On Friday June 20, 1969, a music festival known as “Newport 69” started. It was …

Written by on June 20, 2018

On Friday June 20, 1969, a music festival known as “Newport 69” started. It was the 2nd year for the festival, with the first being held in Costa Mesa, CA. The 1969 festival was held at Devonshire Downs in Northridge, CA.

Attended by an estimated 200,000 fans, the festival on June 20–22, 1969 was the largest pop concert up to that time and is considered the more famous of the two Newport Pop Festivals, possibly because of the appearance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which got top billing at the venue.

An estimated 200,000 people attended Newport ’69. Despite a poor sound system, a lack of food, water, and restrooms, and brutal security by the Hells’ Angels, it was deemed a resounding success by the attendees and musicians. The City Fathers of Northridge held a different view and banned any future music festivals. Newport ’69 made headlines around the country for a spell, but two months later, the phenomenon known as Woodstock made Newport seem like a picnic.

Jimi Hendrix was the headline act for the Friday night opening, but he played so poorly – supposedly from an LSD-laced drink – that he returned to the stage on Sunday. His Sunday performance with Buddy Miles, Eric Burdon, and several others lasted more than two hours. The Sunday performance is now legendary and prompted Los Angeles Times critic Pete Johnson to write that the audience “may have heard the best performance of their lives.”

Here’s a list of Friday’s performers:
Ike and Tina Turner
Albert King
Edwin Hawkins Singers
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Joe Cocker
Taj Mahal

Any of you there for the first day?

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