Bands: 32 performing acts including Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull, Ike & Tina Turner, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, Joe Cocker, Love, Three Dog Night, Marvin Gaye, and many others listed on the poster
This great image was used to advertise the Newport Pop Festival held June 20-22, 1969 at Devonshire Downs in Northridge, CA, a racetrack located about 30 miles north of Los Angeles that was declining along with the popularity of horse racing in America. The first Newport Pop Festival was located south of LA in Costa Mesa, close to Newport Beach and the organizers were no doubt trying to “honor” the famous Newport Folk and Jazz festivals in Newport RI.
An estimated 200,000 people attended Newport 1969. Despite a poor sound system, a lack of food, water, and restrooms, and brutal security by the Hells Angels, it was deemed a resounding success by the attendees and musicians. [the City Fathers of Northridge held a different view and banned any future music festivals]. Newport Pop made headlines around the country for a while, but two months later, the phenomenon known as Woodstock made Newport seem smalltime.
Jimi Hendrix was the headline act for the Friday night opening, but he played so poorly - supposedly from an LSD-laced drink - that he returned to the stage on Sunday to redeem himself. His Sunday performance with Buddy Miles, Eric Burdon, and several others lasted more than two hours. That performance is now legendary and prompted Los Angeles Times critic Pete Johnson to write that the audience “may have heard the best performance of their lives.”
Creedence Clearwater Revival (misspelled “Creedance” on the poster) came to Newport having headlined their own Hollywood Bowl show a week earlier while ‘Bad Moon Rising’ was moving towards its No. 2 peak on the Hot 100. Like Hendrix, Cocker and others, CCR were bound for Max Yasgur’s farm: in April, they had become the first band to sign up for Woodstock.