Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The South Dallas Pop Festival 1970

From the muddy fields of Woodstock, New York, to the sun-baked shores of Lake Lewisville, Texas, the summer of 1969 marked the beginning of pop music festivals as a cultural phenomenon. In much of the country, rock fueled the imagination of a younger generation, but in South Dallas, funk was King. The music of James Brown, the Meters and Kool and the Gang inspired South Dallas bands like the Soul Seven, Black Maffia and the Apollo Commanders to make music of their own. In June of 1970, two musicians from South Dallas brought these and other bands together in an event that would make local music history. South Dallas Pop, directed and produced by KERA’s Rob Tranchin, tells the fascinating story behind the first and only South Dallas Pop Festival.

In the late 1960s, a time when segregation prevented most of Dallas’ black musicians from playing in white areas of town, Roger Boykin and Wendell Sneed shared a vision: to showcase the talent of musicians from their neighborhood in South Dallas to the rest of the city. Encouraged by the success of Woodstock, the Bishop College alums pooled their resources and in June of 1970, the South Dallas Pop Festival was born. The event was conceived as a battle of the bands and featured some of the best talent of the day. Wendell Sneed and Roger Boykin both played on the stage that night, Sneed on drums with the Soul Seven and Boykin on guitar with the Marchel Ivery Quintet. South Dallas Pop features interviews with Boykin and Sneed combined with archival photographs and vintage audio recordings to explore a unique era in Dallas history and follow the careers of two important contributors to the Dallas music scene of today.

The South Dallas Pop Festival was never to be repeated and for thirty-three years the audio tape recorded that night remained in storage. However, music from the festival found a new life in 2003, when the recordings were reissued on the Now Againlabel, a subsidiary of Stones Throw Records, which specializes in the reissue of funk and soul recordings from the 1960s and 70s.