50 years of Monterey Pop Festival
ON June 16 1967, the Monterey Pop Festival was held for the first time. The three-day music festival that took place in California was organised by John Phillips of rock group The Mamas & the Papas, Grammywinning record producer Lou Adler, promoter Alan Pariser and publicist Derek Taylor.
The event featured a mouthwatering line-up that today’s music fans could only dream about; first major US performances by The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Ravi Shankar. A then-unknown Janis Joplin played one of her first public performances with Big Brother and the Holding Company. Other acts include Simon & Garfunkel, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. The Monterey Pop Festival was also notable for being one of the last major events where Otis Redding performed before he died in a plane crash six months later. It was reported that up to 90,000 people attended the event.
In an interview with Monterey County Weekly back in 2001, Linda Jaffe, an executive director at the Monterey History and Art Association explained the significance of the event.
“I’m going to quote Lou Adler: ‘Prior to that event, musicians were treated as second-class citizens. After Monterey Pop, the musicians were in the driver’s seat.’ And because of when it happened historically, it was the catalyst for the Summer of Love. Monterey Pop was a catalyst for getting people to come together to hear the music that would be the mouthpiece for what was happening in America,” she said.
And with that, the legend of the Monterey Pop Festival lives on. –