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The South's gone and done it again

After receiving a YouTube loaded email, from fellow Nashville musician and friend Gary Allen (Charlie Daniels' original drummer), I was reminded of how---as Charlie said in his song---"The South's gonna do it again...and again". Indeed, more than once this Summer, the South has deservedly patted itself on the back for being a major influence in the music and cultural changes that occurred during the 1960's and 1970's.

Second Atlanta International Pop Festival Marker
John Griffin © 2012 All Rights Reserved

The latest celebration, had I suggested a road-trip, wouldn't have been nearly as far of a haul as the Miami trip I mentioned in a recent article. The late Summer event, honoring the Atlanta Pop Festival of 1970, was held only one state away.

The festival, also known as the Byron Pop Festival, the Georgia Pop Festival or the Second Atlanta Pop Festival, was commemorated last month on the 15th, with the unveiling of a historical marker on the original festival site near the Middle Georgia Raceway in Byron. The day before, south of Byron in Perry, a commemorative symposium called "Remember When - The Byron Pop Festival" was held at the Perry Arts Center. The evening event featured music, memorabilia, the festival light show and special guest speakers.

Two days after the unveiling ceremony, a rough cut of the long-awaited, feature length documentary of the festival was screened for the first time in Perry. This was a private, invitation only, screening but some lucky folks were able to attend thru tickets made available by local radio stations. Steve Rash, director of the film, is quoted as saying,

"This was the last great pop festival of the Sixties Era. It was the moment of the end of American innocence, and it produced some of the best music of the century."

Though the 110-minute film is still a work-in-progress, Rash said that he felt it was time to show people some film.

The movie Woodstock has been with us for decades; it's high time that the South started to have it's run. I think folks still want to see what was going on in this corner of the world, during those culture-changing times, and to see those tremendous contributions first-hand. Although there are certainly plenty of musical memorials and homemade videos up on YouTube -- remembering those festivals in Georgia and Florida -- I can't wait to see the final cut of this upcoming documentary.

--Ken Utterback is a long-time musician who writes a blog on MySpace as well as the occasional essay for other publications. You can email Ken at:

Note from Ken: Do you have a passion for writing? If the idea of writing for the Examiner appeals to you, please click here for more information.


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