Pop Festival image by Mike Porter (Courtesy of Denton County Historical Commission)
LEWISVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Three days of peace, love and happiness in the ‘summer of love’ are being honored with a Texas Historical Marker Saturday. Denton County officials will unveil a marker recognizing the Texas International Pop Festival. The three-day concert drew more than 100,000 people to Lewisville in September of 1969.
KRLD’s Steven Pickering Reports:
“It was a great time, we had so much fun. The music was fantastic,” said Richard Hayner, who attended the festival when he was 16 years old.
The lineup included several of the bands that had played at Woodstock, including Sweetwater, Sly and the Family Stone, Ten Years After and Janis Joplin. There were also some new, up-and-coming acts on the bill that went on to tremendous success, including Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk Railroad. “To us, Janis Joplin was already a legend. Led Zeppelin, they only had one album, but we knew they were something special,” said Hayner. “Chicago, Santana…Spirit was a big band back then. They were fantastic.”
Robert Plant image by Mike Porter (Courtesy of Denton County Historical Commission)
For those who were there, the concert was about more than just the music. It was a sign that the counter-culture was gaining acceptance. “The music was only half of it. Just like Woodstock, this was a happening that the people were half the story, at least,” said Hayner. “Us Texas hippies, we were used to getting harassed a lot. To be able to just to be yourself and have some fun was just great. It was so nice to be able to relax.”
Janis Joplin image by Steve Campbell (Courtesy of Denton County Historical Commission)
Although Lewisville was a town of fewer than 10,000 at the time, there were relatively few problems with the visitors. Hayner remembers one source of tension between residents and the music fans who were camped out at Lewisville Lake, a few miles north of the festival grounds. “We were out at the lake and we were skinny dipping,” he said. “I was one of those skinny dippers. This was our way of taking a bath. They called us dirty hippies, but we found a way to take a bath.”
The land where the festival took place is now the site of the DCTA’s Hebron Station in Lewisville. That’s where the historical marker is being installed.
Hayner, who did much of the research necessary to win approval for the marker, hopes it will remind people of the role the music played in the changing society of the 1970’s. “There was a philosophy behind the hippie movement. We had a lot of influence in our society,” he said. “What the people were doing there was historically significant”.