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Byron Pop Fest Gets Historic Recognition | News

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Byron Pop Fest Gets Historic Recognition

4th of July weekend in 1970, the 2nd Atlanta International Pop Festival, is sometimes called the "Woodstock of the South."

The three day music festival brought legends like Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers, B.B. King, and Jethro Tull to Byron, where hundred of thousands gathered for the event.

"You can imagine what the folks in Byron were thinking when all of a sudden, anywhere from 150 to 600 thousand in attendance coming out to see what has now become of the world's greatest bands," explains Lisa McLendon, the executive director of the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House in Macon.

She says the event was a major moment in pop culture history because at the time, the Allman Brothers were just a local Georgia band and this music festival was a major break for them.

Tim Thorton was 17 at the time, and was working a popsicle truck during the concert.  He said until then, growing up in Georgia, he had "never seen a real hippie before," and that in the summer heat, many in attendance tried to trade for drugs for some of his popsicles.

Thornton remembered midnight fireworks for the 4th of July, and hearing Jimi Hendrix play his famous rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" and Hendrix holding his guitar up and biting his teeth into it.

Thorton, who works in real estate, came across the Middle Georgia Raceway property where the event was held and decided to purchase it.  After doing some clean up work, he arranged for a Georgia historical marker to be placed on U.S. 41, near where the concert took place.

The marker will be put in place on Saturday with a celebration at the concert site in Byron at 3 p.m.


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