The month before the 1969 Woodstock Festival, Atlanta hosted the inaugural Atlanta International Pop Festival. Although it never reached Woodstock’s iconic status, the festival featured a similar lineup, including headliner Janis Joplin.
An estimated 130,000 music fans traveled to nearby Hampton, Georgia, and suffered near hundred-degree weather that weekend. Yet the festival was a success – almost too much so for its organizer, Alex Cooley.
Partly to assuage his self-described “hippie guilt” from the $12,000 profit, Cooley organized a free concert the following weekend at Piedmont Park featuring a similar lineup, as well as the Grateful Dead.