Library of Congress Shares 30-Minute Lost Altamont Festival Footage from 1969 Featuring The Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana, and More

The Library of Congress shared a recently discovered 30-minute batch of footage from the notorious 1969 Altamont Free Concert, during which the Hells Angels, who were hired for security, stabbed a fan to death over an argument about a gun.

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The festival was a major moment during the “free love” era and was documented in the famed 1970 film Gimme Shelter.

And while this new 30 minutes of footage does not shed any light on those events, it does provide an interesting look at the festival some 50-plus years later. Check out the clip HERE via the Library of Congress’ blog, though there is no sound (do not adjust your volume knobs).

The new footage features the Rolling Stones, Carlos Santana, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and fans going crazy. It also shows Gram Parsons fronting the Flying Burrito Brothers. And shots of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards off-stage.

Said the Library of Congress’ blog post, written by guest blogger Mike Mashon, head of the Moving Image Section, “This new find was home footage from the event that had never seen the light of day.”

The blog continues, “The tale of how this remarkable video emerged from a mass of unprocessed films is a pretty good story on its own.

“It starts in 1996 when archivist/historian/collector/polymath Rick Prelinger—one of the most influential thinkers in our field—acquired a cache of reels from Palmer Films, a San Francisco company that was going out of business. He added them to his burgeoning collection of ephemeral films.

“In 2002, the Library acquired the roughly 200,000 reels in the Prelinger Collection. A press release predicted it would ‘take several years before the Library will be in a position to provide access to these films.’ As it turns out, that was optimistic — we are still making steady progress on the collection 19 years later.

“Then, not long ago, a technician working on the Prelinger Collection came across two reels of silent 8mm reversal positive—a  common home movie format. The handwritten note on the film leader read ‘Stones in the Park,’ so that was the title he gave it for our inventory.”

Check it all out HERE. Isn’t history fun!

(Photo: Dave Hogan/AEG)

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