Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Millions wait for album release

Millions of Jimi Hendrix fans around the world eagerly await the Nov. 5th release of the album recorded at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, and I am one of them. Yes, I'm a huge Hendrix fan, can't wait for this album and Jimi doc titled "Hear My Train a Commin" it will feature footage from Miami never seen before. I was at the festival, and photographed it, the album cover photo is one that I took. I was only 19 at the time, very young in my photography career. At the time I worked in my Fathers Palm Beach Studio, when I announced I wanted to go to Miami to photograph Jimi my Dad quipped "Who is going to buy these rock concert photos" Five years ago I licensed all of my Jimi images to Authentic Hendrix LLC, it took a long time, but this is my first album cover. The documentary will air on PBS the same day as the album release. It was recorded by Eddie Kramer, Jimi's long time engineer.
Eddie is in this photo walking behind Jimi with a camera around his neck. I have some great memories from this festival, what I didn't know was that the promoter was Michael Lang, who would later have Jimi as the closing act for Woodstock. Four of my Miami Pop Festival photos, along with the poster are in Micheal's book "The Road to Woodstock" Time is moving too slow, I want to hear this album now, and I can't wait to see the doc, but I guess I have to be patient along with the rest of Jimi's multitude of fans. Peace, Ken

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Historical Marker


Oldrockphoto has successfully accomplished one of it's most important goal, raising the history of the most important rock festival to ever happen in Palm Beach County.Palm Beach International Raceway has placed an historical marker on the original property where the festival occurred.This event was also attended by founding member of Vanilla Fudge, Mark Stein who sang lead vocals and played keyboards. The 1969 Palm Beach Pop Festival was just three months after Woodstock and six days before Altamont. This is important because The Rolling Stones were the closing act, .1969 Palm Beach Pop Festival 

   The '69 festival included some of the most noteworthy bands of the late Sixties.Our spectacular line up, which included, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Chambers Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Steppenwolf, Spirit, Pacific Gas and Electric, Sweetwater, Country Joe and The Fish, Rotary Connection Grand Funk Railroad, The Rugbys, King Crimson, Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, and The Rolling Stones was Woodstock without the Folk Music. Bill Hanley did the sound, Wavy Gravy and Tom Law were there from the Hog Farm, and Mother Nature made an unexpected visit to the festival..More to come on the History next time. 1969 Palm Beach Pop Festival trailer/short film

 This is me at the festival, my Father took this, we were the Official Photographers
I was flown into the site on the first morning. I had to go to the colonnades hotel to catch my first helicopter ride in my life. We flew over the site, I could see the beginnings of our 50,000 plus crowd start to gather. They were letting the crowd paint a security fence on the perimeter of the festival. There was Wavy Gravy, bullhorn in hand, helping with communication and the crowd of people who need ed to pass on their messages through Wavy. I was still trying to get set up. My brother, Michael and I were camping out for all three days and we needed to hook up with our friend,  Gary Kus, who had brought all our camping gear in his van.After we got set up there was plenty of time for me to roam around and get the lay of the land.The crowd was starting to grow, tents and campers were springing up everywhere on the back end of the property.There was only canned music until the fist act, Iron Butterfly.
   The weather had been very unfriendly, just a few weeks before the festival, we had some rainy days and the property was already muddy from that. Then just as the Iron butterfly hit the stage another downpour opened up and scattered the crowd.This was not the way I wanted things to start, I had to be very protective of my camera gear.
   The first day was mostly just getting set up, and getting the lay of the land, there was a lot of other things to do besides the music.There were carnival acts and lots of vendors. Many of the vendors were selling food, but there were also some "Head Shop" items, lots of bootleg music and incense burning..
   Over the three days there were some great acts that were just coming out, Grand Funk Railroad, and King Crimson were just getting known. Janis Joplin jammed with Johnny Winter and Vanilla Fudge for over two hours and wowed the crowd. Of course The Rolling Stones were the closing act, Jefferson Airplane played just before them. The Stones were six hours late in arriving and didn't come on stage until almost 4 in the morning in the freezing cold that occurs just before dawn. I think the temperature was in the high 20's, just bitterly cold and windy. The crowd was burning anything that they could get their hands on, including the bleachers. The only other gig the Stones had left on their '69 tour was Altamont, and you know what a disaster that was. We were just talking with Tony Funches who worked security for Mick, he said they hated to do festivals, to much of a risk on the weather and security. I guess Palm Beach and Altamont showed why that is true. Mojo Magazine out of the UK recently published a huge article about The Stones and included one of my Mick Jagger photographs and an article about the Palm Beach Festival in that issue.

  I want to talk about Oldrockphoto and all the things we do. Of course we are working on a documentary about the 1969 Palm Beach Pop Festival, but did you know we are also doing a doc about the 1968 Miami Pop Festival too. This was one of the most important festivals of all time, right up there with Monterey, the first Rock Festival and, and Woodstock. Miami was produced by Ric O'Barry and his partner Michael Lang. Ric is now a Dolphin activist, you might have heard of his movie, "The Cove", and of course Michael Lang gave us Woodstock.Four of my photographs and the Miami poster were included in Michael's  book "The Road to Woodstock" It's a great read and has quite a bit of information about Miami in it. Gulfstream Park, where the Miami Pop Festival was held also has an historical marker. It was unveiled on July 4th 2012. Ric O'Barry and Leon Hendrix, Jimi's younger brother. Michael Lang wrote the quote for the marker, he said, "This is where the seeds of Woodstock were sown"  Attendance for that day at Gulfstream was upwards of 10,000 people.
  I have licensed all of my Miami Pop Festival photographs of Jimi Hendrix and the Experience to Authentic Hendrix, Jimi's estate, and we have been waiting patiently for the release of the sound track and video of Jimi at this event. Rolling Stone magazine called Miami one of Jimi's best and most important performances.

 Jimi performed twice that first day of the festival, once in the daytime and once at night. I was very young and had not yet learned about available light photography at night concerts. All I knew was what my Father had taught me, which was to use my flash at night. This proved to be my undoing with Jimi, I only got two photographs at the evening performance. I had professional equipment, a huge Honeywell strobe powered by a 510 volt battery pack that I had to carry on my shoulder, and a 3.5 Rollei which used 2and 1/4 inch film, commonly called 120 film. It;s at least 3 times the size of 35mm film. The photo below was my first shot at night, then I moved in for a close up. My flash went off and lit up the whole stage, it was sooooo powerful it was overwhelming. Jimi paused and looked directly at me and said in a slow low vioce, "There'll be NO MORE flash photography." I was devastated, no more photos I thought, my Rock Idol was chastising me for doing something wrong.I felt so small, I just wanted to hide somewhere. Thank goodness I soon found out how to shoot a concert without a flash.