Did you know that there was a Belgian Woodstock in 1969?
Woodstock, 1969, 450,000 hippies and some big-name rock stars.
But did you know that a large festival was held in Amougies in Hainaut in the same year?
It all started in France, when two young people decided to organise the first French pop festival. Jean Georgakarakos and Jean-Noël Coghe recruited some very high-profile artists: Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Ten Years After, Yes, etc. Success seemed guaranteed with a line-up like that. But this festival was to take place at Les Halles in Paris. As France was still recovering from the events of May '68, no one wanted to host a gathering of young hippies who could slide out of control at any moment.
One week before the date set for the event, the two organisers still did not have a venue for the festival. The pressure was rising... They decided to cross the border and try their luck in Tournai, but the welcome they received was just as cold. Luckily, one of their employees knew André Callebaut, Mayor of Amougies, a small village near Ronse. He had no fear, just like Charles De Cock, a farmer who owned three and a half hectares of pastureland.
And on 24 October there began a weekend of madness that brought together thousands of hippies. Up to 20,000 people attended the Pink Floyd concert amidst a friendly atmosphere and some mind-blowing sets. The police arrived right at the end of the weekend to arrest a few dealers. But the memory of the event remains that of a cool though rather disorganised festival with high-quality artists. First and foremost, it successfully combined rock, French pop, jazz and contemporary music.