The 2nd Miami Pop Festival of 1968 started on Dec. 28th of that year. “Miami Pop…

Written by on December 28, 2017

The 2nd Miami Pop Festival of 1968 started on Dec. 28th of that year. “Miami Pop Festival” was the name of two different music festivals that took place in May and December 1968 at Gulfstream Park, a horse racing track in Hallandale, Florida, just north of Miami. Apart from the venue, the two events were not related.

The first Miami Pop event took place May 18–19, 1968, and was originally publicized on promotional materials as the “1968 Pop and Underground Festival,” and “The 1968 Pop Festival”. An estimated 25,000 people attended this festival which was promoted by Richard O’Barry and Michael Lang, later famous as promoter of Woodstock. The first festival had The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Mothers of Invention, Blue Cheer, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

The second, and much larger Miami Pop Festival was held December 28–30, 1968. It is considered the first major rock festival on America’s east coast. It was produced by a team led by Tom Rounds and Mel Lawrence, who had previously produced the seminal KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. The crowd size for the three days was estimated to be around 100,000 and featured
performers covering a wide range of music genres. The artists were:
The Amboy Dukes
Chuck Berry
Blues Image
Box Tops
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Canned Heat
Wayne Cochran
Cosmic Drum
James Cotton Blues Band
Country Joe and the Fish
Jose Feliciano
Fish Ray
Flatts and Scruggs
Fleetwood Mac
Marvin Gaye
The Grass Roots
Grateful Dead
Richie Havens
Ian & Sylvia
Iron Butterfly
Junior Junkanoos
Jr. Walker & The Allstars
The Charles Lloyd Quartet
Hugh Masekela
Joni Mitchell
Pacific Gas & Electric
Procol Harum
Terry Reid
Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Sweet Inspirations
Joe Tex
Three Dog Night
The Turtles

Many of these musicians were cast as superheroes in a commemorative comic book distributed at the event. Interesting moments during the festival included: Joni Mitchell inviting former Hollies member and new love interest Graham Nash, as well as Richie Havens to join her onstage to sing Dino Valenti’s “Get Together”; and Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady playing bass guitar with Country Joe and the Fish.

This festival was unique in that it was the first rock festival to have two entirely separate ‘main’ stages several hundred yards apart (the Flower Stage and the Flying Stage), both operating simultaneously and offering performers of equal calibre.

We do have one questions about this 2nd festival that maybe some of you who were there can answer. The paragraph above states that they had two stages going at the same time. Did it work or was it confusing with two acts playing at once?

The 2nd ‘Miami Pop Festival’ of 1968, 49 years ago today.

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