TEXAS POP FESTIVAL

Middle Sea Studios
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Richard C. Hayner

 


The Texas International Pop Festival (sometimes called the Lewisville Pop Festival or the Dallas Pop Festival) was held the grounds next to the new Dallas International Motor Speedway in Lewisville, Texas.

One thing you can count on in Texas for Labor Day, is the heat. In '69, as it always does, the temperatures were as high as some of the festival attendees. The first campers to arrive at the free campgrounds knew how to cool off. The designated campgrounds were on a lake, and that meant skinny-dipping. To the uninhibited flower children, there was nothing wrong with the human body or sharing a swim with newfound friends. But once the straight-laced community of Lewisville got wind of it, they were out for blood. After all, if you're uptight, shouldn't everyone else be?

Locals demanded that the mayor crack down, then went back to peering through binoculars at the young, naked bodies. Rednecks piled into their bass boats to head out for a look at some tits and a chance to shout stupid remarks at the freaks. Some were spoiling for a fight, or better yet, a chance to beat on the heads of people who wouldn't fight back.

Many citizens demanded that the police chief go in and crack heads, but the heat of the summer was the only heat these hippies had to worry about. Ralph Adams, the Lewisville Chief of Police, was paid by the brilliant organizers to be head of security! Cops, however, weren't needed except to keep the rednecks from starting trouble. These kids didn't want trouble. Anyway, the chief had already turned in his resignation and was on vacation. The mayor swears he would have stopped it, but he was in Colorado, and didn't hear of it until he was on his way home. The Texas International Pop Festival was on its way, and nothing would stop it. 

Grand Funk Railroad opened the festival for free just for the chance to be noticed. And noticed they were. They soon became the highest paid music group in America. 

Janis Joplin made her return to Texas for the first time since she had left on very bad terms, and she was in awe of the welcome she received.

Sweetwater, who had been the first full band at Woodstock with their strange and wonderful sound, played what would sadly be one of their last gigs before their lead singer, Nancy Nevins, would have her voice stolen in a wreck with a drunk driver.

B.B. King, who played all three nights, jammed with Johnny Winter at the free stage, by the campgrounds.

And the music went on until Monday night, when Sly and the Family Stone closed appropriately enough with "Hot Fun in the Summertime."

Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm served free food and counseled with anyone who might have forgotten that their acid-induced scene was only a movie. Ken Babbs, of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, ran the free stage. Security was handled by the "Please Force." Every member of the audience was deputized.

This was a chance to be free, really free, and to be among a crowd that didn't look down on you or threaten to cut your hair or harass you for the way you looked. This was a time that would never come again, and everyone seemed determined to soak it up as much as they could. Each one took a piece of it home to cherish for a lifetime.

Read about the hippie movement on the Hippies page. Check out the artists for photos and bios on the Artists page and take a magic carpet ride on the links we've provided, including links to sites for the bands. Dig on the festival program and check out the photo gallery.

It was a phantasmagoria! 

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