Anything Else Forum

Anything Else Forum

Offtopicland. Remember: no politics, religion, or hot-button social issues.


+9 HS
Whoa Nellie's picture
June 16, 2016 at 8:04am

49 years ago today, the Monterey International Pop Festival, a seminal event in rock and roll history, got underway. The three-day concert at the Monterey County Fairgrounds was the unofficial start of 1967’s “Summer of Love.” Some of the greatest musicians from both sides of the pond, many of whom had never met, performed for free, with proceeds from the festival going to charity. Monterey Pop was impeccably organized and run, and laid the template for all rock festivals that followed.

The venue was not that large, seating maybe 8,000, with room for perhaps twice that number including standees. Everything about the experience was first rate, from the lighting and sound, to Wally Heider’s mobile 4-track recording unit, to the concessions, medical and camping facilities. Several flatbed trailers were positioned outside the fairgrounds to provide entertainment to overflow crowds and campers. One such impromptu concert featured Jimi Hendrix, Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane) and John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service). The entire festival was filmed by D.A. Pennebaker for a documentary.

Monterey Pop is most famous for being the first major American performances of Jimi Hendrix, who had just come back from London, The Who, Ravi Shankar, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, featuring Janis Joplin. In fact, Janis and her band secured a recording contract with Columbia Records on the strength of their performance at Monterey. Ravi was one of two paid performers. He received $3,000 for playing a 4-hour set on Sunday, afternoon. Country Joe and the Fish got $5,000 out of the profits from the Pennebaker documentary film.

Otis Redding, backed by Booker T. & the M.G.s, played his first concert before a predominantly white audience, and blew them away. It was one of his last big performances, as he was killed in a plane crash 6 months later.

The Beach Boys had a meltdown and canceled their appearance. Several other invitees were unable to attend for various reasons. Dylan was still recovering from a motorcycle crash, the Rolling Stones and Donovan couldn’t get visas due to drug busts, The Kinks couldn’t get a work visa because of a dispute with the musicians’ union, and Frank Zappa declined his invitation because he didn’t want to appear with the inferior SF bands that were performing. A rumor that the Beatles were present in disguise had to be quashed.

Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix flipped a coin to determine who got to  play first. Both acts had instrument destruction planned as part of their set, and neither wanted to follow the other. Townshend won the toss, and The Who was introduced by Eric Burdon of The Animals. After their broken guitar and drum kit were hauled away, the Grateful Dead played. They refused to allow their performance to be included in the film or recording because it was “too commercial.” Following the Dead, Rolling Stone Brian Jones, in attendance with his German girlfriend Nico, introduced Hendrix. Jimi finished off his set by squirting lighter fluid on his guitar and setting it ablaze.

The full Monterey International Pop Festival schedule was:

Friday, June 16, Evening

  • The Association
  • The Paupers
  • Lou Rawls
  • Beverley (Kutner)
  • Johnny Rivers
  • Eric Burdon & The Animals
  • Simon & Garfunkel

Saturday, June 17, Afternoon

  • Canned Heat
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company
  • Country Joe and the Fish
  • Al Kooper
  • The Butterfield Blues Band
  • Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • Steve Miller Band
  • The Electric Flag

Saturday, June 17, Evening

  • Moby Grape
  • Hugh Masekela
  • The Byrds
  • Laura Nyro
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Booker T. & the M.G.s
  • Otis Redding

Sunday, June 18, Afternoon

  • Ravi Shankar

Sunday, June 18, Evening

  • Blues Project
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company
  • The Group With No Name
  • Buffalo Springfield
  • The Who
  • Grateful Dead
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • The Mamas & the Papas
  • Scott McKenzie
  • The Mamas & the Papas & Scott McKenzie


This is a forum post from a site member. It does not represent the views of Eleven Warriors unless otherwise noted.

View 52 Comments