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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Atlantic City Pop: The Great Lost Music Festival of 1969


Forty-eight years ago in August of 1969, a groundbreaking rock festival took place, one of the best ever, witnessed by many thousands of people and featuring an amazing cast of diverse bands. No, I’m not talking about Woodstock, although that one wasn’t bad either. I mean the Atlantic City Pop Festival.
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it. Most people haven’t, even the most fanatical baby boomer rock fans. For some reason, the three-day Atlantic City, NJ bash that took place over the first weekend of that August barely registers a blip in most accounts of rock history.
It’s most likely because AC Pop was overshadowed by the events of a couple of weekends later in upstate New York. Crowds didn’t storm the site to make it a free festival. No foxy hippie girls got naked and went skinny dipping. No one died. No groovy babies were born. It didn’t close the Interstate due to people trying to get to the fest. It was not declared a disaster area. And Joni Mitchell didn’t write a song about it even if she did play at AC Pop (briefly; see below), unlike Woodstock.
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