Catacombs Pop Festival 1968, Houston, Texas

Catacombs Pop Festival 1968, Houston, Texas
Authored By John Nicholson

This was advertised as a Trips Festival. 

The Catacombs was one of Houston’s most important rock-and-roll clubs of the late 1960s. It opened in April 1966 at 3003 South Post Oak Road in Houston’s west side. The club was owned by Ames Productions, which was owned by brothers Richard and Steve Ames, and Bob Cope served as the general manager. When it first opened in 1966 it was aimed at teenagers, so much so that for a while you had to wear school clothing to get in and only 15 - 20 year-olds were allowed! Weirdsville. 

Bands popular at the time, such as Houston’s own Neal Ford & the Fanatics, Dallas-based band The Five Americans, The McCoys, The Cyrkle, as well as B. B. King, Jethro Tull, the Shadows of Knight, Ten Years After, and the Grateful Dead regularly performed at the Catacombs. It was certainly an early regular rock gig.

Local Texas garage bands often played as openers for the national acts. Moving Sidewalks (with Billy Gibbons) were to be 4th on the bill but they went to California instead and didn’t make the show. This was Houston’s first festival with a line-up of Canned Heat, Country Joe & The Fish, Match Box, Neal Ford and the Fanatics and The Mothers of Invention topped the bill. 

The club consisted of two large divided rooms with a main stage and a second stage. The second stage at the club served to showcase local new talent, and the Catacombs held auditions on Saturdays for local bands. They moved to a new location soon after and closed in 1970, ending an important early chapter in Houston’s rock n roll history.

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