How Rock Festivals Helped Change America

miamipostermiamistickerDec 1968 Miami Pop Festival

Atlanta Pop Festival 1969 original

The Grateful Dead in Piedmont Park 7/7/69

 Texas Pop Festival 1969texaspop

Woodstock 1969

Cosmic Carnival 1970cosmiccarnaval

Now every weekend in Piedmont Park was a free mini festival. We had some great bands in the area.


Atlanta Pop Festival 1970 at Byron, Ga


Atlanta music fans owe Alex Cooley for bringing the city into a modern age of music.  Alex Cooley ran his family’s pizza parlor when he began trying out promoting local musical events. He attended the Miami Pop Festival in 1968 and decided to bring a festival to Atlanta. He did in 1969, and followed with many of the acts from the festival that ended the day before plus the Grateful Dead playing for free in Piedmont Park. Alex then started The Electric Ballroom and later The Great Southeast Music Hall to showcase local bands with national acts. In 1970 Alex held a second Pop festival.

Music Midtown

Starting in 1994, Alex’s Music Midtown, the largest 3 day event in the U.S. ran until 2005, usually in May. With over 100 acts, an average of 300,000 people attended each year. For several years it was actually on The Strip at 10th and Peachtree.  Recently Music Midtown has returned to Piedmont Park under Alex’s partner.

And The Allman Brothers returned to Piedmont Park 2007


  • Alex Cooley interview

    alexcooleyAlex Cooley opened Atlanta to the music world, and vice versa. He also brought MidTown Music Festival to The Strip!
    He has some very interesting things to say.


    Thanks Alex for all the great music over the years.

    Thanks especially for bringing The ...

  • Alex Cooley

    MysterE  and Patti Kakes with Alex Cooley

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    Thanks Alex for all the great music over the years.

    Thanks especially for bringing The Grateful Dead to Piedmont Park.

    Starting in 1994, Alex’s Music Midtown, the largest 3 day event in the ... Read more >>

  • Duane Blalock’s Atlanta Pop festival photos


    Photos from The Facebook group Atlanta Pop Festival – I was there or was I?

    bookert3atlpop popfest1 popfest2 popfest3

  • Schroder’s Magic Tent

    From left to right: Lance, Mark Goodfriend, Schroeder, Lee Shannon & Stevie Parker.schroders tent

    The tent on the right has quite a history of it’s own. It came from a Sears’ store in Denton, TX. Renée & I rode with John Ivey to the Dallas Pop Festival, ... Read more >>

  • First Pop Festival experience

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    I grew up in Griffin, GA; a small town south of Atlanta. I had the pretty normal life of a small town boy and as I grew into my teens I began listening to FM rock stations and hanging around with some of the musicians and others considered a little on the ... Read more >>

  • Memories of The Dead in Piedmont Park 7/7/69

    We were married  07/07/69 at the “Free Concert” in the park after  the 1st Atlanta POP.

    Schroeder & Renée

    The Piedmont show which actually 2 or 3 days after, Tuesday I believe was the result of politics.  According to the Great speckled Bird, “How could we charge $$$ for music … even $13.50 a day.”  ... Read more >>

  • A Bus Stops in Piedmont Park July 7, 1969

    A Bus Stops in Piedmont Park  July 7, 1969

    July 7, 1969 Piedmont Park with The Grateful Dead

    (c) 1998 Patrick Edmondson  (Excerpted from a longer work in progress)

    You have to understand; it was the sixties. Things were different then. In Atlanta there had started to be free concerts held in Piedmont Park. ... Read more >>

  • And to think that I saw it on Peachtree Street…”

    And to think that I saw it on Peachtree Street…”

    ©Patrick Edmondson 2012

    Friday July 3rd, 1970 I was working the morning traffic selling The Great Speckled Bird at 14th and Peachtree. There was going to be a Pop Festival that weekend in Byron, Ga near Macon. The first Pop Festival had been wonderful, but the ... Read more >>

  • What Beast is this that crawls to Byron to be born?

    From The Great Speckled Bird July 7, 1970 pg. 2-3


    Let us celebrate the triumph of Byron. WE DID A THING! To understand its nature and its impact, we must see the Atlanta Pop Festival not as a ... Read more >>

  • Byron links

    For my money Carter Tomassi took THE photographs to capture the flavor of this happening.

    Appreciate Carter’s Photographic Essay here.

    Carter has started a central place to collect people’s memories.

    Lots of good stories and you can add your own about the festival. There is an area for  special moments, too.

    Were you at The Free Stage? – Carter ... Read more >>