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1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival:

1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival: The Thanksgiving weekend 1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival was hailed as the “first annual,” but there never was a second one. The event was marred by rain, lawsuits and scandals, but is fondly remembered by many who were there. The festival drew 40,000 people to the 149-acre Palm Beach International Speedway, and featured Jefferson Airplane, Sly Stone, the Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, Janis Joplin and the Rolling Stones. 1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival (Continued) The sheriff set up surveillance cameras and positioned 150 deputies around the clock at nearby Pratt & Whitney. Crowds tried to avoid the $20 entry, some swimming canals. Iron Butterfly came on first, 2 ½ hours after the gates opened. Rain and Mud: 1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival (Continued) Chilling rain fell and temperatures dropped into the 40s. Vendors ran short of food, and many of the 300 portable toilets were dismantled for firewood. Helicopters flew acts — Jefferson Airplane, Sly Stone, Janis Joplin — from Singer Island. Joplin, who’d die of an overdose in 10 months, trashed Heidtman and Gov. Claude Kirk on stage and sang while chugging Southern Comfort. The Rolling Stones, paid $100,000, went on at 4 a.m. Monday and played a short stint for the few remaining. The Rolling Stones at the 1969 Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival: Now, only a few thousand people were standing around this rural Palm Beach County race track. It was 4 in the morning. Pitch black. And really cold — temperatures dipping into the low 40s. Booked as the final act of a weekend festival that was supposed to be South Florida’s version of Woodstock, The Rolling Stones had showed up more than 10 hours late. Fans who stayed got edgy. They were burning trees, fences, bleachers — anything to keep warm. Jagger didn’t even know where he was. “Are you having a good time in Miami?” he asked. “We’re in West Palm Beach, man!” came a voice from the crowd. It sounded like Jagger just wanted it to end. “I wish the sun would come out,” he moaned. “Where’s the sun?”

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