Lost images of the Rolling Stones at the famous Altamont festival discovered | The rolling stones

Twenty-six minutes of never-before-seen footage from the vast and notoriously violent Altamont Music Festival held in northern California in 1969 was unexpectedly discovered.

The family film footage – which is shot vividly on 8mm film, but frustratingly silent – was released by the Library of Congress on its website.

It is not known who filmed it, as the footage was left with a film development company and was never collected. When Palmer Films went bankrupt in the mid-1990s, a cache of its films was acquired by archivist Rick Prelinger, whose extensive collection was in turn acquired by the Library of Congress which worked to edit and publish the images from.

The Rolling Stones’ flagship performance is filmed from the side of the stage, with close-ups of a smiling and clapping Mick Jagger – as well as more tense and frenetic scenes, as the beefy Hells Angels flank the stage.

The biker gang had been hired to provide security, but attacked both performers and assistants during the day. During the Stones’ set, festival-goer Meredith Hunter attempted to take the stage with a number of other fans. Separate film footage showed Hunter carrying a gun, and he was stabbed and killed by Hells Angels member Alan Passaro. Mike Mashon of the Library of Congress says the footage “adds nothing to our understanding” of the murder.

Hunter’s death, and the seemingly grim atmosphere of the event in general, have become symbolic of the corruption of hippie idealism of the 1960s. The festival was the subject of a separate column by directors Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin for the movie Gimme Shelter.

As well as giving an idea of ​​the enormous scale, some choice dance moves and the fashion of the time, the lost footage provides an opportunity to see in more detail the performances that have been edited from the Gimme. Shelter focused on the Stones. It features an energetic and clearly funky performance by Carlos Santana and his band, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are filmed in the golden light of the sunset – they don’t appear at all in Gimme Shelter, as they do. told directors they weren’t happy with their performance.

Grace Slick confronts Jefferson Airplane at the 1969 Altamont Festival, California, in footage uncovered by the Library of Congress. Photograph: Library of Congress

Grace Slick is filmed with charisma facing Jefferson Airplane, and the filmmaker captures brawls with the Hells Angels on stage, including a repulsed and threatened audience member; Singer Marty Balin was notoriously knocked out by one of the bikers during the performance.

Mashon writes of a shirtless and beautifully shaggy Gram Parsons: “It was especially great to see Gram Parsons face off against the Flying Burrito Brothers, since you only see the back of her head in Gimme Shelter. Better yet, there are great shots of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards outside the stage watching him perform.

Mashon told the Washington Post of the unknown filmmaker: “If an owner emerges, we would definitely be interested in hearing it. Someone with proof. But to our knowledge, this film has been scrapped.

Comments are closed.