Seattle Pop Festival, Woodenville, Washington 1969

Seattle Pop Festival, Woodenville, Washington 1969
Authored By John Nicholson

The Seattle Pop Festival was held 25-27 July at Gold Creek Park, Woodenville, Washington. It was $6 for one day, $15 for all three. 

70,000 attended and it was promoted by Boyd Grafmyre, who had previously worked with the New American Community at the successful and highly groovy not-for-profit Sky River Festival in '68, also in Washington.

This was one of the first not to use any regular or off-duty Police officers as security. He brought in 150 youth volunteers from Seattle's Head Start programme. Well at least he didn't get the Hells Angels in! They were ticket collectors, maintenance and security.

The whole weekend ran so smoothly that Grafmyre grossed over $300,000 in return for $200,000 spent. This hugely profitable success proved that if you did it right festivals could make you a lot of money and it was something well noted by other promoters. It would lead to the massive growth in the rock industry more broadly. There was money in those riffs, baby.

Chick Dawsey, who owned Gold Greek, was pleasantly surprised by the nature of the fans who turned up.

"I disagree with their movement 100 per cent," he said. "But some of us adults better get the hell closer to them. They respond very much to kindness, we older people better learn this. If they need a drink of water we, the establishment, should go out and offer it."

Hey that sounds like a straight dude getting with the programme to me. Cool. It is notable how at this time the older generation were sold the idea of the freaks and hippies as a bad, destructive force to The American Way, but when they met them, they were in fact their own, rather respectful children who just wanted a different path through life, one which involved heavy riffs and peace. It ain't such a crazy dream. 

Of the bands that played, naturally Zep were brilliant as the soundboard bootleg that has been available for decades proves. Santana, who were to be a big hit at Woodstock the following month, were also widely acclaimed.

While there were problems with sanitary issues and water supplies, this was still a well-run, peaceful, very cool festival. Not bad for $15 certainly

Bands playing included Chuck Berry, Black Snake, Tim Buckley, The Byrds, Chicago Transit Authority, Albert Collins, Crome Syrcus, Bo Diddley, The Doors, Floating Bridge, The Flock, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Guess Who, It's A Beautiful Day, Led Zeppelin, Charles Lloyd, Lonnie Mack, Lee Michaels, Murray Roman, Santana, Spirit, Ten Years After, Ike & Tina Turner, Vanilla Fudge and the Youngbloods. Not bad eh!


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