Jimi at the Atlanta Pop Fest, Byron, GA, July 1970   Leave a comment

Edie likes Jimi

I was eight years old and my family had just moved to a former fishing camp my dad bought about 6 miles outside Griffin Georgia (which is to say 10 miles from the middle of nowhere and quite the asshole of the Universe).  My sister was ferrile, but as my folks were going back to Atlanta to clear out an apartment (we had moved from Hawaii in the spring) they entrusted her with my care for the day.  She then stole their other car and loaded me up to go camping with some of her friends.

300,000 of her friends, as it turned out.  We went to the misnamed Atlanta International Pop Festival at the Byron Raceway another 60 miles south from our new house.

 

atlanta intl pop

 

She also loaded up some records hoping to get some autographed.  One, in particular, was Are You Experienced which she left on some grass outside our tent.  Dew covered, some microdots melted on it resulting in the stains.  She considered the album ruined and gave it to me; I still love the record and have laughed my ass off watching every friend to whom I have related this history over the last 45 years lick the cover.

 

This record has been experienced

Sadly, that’s what I remember of the show — I was only eight years old and overwhelmed by the crowd and excited to be camping in south Georgia nearly where I was born but also exotic to me as I hadn’t been ‘home’ since I was in swaddling clothes.  I knew it was noisy and there were a bunch of stinky hippies everywhere, but nothing about the musical line up registered at all nor would it have made any difference to me had it done.

So, this past weekend I put on what I thought was a straightforward Hendrix documentary called Electric Church (my cat loves Jimi) only to find that it was a concert film of his performance in Byron.  Jackie thought she’d be able to follow it by sound so I started while she mixed drinks in the other room.  The film opened with white text on a black screen describing the date and location and I stopped breathing.  Shit: I’ve been to a Hendrix concert.  Most of the other acts I would want to see (the Allman’s, BB King, Johnny Winter, Richie Havens) I eventually did, years later; others, I let slip by (including Grand Funk Railroad, Mott the Hoople, Procol Harum, Rare Earth, and Ten Years After).  I even worked with Colonel Bruce Hampton (Hampton Grease Band) in Atlanta briefly in the 80s.

I guess it means nothing, even less to non-fans.  To me — and, I’m sure, to those few of you out there who have left spittle on my Jimi record — it puts another piece in the puzzle.  Or something.

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