny-dipping. There had been nude swimming at Woodstock, so there had to be nude swimming at Lewisville.

Up on the bank, two cowboys from the rodeo were watching. They were drinking Pearl and watching. There weren't as many girls swimming nekkid as you'd like, but it was better than TV back at the motel.

"Get the cowboys!" cried one of the skinny-dippers, and about 15 naked, giggling freaks emerged from the water and began to take off the cowboys' clothes. The cowboys kept their bottles of Pearl and walked into the water. They were grub white from the waist down. The ground hurt their feet.

The sky was black with Cessnas buzzing within 15 feet of the freaks. The water offshore was black with outboards. It seemed every square inch of campground not occupied by a freak was occupied by a '68 Ford Fairlane. The motor was running, the windows were up, the air-conditioner was running, the doors were locked, and the people inside had the same look of passivity and awe that they would have if they were parked on a bluff watching the Trinity River in a raging flood.

Down by the bank, a whole family had turned up in a Chevy quarter-ton. They had lawn chairs for the truck bed, a cooler full of beer and Cokes - and binoculars. A girl sunbathing naked had her back to them. When another freak told her she was being watched, she turned around to face them.

Get stoned just sitting there: At the festival grounds, they liked Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter and Led Zeppelin, but they were crazy over B.B. King.

Near the body-painting tent, a guy in cut-offs, a Jimi Hendrix hat and shower slippers, looking hot and hassled, asked:

"Hey man, do you know where I can buy a straight cigarette?"


jackiemac's picture

That was a never forgetable experince!!! Drove from Memphis with two hot chicks in a MG. Woww what a trip!!!

Argenteum Astrum's picture

An excellent show, perfectly consolidating all of the great playing that this tour had produced, from the powerful opener to the extended end of show medley, complete with Plant doing his best adlibs yet. An easy choice for one of the very best shows of the year. As if the performance wasn't enough, a superb soundboard, as well as a near-excellent audience sources circulate for this show. Plant mentioned about the cancelled August 4th concert: "It's very nice to be back in Texas. Last time we were here it was a near disaster when we said we weren't doing the festival and everything. This is the last date before we go back to England, so we'd really like to have a nice time ... And you can help us." Plant also apologised for cutting the set short: "We've got to say goodnight according to the programme. Unfortunately, the programme has got a little delayed but there's nothing we can do about it!" Pages amps act up during a few spots in the show, producing brief crackling sounds, as if his guitar cable or a connection somewhere was coming loose. Although not at all a distraction for the listener, this makes for a funny moment during Dazed And Confused and How Many More Times, when Page's amps can be heard briefly picking up the sound of the festival security staff speaking on their radios.

John Shope Cooke's picture

I am looking for more info on the fest.the man that died was my father,I was 4 years old.if you have any info I would appreiciate it

Wolfgang Doppleganger's picture

I am currently writing a short story that details my experiance at the Texas International Pop Festival. Led Zeppelin's performance was top notch and one of the most outstanding moments in my life.

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