Jan. 22, 1977: Hundreds of people waited in line in 30-degree temperatures to buy tickets for Elvis Presley’s Feb. 13, 1977, performance at the West Palm Beach Auditorium, in what would be the King’s final tour. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
Tags1928 Hurricane advertising African Americans agriculture airports Bill McGoun Black history month black icons boats Boca Raton Boynton Beach buildings Camp Murphy celebrities Christmas death Delray Beach Glades Henry Flagler hospitals hotels hurricanes immigrants incorporated Lake Worth Morrison Field museums newspapers notorious crimes Palm Beach parks photos place names railroads restaurant roads schools sports store theaters This Week in History unanswered questions West Palm Beach World War II WWII
The Thanksgiving weekend 1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival was hailed as the “first annual,” but there never was a second one. The event was marred by rain, lawsuits and scandals, but is fondly remembered by many who were there.
The festival drew 40,000 people to the 149-acre Palm Beach International Speedway, and featured Jefferson Airplane, Sly Stone, the Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones.
Click on any of the images below to see a larger version. Read more about the festival and share your memories here at HistoricPalmBeach.com.
The caption on this photo: “The wait in the rain was worth it to these two who were among the thousands patient enough to wait for 6 a.m. Monday to arrive to see and hear Mick Jagger ant the Rolling Stones. The entertainment lineup was impressive, but some of the problems weren’t, as 133 drug overdoses and bad trips were reported.”
Dec. 1, 1969: Festival-goers who were arrested during the 1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival await their turn in Palm Beach County criminal court, handcuffed and linked together with chains.
Photos by Palm Beach Post and Evening Times staff photographers.
See more photos of the festival and video documentary trailer at oldrockphoto.com.
On Nov. 28, 1969, the three-day Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival attracted 40,000 people to the Palm Beach International Speedway northwest of West Palm Beach. Freezing rain turned the site into a muddy quagmire the first day, but the sun came out before Janis Joplin’s performance the next day. The Rolling Stones closed the festival, coming on stage near dawn on the 30th. Read more about the festival and share your memories here at HistoricPalmBeach.com.
Adrienne Moore of Stuart asked about the “First Annual Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival,” held Nov. 28-30, 1969, northwest of West Palm Beach.
The event was both the first and the last.
It drew 40,000 people to the 149-acre Palm Beach International Speedway, later the Moroso Motorsports complex and now back to its original name.
Officials fretted about health, sanitation and traffic, and were mortified by images of drugs and sex they’d seen 3½ months earlier at Woodstock.
They denied a permit to promoter David Rupp, who’d bought the track at foreclosure. He prevailed, but gained a new obstacle: Sheriff William Heidtman.
The sheriff set up surveillance cameras and positioned 150 deputies around the clock at nearby Pratt & Whitney.
Crowds tried to avoid the $20 entry, some swimming canals. Iron Butterfly came on first, 2 ½ hours after the gates opened.
Chilling rain fell and temperatures dropped into the 40s. Vendors ran short of food, and many of the 300 portable toilets were dismantled for firewood.
Helicopters flew acts — Jefferson Airplane, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin — from Singer Island.
Joplin, who’d die of an overdose in 10 months, trashed Heidtman and Gov. Claude Kirk on stage and sang while chugging Southern Comfort.
The Rolling Stones, paid $100,000, went on at 4 a.m. Monday and played a short stint for the few remaining.
The tally: 130 drug overdoses, 14 eye injuries, 42 intestinal disorders, 1,700 headaches and minor cuts, 1,000 reported conversions to Christianity, 130 drug arrests, and one death, of a teen struck by a truck. Rupp lost $300,000 to $500,000, “all the cash I had and all that I’d borrowed.”
In 1999, Heidtman — who would die at 91 in 2007 — dismissed as myths reports he planted alligators in canals and red ants in the fields, saying Florida always supplies plenty. But he did unapologetically say, “If I had it to do over again, I’d try to stop it.”
The ‘first annual’ Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival was the first and the last event of its kind. Held in 1969, the festival featured Jefferson Airplane, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones. (Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
The front page of the Nov. 29, 1969 Palm Beach Post-Times.
The front page of the Nov. 30, 1969 Palm Beach Post-Times.
The front page of the Dec. 1, 1969 Palm Beach Post.
Apparently yes, in the 1950s there were street dances on Congress Avenue. The caption on this photo from the Village of Palm Springs says it was a street dance at 10th Avenue and Congress Avenue. Click on the image for a larger version.
Let us know in the comments below if that’s you (or someone you recognize) in the photo, and click here to share your memories of the good old days.