First there was love and music. Then there was love, music, and a lot of drugs. Lastly there was love, music, a lot more drugs, and death…
The ugly turn was taken at the Altamont Speedway during a festival promoting free rock music and peace all around. The festival soon turned from carefree to tragedy with one lick of the guitar. The whole idea around the Altamont Speedway music festival was the idea of the ever so present Rolling Stones. The Stones being a rock band, who wanted to, in a way, mimic the basic idea of its predecessors, the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock. The idea that the people of the time weren’t about fighting and violence; they were all about loving oneself, loving one another, and most importantly, loving the music. Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stones lead singer, expresses his views on what they believe will be what people will conceive from this festival, he states, “Its creating a sort of a microcosmic society…it sets an example to the rest of America, as to how one can believe in nice gatherings.” (Remember A Day: Altamont) The Stones saw the positive effect these gatherings had on the people and they also saw the amount that the publicity improved for the performers. So they assembled some of the most prolific bands of the time and chose to put themselves as the headliners. They booked acts such as Santana, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. What could go wrong? You have all the ingredients for a great music festival; you’ve got great music, loving people, loving peaceful time, and it’s free to whoever attends. Although that’s not all that was added. I forgot the main ingredient for this heaven turned hell, I forgot to add the security services of the Hells Angels.
The so-called mastermind of the festival was Mick Jagger. He decided to employ the Hells Angels as security since he had previously had good luck with them while doing a free concert in London. Also the Grateful Dead had acquired the help of the Hells Angels before and all went off without a hitch. There was something different about these angels; “ they were notorious for their violent nature and their excessive drug use.” (Remember A Day: Altamont) with this in mind, Rolling Stones road manager, Sam Culter, decided to do his part to maybe calm down the angels. So he bought them $500 in beer (wh…
…r the stage and fell and one man over-dosed on drugs. Throughout this whole festival there were only three main problems that hindered it from being perfect; the lack of sanitary facilities, numerous reports of people jumping fences to gain access, and the catastrophic traffic jam that took place when it was over. All in all, Woodstock did a wonderful job of getting the points across they feel that needed to be addressed. Nobody really wants violence and nobody will be around violence if they are notput into a violent atmosphere. The Monterey Pop Festival proved it. Woodstock proved it. If only Altamont could of followed in theirs footsteps, who knows where music would be today. One can only imagine.
Altamont. 23 Mar 2000. www.visi.com/~astanley/rad/altamont.html.
Monterey. 23 Mar 2000. www.visi.com/~astanley/rad/monterey.html.
Woodstock. 23Mar 2000. www.visi.com/~astanley/rad/woodstoc.html.
1969 Woodstock Festival & Concert – How Woodstock Happened. 23 Mar 2000.http://www.woodstock69.com/wsrpnt.htm.
Woodstock At 25. 23Mar 2000. http://www.publiccom.com/14850/9407/coverstory.html.
Introduction. 23 Mar 2000. www.visi.com/~astanley/rad/intro.html.