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Published:August 30th, 2013 08:20 EST
The Texas International Pop Festival Took the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in a Different Direction!

The Texas International Pop Festival Took the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in a Different Direction!

By John G. Kays

44 years ago to the day (Labor Day weekend - August 30, 31, and September 1st, 1969), a bunch of crazy kids gravitated towards a motor speedway in Lewisville, Texas, so that they could experience an outdoor rock festival. Woodstock, which had just happened two weeks before Texas, was the model, but ours was a little different, being Texas and all. I attended the Pop Festival on day two, and was glad I got to go, because my parents resisted, but finally succumbed. My memories are mere blurry splotches of visuals and sonics projected from a cerebral unfocused tunnel.

The chasm of recall has been somewhat reanimated by some recent internet research, whereby some veterans of The Texas International Pop Festival have carefully archived and documented the event, seeing it had a great deal of significance historically speaking, for both the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and in a larger sense, for the State of Texas. One might even be able to extend that further, and say the 3 day festival was a unique snapshot of American social and cultural history for the United States.

I feel secure in taking it that far, although it`s probably not as important as Woodstock, I can testify as to its impact on me, really transforming me in some ways for the rest of my life. Having grown up in the mid-1960s ultra-conservative atmosphere of Dallas, I felt as if Lewisville was a sort of break through, a beam of light piercing the armor of ignorance and narrow mindedness that gripped Dallas with an iron fist, even though the Assassination of JFK was 6 years in her rearview mirror.

This morning I`m listening to The Hangman`s Beautiful Daughter by The Incredible String Band, `cuz I saw them that day; I would liken them to very trippy, psychedelic English Medieval folk music. This is how they struck me at the time too, although it`s more of an impression than any kind of clear memory, a vibe rather than lucid recall. Listening to this record is helping to put me back on a blanket, watching the String Band, awestruck with wonder and astonishment!

Lucidity is better when it comes to remembering Led Zeppelin that night; it`s a record now, so that helps tremendously, although the LP, which was made from a direct recording taken off the soundboard, doesn`t quite duplicate what I experienced from hearing it live; sometime I`d like to get the lowdown on exactly what type of sound system they used, what kind of speakers were used, and that sort of thing. The Stereo Lowdown, ya know! My hearing was so keen in those days, but I nearly got my mind blown by the Led.

I`m thankful the festival was so carefully documented; I`m learning more about the event as time passes, such as the fact that Wavy Gravy got his name in Texas, not in upstate New York, or that Ken Kesey`s Pranksters were present at the Speedway too.   Although I realized at the time that drugs were everywhere, I only used a little marijuana that day and night. During Led Zeppelin`s set, hundreds of these American flag stogies of funny weed were passed around, so I may have imbibed in a few puffs (but I didn`t take any pills or drink any booze).

I watched several nice home movies of the TIPF on the internet this morning; this reminded me of what it was like, where for a moment, I almost convinced myself I recognized some of kids in the audience, but then again, everyone looked alike in those days. The kids seemed so happy, probably since they could get away for a moment from school and from their parents (this was what made me so happy, briefly). Here lies another side of Texas, not often known. For me, this is the Real Texas!

*(Good references can be found here!)