Decades Before Beach Concerts, 100,000 People Attended the Atlantic City Pop Festival
Between Blake Shelton, Lady A, Pink, and Jimmy Buffett, Atlantic City has had a significant amount of success with its beach concerts over the last several summers (sans 2020, of course). But decades before people were rocking out on the beach, another huge concert was held just a few miles inland.
On August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1969, the Atlantic City Pop Festival was held at the now long-closed Atlantic City Race Course in Mays Landing.
This three day festival had an absolutely amazing line-up of musical acts that included Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Little Richard, Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, Santana, and many more legendary bands.
The cost to attend the festival? $15. For all three days. To see every band.
There were no special stages where only certain people could see some bands, no multi-tiered ticket pricing, and the people at the festival weren't paying eight bucks for a bottle of water.
But for whatever reason, if you ask people to name a huge east coast music festival that happened in the 1960s, everyone will say, "Woodstock." The Atlantic City Pop Festival, which happened just a couple weeks before Woodstock, seems to be lost to history. There aren't many pictures of it and only a handful of videos have made it to YouTube (most without audio)...
So, the next time you drive past the Hamilton Mall or the Atlantic City Race Course, just imagine 100,000 people making a pilgrimage to Mays Landing to see some of the most legendary bands of the 60s perform.