Jack Connell Ask Rev. Arthur Blessitt
About The 1969 Palm Beach Pop Festival
An Interview by Email with Rev. Arthur Blessitt 6/10/09
I would like to first say Hi Arthur!!
Greetings, peace and blessings,
It is awesome to be alive these forty years later. The same month as the Festival I left on Christmas Day 1969 to carry a 12 foot cross across America from Hollywood and then to all the world… every nation and major island group on earth. I am thrilled to be a small part of remembering this historic event. Like then I can still say ‘Turn on to Jesus’! ha
1. How did Arthur Blessitt end up at The Palm Beach Pop Festival in 1969? Who brought you here? And Why?
I was running a Jesus nightclub on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. I had gone the to the early ‘Love In’s’ in Griffith Park in Hollywood-LA in 1967 and spoke on stage between band breaks about Jesus. This led to me staying in Hollywood and speaking on stage many times at Gazarries Rock and Roll nightclub. I then opened ‘His Place’ on the Strip and would speak at midnight doing what I called ‘Soul Sessions’. I went and spoke at hippie gathering from Hawaii to New Mexico. I was interested in going where the young people were gathering and sharing love and helping them connect with the real Jesus. I had known Dr. Jess Moody at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach and had spoke at the college there. I do not remember if he contacted me first or I contacted him when I heard about the Rock Festival. But we talked. I remember the promoter of the festival was having problems with the police and officials. I wanted to preach on stage there and Dr. Moody said he and his church and other churches would work with me to set up a Jesus Tent to help with overdosed kids or people sick or in need of food and drink free.
We said we would support the Festival if they would give me a spot on stage and let me have a Sunday morning meeting where we could sing and I could speak and share Jesus.
Mr. Rupp wanted support and was trying to get the police off his back and the battle of permits. I flew from LA for a meeting with him and pastor and I publicly pleaded for the authorities to allow the gathering saying that I would be speaking and we would have a Jesus tent. I asked for the festival be allowed. The group of local ministers supported this.
2. What were you thinking once you found yourself there at the festival? Were you aware of the trouble we had with the Governor and National Guard ?
Once I arrive with my music group and met with local church people that came to help us I was totally out of touch with what was happening. I was on site 24 hours a day and slept there in a U Haul truck we had at the Jesus Tent. I was only in touch with the onstage people that allowed me backstage access where I talked and prayed with many of the groups. I heard many rumors but that was all.
3. Tell us about the service for 20,000 attendees that performed, and how did you set that up?
We had my band play called the ‘Eternal Rush’. All were on my staff at His Place on the Strip. It was one of the very first Jesus Rock Bands. Glen Swartz of Pacific Gas and Electric was there and played with the band and gave a brief testimony that Jesus had come into his life and changed him. Then I spoke. It was awesome. Some fellow came on stage and stared playing some weird horn to disturb me but to no avail. Ha
News report say about 20,000 people were there. I shared things like”
“If you want to get high… pray… and you’ll go all the way to heaven!
“If you want to get loaded… then load up on a little Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”
“Jesus is the ultimate eternal rush”.
“Real peace is Jesus”
“God is love, Jesus shows it”
“Jesus is your friend not your enemy”
“The cross shows that God loves us and give us hope in a troubled world.”
The young people were eager and wonderful both when I spoke and all during the festival.
They were dreamers of peace and love… so am I and still am.
4. What was your previous background before coming to Palm Beach Pop Festival? Had you been in the Deep South of Fla. Before 1969?
I have only gone there shortly before the festival as stated above.
5. Who is Arthur Blessitt today and what have you been up to since then?
I felt the call of Jesus to take the cross off the wall of His Place and carry it across America. I had made short walks along Sunset Blvd with is since 1968. I left Christmas Day Dec. 25, 1969 and carried the 12 foot cross across America via New York to Washington DC. Then the next year I went overseas to England and then to the world.
I have now carried the cross in every nation and in every major island group in the world! This is 38.102 miles in 315 nations, major island groups and territories. This was about 76 million steps carrying a total weight of about 16 billion pounds. I’ve walked through jungles, deserts, 52 wars, been arrested or taken in by police or army 24 times around the world.
I have met with and prayed with many world leaders from Pope John Paul 2 to Yasser Arafat.
I have been welcomed with the cross as I share that the worse of man met the best of God at the cross and there is good news and ‘hope’ in a troubled world.!
6. What would you like to say to the people who you inspired back at the festival in 1969?
“Peace! I seem to be one of the last remaining hippies! Ha, I’m still traveling the world, living on the road and staying in the homes with the people and still working for peace and blessings. I’m still a dreamer. Don’t lose hope. I’m still turned on to Jesus and welcome you to stay radical in seeking to live out the life and love of Jesus one with another.
If there is anything you want to say that I did not ask you about please
feel free. Thank you again. Both of you !
Check out my website at www.blessitt.com and also www.thecrossmovie.com
There has been a movie made of the walk around the world and starting out from Sunset Blvd. to the world. There is also a book of the walk.
Both the movie and the book came out in 2009 and are called “The Cross” You will love the book and movie.
I am happy this project is happening. The late 60’s and early 70’s in America was a wild and wonderful time that brought out the worse and the best in people.
I have just loved God and people and given my life to lifting people up to the love of God.
God bless you all. Peace!
A pilgrim follower of Jesus,
P.S. My wife Denise has been with me in 291 nations and island groups. She is awesome.