ROTTERDAM - The Holland Pop Festival can already be called a resounding success after the first day. The organization counted on it 25.000 visitors. But on the first of the three days, there were already more than twice as many on the site. Due to the relaxed atmosphere and the gigantic turnout, the Rotterdam festival can rightly call the Dutch counterpart of Woodstock, the biggest festival in the United States last year.

The highlight of the first day of the festival was Jefferson Airplane. The American rock band closed the first day of the festival: from three to four in the morning.

Jefferson Airplane, during their performance at Holland Pop. Foto: National Archives / Anefo. Maker: Unknown

The American artists had started more than three hours later than planned. The public hardly cared. At the end of the performance, by then it was already four o'clock and the next day was almost starting again, the audience still cried for more.

Another notable performances on the first day were from Santana, The Flock en Quintessence.

Soft drugs

The atmosphere on the site was excellent throughout the day. This was partly due to the extensive use of soft drugs, that is turned a blind eye by the police.

Still, not everyone was on weed. “The stuff is hardly affordable here”, let an Amsterdam student know in Het Vrije Volk. “I've heard prices of seven spikes per gram. Come on. You could almost say that the whole forest has been turned. No smoking, but trade allowed.”

Part of the audience already reported at the gates of the Kralingse Bos a day before the opening to secure a place at the main stage. Thursday evening there were already more than 4.000 people in front of the park entrance. And they are not only Dutch. In the audience was also French, German and English can be heard.

Part of the public would also have entered the site illegally. How many people have now paid for a ticket (á 40 gulden) is niet duidelijk.

According to the Free People, one steward discovered as many as two hundred people who had climbed over the fence without a ticket. Others had wet trouser legs, because they had entered the site through the ditch.

Still organizer Berry Visser was grinning widely on the festival site. The festival, which is part of C70, the reconstruction festival, is a great success. And with the rise and the atmosphere, it almost seems to be the Dutch counterpart of Woodstock, last year in the United States.

“The weather is beautiful and we certainly expect now 100.000 mensen”, Visser informed the Telegraaf.

The weather was indeed very cooperative. Wednesday, when the first people reported to the park entrance, it was still gray and rainy, but today it was beautiful weather all day long.

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Emergency hospital

A special "emergency hospital" was set up on the site, with beds from the Dijkzigt Hospital and Delta Hospital. The doctors had a very quiet time and according to Het Vrije Volk only one patient was there. Using a little too many drugs, said the doctors. A much more common complaint was headache, but that was mainly due to too little drinking.

There was plenty of drink, thanks to main sponsor Coca Cola. On the first day there are 65.000 cans of Coca Cola passed through. Because a shortage was already threatening to arise, has Coca Cola from England again 100.000 cans.

The company sponsors the festival with such 50.000 gulden. Another important sponsor is the government.

One of the attendants at the Holland Pop Festival, with a paper hat, against the heat. Foto: Nationaal Archief. Maker: unknown

And the ordinary Rotterdammer? He shrugs at everything that happens on the festival site. “Kralingen is bursting with hippies”, let a taxi driver know in the Telegraaf.

“Rotterdam is a working city, boy, we don't have time for that kind of thing. But when we organize something, we are doing well.”

(Cab driver, Telegraph, 27-06-1970)

Program tomorrow and the day after tomorrow

Also for tomorrow there are some big names on the program such as The Byrds and Al Stewart. Soft Machine and Pink Floyd will follow on Sunday as the absolute crowd pullers.

The drive in shows of the KRO are arranged as side programs, Lex Harding, Dick de Graaf and Mojo.


Hoe ging het verder?

The Holland Pop festival has since taken on mythical shapes. How many people there were now is not entirely clear, but it seems around then 100.000 to be.

Still, it was a financial failure. A very large portion (about half of it) of the audience managed to get in without paying. As a result, the organization had a shortage of 700.000 tot 800.000 gulden. It therefore resulted in bankruptcy.

A year after the festival, the film "Stamping Ground" premiered, about the festival.

In the Kralingse Bos has been standing since 2013 a monument in memory of the festival.