July 25, 1969 — and a couple weeks before Woodstock and on the closing night of the second-ever Summerfest, a “rival” festival hit State Fair Park in West Allis. A few up-and-comers showed up. (sarcasm mine)
The whole ’77 Led Zeppelin tour was one that almost destroyed the band. It all came to a head at the Days of the Green Festival in Oakland on July 23 …
Led Zeppelin’s two-night residency at the large outdoor venue was being promoted by concert impresario Bill Graham, who they already had had some rough dealings with them in the past. The trouble began when Peter Grant’s 11-year-old son Warren tried to take down a dressing room sign bearing the band’s name and was assaulted by a member of Graham’s staff, Jim Matzorkis. This was a huge no-no. Peter Grant was a mountain of a man; a former professional wrestler who carried with him an extremely short temper.
Bonham saw the whole thing and went after the worker. Eventually, Grant himself, along with John Bindon, a member of Zeppelin’s crew and a well-known London gangster, cornered Matzorkis in a trailer and savagely beat him down, while Cole guarded the door, refusing to let anyone in. Obviously, Graham was furious about the whole thing, but with another show the next night still on the books, he signed a letter of indemnification, absolving the band from any wrongdoing in order to get them back on the stage. Nevertheless, charges were eventually filed against Grant, Bindon and Bonham who all later pled no contest and paid a small fine to make the whole thing disappear.
On July 20, 1969, the same day Apollo 11 became the first spacecraft to land humans on the Moon, the James Gang opened for Led Zeppelin at the Musicarnival in the Cleveland suburb of Warrensville Heights. For drummer Jim Fox, the significance of the two events happening at the same time wasn’t lost on him. “It was a monumental day,” he tells UCR. “‘Hey man, they’re landing on the goddamn Moon and we’re playing with Led Zeppelin!’ It was big, big stuff for us.
The interview would mark Bonham’s last ever appearance on television before his untimely passing and was a very strangely conducted interview, one which was too short to really get started and stopped Bonham from ever getting into full flow. The footage later became a somewhat notorious clip due to its disastrous nature.
The 3-day rock festival was held in a soybean field next to the Middle George Raceway in Byron. Governor Lester Maddox didn’t like hippies and tried mightily to stop the event. He couldn’t but he did get legislation passed that made it almost impossible to do outdoor concerts. Thus, a 3rd Atlanta International Pop Festival never happened.