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The Summer Festival For Peace 1970

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I thought everyone would be interested in this little show that was held at Shea Stadium 37 years ago yeaterday....note that line up and determine how much you would pay for that ticket:

Shea Stadium Festival for Peace concert

Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of the Shea Stadium Festival for Peace concert.

The concert was held on August 6, 1970, 25 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

To recognize the anniversary, organizers staged a 12–hour anti-war concert at Shea Stadium. Oddly, very little exists online or in literature about this show. There was no concert film and I have never seen any concert footage from the Shea Peace Festival.

Some of the hottest acts of 1970 appeared at the gig, including:

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Janis Joplin (surprise guest)

Jimi Jendrix (possibly)

Johnny Winter

Paul Simon

The James Gang

and many more.

The show began at 10:00 AM and ended by 11:00 PM that night. YouTube was not there to archive the proceedings (what did people do with all their cell phone video back in 1970?) but I did find this eyewitness account from a discussion board:

i was 17 and stood on line from the night before with my then boyfriend (now husband)

as there wasn’t assigned seating and we wanted good seats… we sat just over the mets’ dugout, they were some of the best seats on the house ….. the show was magical …. the variety

of acts and music ….. bands just showing up and playing (like janis)….. all for the price of about $16.00 for 12 hours of music … peter yarrow opened the show and ccr closed the show …..i remember most of the performers (not in any particular order).. peter yarrow, pacific gas & electric, tom paxton,dionne warwick, johnny winter, the original cast of hair, ccr (i also remember the music stopping because the tiers were rocking up & down), paul simon, james gang, poco, 10 wheel drive, al kooper, richie havens, sha-na-na, miles davis, the young rascals, stepphenwolf,janis joplin (she was NOT a scheduled performer — she was a surprise guest — i remember her performance like i saw her yesterday ……she did “ball & chainâ€, “summertimeâ€, “turtle blues†and “piece of my heartâ€, all while consuming a bottle of southern comfort) AND I DO NOT REMEMBER SEEING OR HEARING JIMI HENDRIX or otherwise (i would really like to know where it comes from that he was there)it is only recently that i have even heard any references to this show ….. for a long time only archivists and members of the audience had a vague memory of it….

Here is Poco’s set list from that night. By their own accounts, Poco rocked:

Pickin' Up the Pieces

Just in Case it Happens

Grand Junction

Consequently So Long

Don't Let it Pass By

Nobody's Fool

El Tonto de Nadie, Regresssa

As the eyewitness account above mentions, Jimi Hendrix may or may not have been there. Such was the state of collective consciousness in 1970 that no one can confirm the presence of rock’s greatest guitarist at a major concert event.

Janis Joplin did make a surprise appearance. She was in New York and had just filmed a Dick Cavett TV appearance with her band Full-Tilt Boogie.

Sadly, this was one of Joplin’s last appearances. Less than two months after rocking Shea, Janis Joplin was dead. So was Jimi Hendrix. You would think their sets would be memorialized in film or record, at least for the fact that it was among the last earthly gigs for these performers. But the show is largely forgotten. Leading Loge13 to believe that the music might not have been very good that day.

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I have read this 3 times now and I just want to be back in time. It must have been one hell of an experience to be there and no one not knowing if Hendrix was there or not, now that is some good drugs being taken! ;)

Too bad none of this show was on film.

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Here is Blender's Worst Summer Festival list:

The Worst Summer Festivals of All Time

Monsoons, rioting fans, gentle giant … a brief history of the worst festivals of all time.

By Caryn Ganz

Blender, June 2007

Medicine Ball Caravan (1970)

So impressed were Warner Bros. by the spontaneous celebration of 1969’s Woodstock that they decided to manufacture one of their own — with a tour featuring second–rate Merry Pranksters. The wheels came off the hippie bus when the Grateful Dead left the bill before the tour began; the poorly attended jaunt sputtered to a halt in the U.K. in June 1970, when 1,500 people watched Pink Floyd headline the fest — which clashed with the Isle of Wight Festival (attendance: an estimated 500,000).

The Erie Canal Soda Pop Festival (1972)

Even after Black Sabbath ditched this Labor Day party in a tiny town on the Indiana/Illinois border, 200,000 people showed up to see Foghat and Gentle Giant. Upon realizing there were only enough food, toilets, security and yes, beverages, for 30,000, the crowd looted trucks, torched vending booths and — in the case of three unfortunate concertgoers — drowned in a nearby river.

Roskilde Festival (2000)

U2, Nirvana and Bob Marley have graced the stages of Northern Europe’s second–biggest fest, Denmark’s hippie–minded, nonprofit–run Roskilde. But tragedy struck on June 30, 2000, when nine fans were crushed to death as a 50,000–strong crowd surged toward the stage to hear Pearl Jam. Unaware of the calamity, the band played on, and when investigators reportedly suggested they were “morally responsible,†Vedder and Co. nearly broke up.

