Friday, January 22, 2010

Texas Pop Festival '69 attendee raises money for historical marker saluting event

The last date of Led Zeppelin's summer 1969 tour came as a surprise to the members of Led Zeppelin. Booking the band at the Texas International Pop Festival on Aug. 31 was tour manager Richard Cole's idea, and he hadn't yet gotten word to singer Robert Plant when he was advising an audience in Dallas not to buy tickets to the festival believing ads that said Led Zeppelin would be there. Plant said those ads were incorrect, and that the band would be back home in England at the end of August.

The promoter who was listening to Plant's comments was not happy.

Find out the rest of this story in this latest installment of the interview series, as told by Richard Hayner, who is writing a book on the festival.

Hayner attended the Texas Pop Festival over Labor Day weekend 1969, and he now collects memorabilia from the event as well as stories of others like him.

It was held the same month as Woodstock but two weekends later. It doesn't have the same iconic cultural impact as Woodstock, and it probably never will, even despite all the similarities between the two.

The Merry Pranksters were at both festivals with Ken Kesey's magic bus, Further.

Hugh Romney and the Hog Farmers were at both, too, although purists will be quick to inform you it was at the Texas Pop Festival that Romney received his nickname, Wavy Gravy, from B.B. King.

One difference between the two festivals? Woodstock didn't have Led Zeppelin. The bragging rights go to the town of Lewisville, Texas, which did host Led Zeppelin at the Texas International Pop Festival.

The book Hayner has vowed to complete this year is only one way he is trying to raise the profile of the concert, whose 40th anniversary recently passed without much ado. Hayner says many who live in the Dallas area today are completely unaware that another Woodstock-era festival was held locally.

To change that, he's arranging for the state to award a historical marker to memorialize the Texas International Pop Festival. He's hopeful it will be placed strategically at a location near the original site where it can be observed by many waiting for trains at a soon-to-be-opened commuter rail station.

To raise the requisite funds associated with a state historical marker, Hayner has arranged an all-day concert event to be held Jan. 31 at the Flying Pig Roadhouse in nearby Lake Dallas, Texas.

The show will feature the Led Zeppelin tribute band Swan Song, and other acts playing the music of festival performers Santana and Janis Joplin, as well as a headlining set by Texas guitar legend Johnny Nitzinger, who was an attendee at the festival.

There will be door prizes, a raffle, and a tour of Hayner's own Furthermore bus, painted to resemble Kesey's original Further, which today rests in peace inside a swamp where it was parked (away from the reach of the Smithsonian Institution -- you know, The Man).

Proceeds are to go toward funding the historical marker and, ultimately, a plaque featuring artwork from the festival.

For ticketing information, visit

Sit and watch this while you listen to the interview embedded above.

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