According to Jefferson Airplane's Spencer Dryden, the idea for "a kind of Woodstock West" began when he and bandmate Jorma Kaukonen discussed the staging of a free concert with the Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones in Golden Gate Park. Referring to the Stones, Dryden said, "Next to the Beatles they were the biggest rock and roll band in the world, and we wanted them to experience what we were experiencing in San Francisco. " As plans were being finalized, Jefferson Airplane were on the road, and by early December they were in Florida, believing the concert plans for Golden Gate Park were proceeding. But by December 4, the plans had broken down, in Paul Kantner's account, because the city and police departments were unhelpful; innate conflict between the hippies of Haight-Ashbury and the police was manifested in obstructiveness. Sears Point Raceway was suggested, but its owners wanted $100,000 in escrow from the Rolling Stones. At the last moment, Dick Carter offered his Altamont Speedway in Alameda County for the festival. Jefferson Airplane flew out of Miami on December 5. Kantner said the location was taken in a spirit of desperation: "There was no way to control it, no supervision or order. " According to Grace Slick, "The vibes were bad. Something was very peculiar, not particularly bad, just real peculiar. It was that kind of hazy, abrasive and unsure day. I had expected the loving vibes of Woodstock but that wasn't coming at me. This was a whole different thing. "
The Altamont Speedway Free Festival was a counterculture rock concert in 1969 in the United States , held at the Altamont Speedway in northern California on Saturday, December 6.