Area:One (2001)

A few years after the ’90s electronica frenzy peaked, a Played–out Moby tried to coax ravers and stoners to chill together to the sounds of OutKast, Incubus, Paul Oakenfold and the Orb. The music didn’t mesh, and neither did the crowd — dancers rarely ventured outside their capacity–filled tent, shutting out long lines of curious rockers — and Moby abandoned subsequent social experimentation.

Krylya Rock Festival (2003)

For years, Moscow youth have flocked to the annual Krylya (“Wingsâ€) event, featuring bands from all over Russia. The fest avoided political turmoil until its fourth year, when a pair of female suicide bombers killed 14 and injured 60 as almost 40,000 fans rocked to Crematorium. Fearing a panic, organizers continued the show without an announcement. But since cell–phone service was down, crazed parents desperate to find their children gathered at the venue’s gates.

Field Day (2003)

Fifty thousand people were expected to spend two idyllic June days camping in Long Island, watching a lineup headlined by Radiohead and Beastie Boys. Instead, the promoters hit permit snags and the festival was restaged on a brutally windy, wet afternoon at Giants Stadium — where Beck canceled after slipping backstage and a few thousand die–hards hunkered down under special–issue plastic ponchos.

Glastonbury (2005)

Since it began in 1970, England’s giant greenfield fest has weathered washouts (flooding in ’85 left revelers dancing in cow dung; rains in ’98 sent most home before Blur’s set). But the day before Glasto ’05, downpours turned campsites into deep rivers of muck — deep enough for some festivalgoers to practice their breaststroke. More attendees left with painful cases of trench foot and tinnitus.

Worst Festival Ever!

Woodstock (1999)

Despite sporadic mud fights, Woodstock ’94 lived up to its billing as “two more days of peace and music.†But five years later, things turned nasty: After shelling out $4 for water in 90–degree temperatures and searching in vain for usable Port–a–Potties, Limp Bizkit–roiled fans were handed candles for a peace vigil — and promptly set fire to everything in sight. The looting, blazes, rapes and riots resulted in seven arrests and about $500,000 in damage.

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I was at the '70 Atlanta Pop Festival in Byron Georgia. I was in the military at the time and was a student at the navy's air traffic control school in Brunswick, Ga. about 90 miles away. Thought I'd go check out this "little music show" over the 4th of July holidays.

From beginning to end so stoned ... so stoned. But I remember most the MASS of humanity - all with longer hair than me lol I was so jealous. I was a hippie trapped in the navy lol. I remember too the best acts for me were BB King, Allman Bros Band, Chambers Bros ("Time has come today ..."),Jimi Hendrix (he did the Star-Spangled Banner again during fireworks _ thought I saw God in the sky!) and the band that is indelible in my memory was Procul Harem. Don't know why so much, but they got deep inside me during that concert. wow.

Neat memory, but gosh was it hot and crowded and underprovided! Surprisingly though, I witnessed not one conflict. More than half a million young people for a holiday weekend and not one conflict or fight or even heavy argument. We wanted to prove the world COULD live in peace, I guess.

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Surprisingly though, I witnessed not one conflict. More than half a million young people for a holiday weekend and not one conflict or fight or even heavy argument. We wanted to prove the world COULD live in peace, I guess.

Great memory to share and I loved reading it, too bad we lost sight of the peaceful part of large events like this one. Thanks Ron!

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Jimi Hendrix was not at this concert. He only played at Shea Stadium once (with Janis Joplin and The Chambers Brothers). I think it is mis-identified on the Shea Stadium web site as being this concert but I was there and only the three groups performed. I actually still have my ticket as I was flying in for the show and missed meeting up with my sister who was attending Fordham at the time and bought the tickets. We went to the show and explained our predicament to the man at the gate and he let us go in (that would never happen today)...

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I was there too. A real coming age for me. Guys spelled out obscene words in the upper deck by turning down the seats of unoccupied spaces. I was blown away by the James Gang early having no idea of who Joe W. was to be. Steppenwolf!!!! Does anyone remember who the comedian was? Paul without Art was there. How about Sha Na Na? They got it bopping. Creedence Fortunate Son nailed it home. Janis killed. #4 Train home. Alone and 16.

SHARON LEE! you should have been with me.

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I was at the show with the good fourtune to have an all access pass to be on the stage, field, and backstage. It was all that's been said and then some for me. I did not see Jimi onstage or backstage at all. I did however come out of the Mets dugout right where you were sitting and pose for a photo with Janis taken by a fan right behind it. If anybody knows of this photo please contact me, I am listed in Nyack N.Y. BTW I am the young man intervewed at Shea in "The Beatles Anthology" This can be seen on Youtube by pluging in Beatles Shea 1965 It is in the clip that is 9:57 long.

Posted by: Paul Mastranda | January 6, 2008

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is that you at about the 00:37 point in that u-tube clip?

I remember that show from the news coverage back then, But I was abit to young to try to run off to see that one. I was only 12 when I ran off to woodstock, only to be almost beatin half to death by the old man when I got back home (lol).

The good old days! It sure aint like it used to be.

cheers, and welcome to songfacts..


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