Last night I held Aladdin’s lamp

Steve Kline Ages of Rock

Newport Pop 1968August 3

1968: The two-day Newport Pop Festival opens at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California. It is the first concert ever to draw more than 100,000 people. Promoted with a round flyer the size of a 45-rpm record, it is billed as a “first annual” event. There is never a “second annual,” although a Northridge, California concert held in June 1969 is sometimes confused with Newport 1968. Newport ’68 features a galaxy of rock stars, including Tiny Tim, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Sonny & Cher and Eric Burdon and The Animals. Great bands. But promoters fail to anticipate the numbers the concert will attract, leaving folks who pay the $5.50 admission price to wander in an open dusty field under a broiling sun with inadequate sanitary or refreshment facilities and a sound system that fails to carry the music very far. Among the biggest hits with those in earshot of the speakers is Steppenwolf. So lift your morning cup of coffee to the one and only Newport Pop Festival and Steppenwolf:

 

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