The Altamont Music Festival 1969

Posted By:
Anonymous, USA, Altamont Music Festival 1969

We thought Altamont was going to be an extension of the peace and love that was touted for Woodstock. After all, it was only a few months after the famous Woodstock festival that used the tagline “Three Days of Peace and Music” to promote the event. Altamont was different, though. I went there because I couldn’t make it to Woodstock in August. Besides, Altamont had bands that I associated with more than the ones at Woodstock. I wasn’t part of the counter-culture that protested the current Vietnam War and I wasn’t one of the ones that continuously questioned authority. I was 25 at the time, so I was past that already.

The headlining group at the free Altamont concert was The Rolling Stones. The Hell’s Angels were hired as security, but that proved to be more of a problem than a solution. Since the Hell’s Angels were the only form of security at the concert, there was nobody to keep them in check. I don’t know what the organizers were thinking. The Hell’s Angels were known for they unruliness. That would be almost like hiring one of the urban gangs of today to do security for an event. When the concert ended, there were at least three people dead. One of those people – a young African-American – was brutally beaten to death by the Hell’s Angels with their trademark broken pool cues. I didn’t see it. I was more towards the back of the crowd and this happened towards the front. But I remember Mick Jagger asking for an ambulance and then the show continuing. I remember hearing all the stories of people being trampled. When I first got to the concert, I wanted to be as close as I could. But when it was over, I was thankful I was way in the back. So much for carrying on the Woodstock spirit of peace and love.


  1. I was 18 when I went to Altamont. It was a bad scene and never again did I go to a concert.I was sober but most people were not. I saw a man carrying a woman who had passed out and he asked another man for help in carrying her. I felt numb seeing all of this.

  2. I was living in California at the age of 19, but am from Seattle Wash. I met some people who were going to Altamont for the rock festival and I asked if I could go. We were living in Hollywood at the time. There were four of us, one guy with a VW Bug and three gals. I had really long dark Auburn/brown hair. We were interviewed, but the movie didn't play what we were saying. The shot/frames us three gals were in was right after Jeffeson Airplane played, and right after two guys were talking about the male lead singer having been hit. I am the one in the shadows of the frame on the far right. We left just when the Stones started because I felt a kinetic kind of energy in the air that felt like all hell would break loose at any moment, even though it was completely mellow on the knoll that we were standing on. Unbelievably, I was so convincing on my desire to leave, my friends left. We were the only people who left early - a lonely little bug heading down the winding road. I only saw the movie last summer, and realized there was a close up of us three. I don't remember their names because I hardly knew them, and never saw them again after we got back. I am so glad that we left when we did! Earlier, we were much closer to the stage, and I saw the Angels sitting on their bus not very far from us tossing beer cans out to people, then I saw a couple maliciously throw some cans at people, and I asked my friends to move farther away. I give My Lord Jesus credit for guiding me that day.


  3. I was 19 and from Hollywood, California. A friend from beauty school asked me if I wanted to go. We went with her boyfriend. I remember sitting on the side of a hill. I was wearing a felt hat. My hair was short and blond. I didn't feel like I fit in with everyone else who had long hair. A nice young man sat next to me and asked me if my friend was my sister. I told him no, and that we were in beauty school. He said he was from Canada and had hitched a ride in trucks. I worried about him doing that but he made it to the concert. My friend whispered to me not to offer him a ride and I felt bad about that and hoped he made it out safely. It was a horrible experience. I felt cold, didn't want to walk all the way to the portable toilets. I saw a man carrying a woman who had passed out in front of us begging for anyone to help him. Another guy jumped up to help him carry her. It was awful as everyone was miserable. The bad show wasn't on the stage, but in the crowd. The Stones tried to do their best but it never happened. Too much chaos right in front of them. That cured me from ever wanting to go to a concert again.