The Concert the ’60s Wants to Forget: The Altamont Speedway Festival

It’s been over 50 years since the Rolling Stones played at the free outdoor concert at a racetrack in Alameda County in California. But the word “Altamont” seems like it will forever be synonymous with the end of the 1960s and the hippie dream that came with it. In other words, it was the end of an era.


Source: Twitter / Photo by Beth Bagby, Flickr

On December 6, 1969, about four months after Woodstock, the Rolling Stones performed for a crowd of over 300,000 people. As you know, the Hells Angels were hired as their informal security team. That part was actually a suggestion made by the Grateful Dead (who never even ended up playing at the concert). You probably also know that it was one of the worst decisions in music concert history. Basically, the concert started out hopeful and promising but ultimately ended in bloodshed and tragedy.

These are the events leading up to the Altamont tragedy.