Southern-Fried Woodstock: The Byron Pop Festival
When most people think of the 1960s and the 1970s, they immediately think of the Vietnam War and the American counterculture of the hippies. During this time, musicians experimented with sound to create a new genre that inspired thousands and influenced todays music: rock n’ roll. Although many of these famous musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, were born elsewhere, they eventually made their way down to Middle Georgia at the Byron Pop Festival. Here, Byron locals, Georgians and Americans enjoyed the sounds of The Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, and others enjoyed the hippie way of life during their stay.
This exhibit, Southern-Fried Woodstock: The Byron Pop Festival, examines the history of the Byron Pop Festival and how it influenced Georgia through photographs and memories of those who were there. The festival itself may have only lasted for three days but its legacy can still be seen today in multi-day music festivals and through the memories of those who witnessed it.
The Byron Pop Festival was a large music festival during the July 4th weekend of 1970. Not only were The Allman Brothers performing near their hometown, but the great Jimi Hendrix performed a special rendition of the Star Spangled Banner while fireworks went off during the night. To those who went to the festival, it was a memory they would never forget.
The festival brought hundreds of thousands of hippies and interested Southerners to middle Georgia, an area that had yet become accustomed to this counter culture. While tons of people traveled to Byron to see the famous musicians, the town and State was divided on their opinions.
The festival not only brought thousands of hippies to Middle Georgia Raceway, but it helped change the view of this counterculture.
To learn more about the Byron Pop Festival, here are some resources used in this exhibit and where you can find them.