The actual story of how the Monterey International Pop
Festival was conceived and implemented is a somewhat
controversial issue. From my research, I believe a young
music enthusiast from the Monterey area, who had attended the Monterey Jazz
Festival thought it would be great to present a Pop music festival similar to the
Jazz festival. As he started his quest, one of the first acts he contacted was the Mama's & the Papa's.
When Lou Adler and John Phillips found that the young man simply didn't have the resources to effectively produce and promote this type of event, they stepped in to help and eventually bought the young man out.
Look Closely, This photo shows the spot where Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix supposedly scratched this himself the night of his performance. It is from this exact same stage where the Monterey Summer of Love Festival - 45 Years Later will take place!
An aerial view of the packed arena at The Monterey Pop Festival on Saturday June 17th, 1967. Its amazing that this little arena still looks almost exactly like it did 45 years ago.
The '67 festival started on a Friday evening and ended late on Sunday night. In between, Music History was made.
Sunday, June 18
• Ravi Shankar
• The Blues Project
• Big Brother and the Holding Company
• The Group With No Name
• Buffalo Springfield (with David Crosby)
• The Who
• The Grateful Dead
• The Jimi Hendrix Experience
• The Mamas & the Papas
Saturday, June 17
• Canned Heat
• Big Brother and the Holding Company
• Country Joe and the Fish
• Al Kooper
• The Butterfield Blues Band
• The Electric Flag
• Quicksilver Messenger Service
• Steve Miller Band
• Moby Grape
• Hugh Masekela
• The Byrds
• Laura Nyro
• Jefferson Airplane
• Booker T. & the M.G.s
• Otis Redding
Friday, June 16
• The Association
• The Paupers
• Lou Rawls
• Johnny Rivers
• Eric Burdon and The Animals
• Simon and Garfunkel
Performers - Monterey International Pop Festival June 16th to June 18th 1967
The Grateful Dead was oddly presented between The Who and Hendrix
Eric Burdon & the Animals
first major performance
with Eric's new band.
Monterey Pop Notes:
With two huge singles behind them, the Airplane was one of the
major attractions of the festival.
Although already a big act in the UK, and now gaining some attention in the US after playing some New York dates two months earlier, The Who were propelled into the American mainstream at Monterey. At the end of their frenetic performance of "My Generation", the audience were stunned as guitarist Pete Townshend began smashing his guitar, amid smoke bombs and frightened concert staff rushing onstage to scurry expensive microphones to safety. At the end of the mayhem, drummer Keith Moon kicked over his drum kit as the band exited the stage. The Who, after winning a coin toss, performed before Jimi Hendrix, as Townshend and Hendrix each refused to go on after the other - both having planned an instrument-demolishing conclusion to their respective sets.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Hendrix ended his Monterey performance with an unpredictable version of "Wild Thing", which he capped by kneeling over his guitar, pouring lighter fluid over it, setting it aflame, and then smashing it in to the stage seven times before throwing its remains into the audience. This produced unforeseen sounds and these actions contributed to his rising popularity in the USA.
Monterey Pop was also one of the earliest major public performances for Janis Joplin, who appeared as a member of Big Brother and The Holding Company. Joplin was seen swigging from a bottle of Southern Comfort as she gave a provocative rendition of the song "Ball 'n' Chain". Columbia Records signed Big Brother and The Holding Company on the basis of their performance at Monterey.
Redding, backed by Booker T. & The MG's, was included on the bill through the efforts of promoter Jerry Wexler, who saw the festival as an opportunity to advance Redding's career. Up until that point, Redding had performed mainly for black audiences, besides a few successful shows at the Whisky a Go Go. Redding's show, received well by the audience ("there is certainly more audible crowd participation in Redding's set than in any of the others filmed by Pennebaker that weekend") included "Respect" and a version of "Satisfaction". The festival would be one of his last major performances. He died 6 months later in a plane crash at the age of 26.
Ravi Shankar was another artist who was introduced to America at the Monterey festival. The Raga Dhun (Dadra and Fast Teental) (which was later miscredited as "Raga Bhimpalasi") an excerpt from Shankar's four-hour performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, concluded the Monterey Pop film, introducing the artist to a new generation of music fans.
The Mamas & the Papas
The Mamas & the Papas performed the closing act of the festival, as member John Phillips helped organize the festival. They also introduced several of the acts including Scott McKenzie. They played some of their biggest hits including Monday, Monday and California Dreamin'.
Cancellations and no-shows
Several acts were also notable for their non-appearance.
The Beach Boys, who had been involved in the conception of the event and at one point scheduled to headline and close the show, failed to perform. Their failure to perform was caused by a number of serious issues plaguing the group. Firstly Carl Wilson was in feud with officials for his refusal to be drafted into service for the Vietnam War. The group's new and radical album Smile had recently been aborted with band leader Brian Wilson in a depressed state and unwilling to perform live with the group (he hadn't performed live with the group since late 1964, although he would perform with the group at Honolulu, Hawaii in August of 1967). The group also felt that since Smile had not been released that the older material they had available to perform would not be favorable with the audience. Their failure to perform permanently damaged their reputation and popularity in the US, which would contribute to their replacement album Smiley Smile charting lower than any other of their previous album releases.
The Beatles were rumored to appear because of the involvement of their press officer Derek Taylor, but they declined, since their music had become too complex to be performed live. Instead, at the instigation of Paul McCartney, the festival booked The Who and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The Kinks were invited but could not get a work visa to enter the US due to a dispute with the American Federation of Musicians.
Donovan was refused a visa to enter the United States because of a 1966 drug bust.
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band was also invited to appear but, according to the liner notes for the CD reissue of their album Safe As Milk, the band turned the offer down at the insistence of guitarist Ry Cooder, who felt the group was not ready.
According to Eric Clapton, Cream did not perform because the band's manager wanted to make a bigger splash for their American debut.
Dionne Warwick and the Impressions were advertised on some of the early posters for the event, but Warwick dropped out due to a conflict in booking that weekend: she was booked at the Fairmont Hotel and it was thought that if she canceled that appearance it would negatively affect her career.
Though the logo for the band Kaleidoscope is seen in the film, they did not perform at the Monterey Pop Festival.
Although The Rolling Stones did not play, guitarist and founder Brian Jones attended and appeared onstage to introduce Hendrix.
Though it was long rumored that Love had declined an invitation to Woodstock, Mojo Magazine later confirmed that it was Monterey they had rejected.
The promoters also invited several Motown artists to perform and even were going to give the label's artists their own slot. However, Berry Gordy refused to let any of his acts appear, even though Smokey Robinson was on the board of directors.
The Doors did not appear because the coordinators forgot to invite them. John Densmore, the band's drummer, in his book, "Riders on the Storm", expressed his belief that they were not invited because their music didn't express the ideals of the time, Peace and Love.
Music writer Rusty DeSoto argues that pop music history tends to downplay the importance of Monterey in favor of the "bigger, higher-profile, more decadent" Woodstock Festival, held two years later. But, as he notes:
…Monterey Pop was a seminal event: it was the first real rock festival ever held, featuring debut performances of bands that would shape the history of rock and affect popular culture from that day forward. The County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California … had been home to folk, jazz and blues festivals for many years. But the weekend of June 16–18, 1967 was the first time it was used to showcase rock music.