BYRON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The 60's were all about hippies, drugs, and rock n' roll and Middle Georgia hosted one of the biggest rock festivals ever.
"It was pretty wild. It was a three day wild party."
A wild party Tim Thornton doesn't want Middle Georgia to forget. The Second Annual Atlanta International Pop Festival was held in Byron on July 4th weekend 1960. Hippies, rednecks, bikers and all kinds of people met at the Middle Georgia Speedway to rock out.
"It was a culture shock," Thornton, who owns the race track, said. "Not only the quantity of people but just frankly, mix[ing] in the rural south meets the California hippie."
Today, the location of the pop festival is on overgrown field, but back in 1970, hundreds of thousands of people packed the area to watch over 30 live musical acts, including big names like Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers Band.
Now it is becoming a historical landmark. The Georgia Historical Society is memorializing the festival with a commemorative plaque for everyone to enjoy. And for some, it will bring back memories.
"There were literally hundreds of thousands of young people uninhibited and listening to the music they love," Willie Perkins, tour manager for the Allman Brothers Band, said.
Perkins says he'll never forget the festival and how it jump started the band's career.
"[It is] a musically historical as well as culturally historical event that has never been topped."
The festival won't just be a memory, but a rockin' weekend marked forever in Middle Georgia history.
An official ceremony commemorating the Byron Pop Festival will be held on Saturday at 3 pm at the Middle Georgia Speedway in Byron off US Highway 41. It is free and open to the public.
On Friday, an event called "Remember When – The Byron Pop Festival" will be held at the Perry Arts Center from 7 to 10 pm. It will feature music, memorabilia and special guest speakers. There is a $5 admission fee.