Monterey Pop Festival

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Monterey International Pop Music Festival
official logo
Location(s)Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, California
Years active1967
Founded byLou Adler, John Phillips, Alan Pariser
Date(s)June 16–18, 1967
GenreRock, pop and folk, including blues-rock, folk rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock styles.
 
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Monterey International Pop Music Festival
official logo
Location(s)Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, California
Years active1967
Founded byLou Adler, John Phillips, Alan Pariser
Date(s)June 16–18, 1967
GenreRock, pop and folk, including blues-rock, folk rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock styles.

The Monterey International Pop Music Festival was a three-day concert event held June 16 to June 18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California.[1] Crowd estimates for the festival ranged from 50,000-90,000 people, who congregated in and around the festival grounds.[2][3] The fairgrounds’ performance arena, where the music took place, normally had a capacity of 7,000, but it was estimated that 8,500 jammed into it for Saturday night’s show.[4]

The festival is remembered for the first major American appearances by Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Ravi Shankar, the first large-scale public performance of Janis Joplin and the introduction of Otis Redding to a large, predominantly white audience.[5]

The Monterey Pop Festival embodied the theme of California as a focal point for the counterculture and is generally regarded as one of the beginnings of the "Summer of Love" in 1967;[6] the first rock festival had been held just one week earlier at Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, the KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival.[7][8][9][10][11] Monterey was the first widely promoted and heavily attended rock festival, and became the template for future music festivals, notably the Woodstock Festival two years later.

The festival[edit]

The festival was planned in seven weeks by promoter Lou Adler, John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, producer Alan Pariser and publicist Derek Taylor. The Monterey location had been known as the site for the long-running Monterey Jazz Festival and Monterey Folk Festival; the promoters saw the Monterey Pop festival as a way to validate rock music as an art form in the way in which jazz and folk were regarded.[12] The organizers succeeded beyond all expectations.

The artists performed for free with all revenue donated to charity, except for Ravi Shankar, who was paid $3,000 for his afternoon-long performance on the sitar. Country Joe and the Fish were paid $5,000 not by the festival itself, but from revenue generated from the D.A. Pennebaker documentary.[13]

Lou Adler later reflected:

…[O]ur idea for Monterey was to provide the best of everything -- sound equipment, sleeping and eating accommodations, transportation -- services that had never been provided for the artist before Monterey…
We set up an on-site first aid clinic, because we knew there would be a need for medical supervision and that we would encounter drug-related problems. We didn't want people who got themselves into trouble and needed medical attention to go untreated. Nor did we want their problems to ruin or in any way disturb other people or disrupt the music…
Our security worked with the Monterey police. The local law enforcement authorities never expected to like the people they came in contact with as much as they did. They never expected the spirit of 'Music, Love and Flowers' to take over to the point where they'd allow themselves to be festooned with flowers.

Monterey's bill boasted a lineup that put established stars like The Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel and The Byrds alongside groundbreaking new acts from the UK and the USA.

Performances[edit]

Jefferson Airplane[edit]

With two huge singles behind them, the Airplane was one of the major attractions of the festival.

The Who[edit]

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. The band used rented Vox amps for their set, which were not as powerful as their regular Sound City amps which they had left in England to save shipping costs. At the end of their frenetic performance of "My Generation", the audience was stunned as guitarist Pete Townshend smashed his guitar, smoke bombs exploded behind the amps and frightened concert staff rushed onstage to retrieve expensive microphones. 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 instrument-demolishing conclusions to their respective sets.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience[edit]

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 on fire, and then smashing it in to the stage seven times before throwing its remains into the audience.[14] This produced wild, unpredictable sounds, and these actions contributed to his rising popularity in the United States.[15]

Janis Joplin[edit]

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 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.[14]

Otis Redding[edit]

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.[14] Until that point, Redding had performed mainly for black audiences,[5] 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".[16] The festival would be one of his last major performances. He died six months later in a plane crash at the age of 26.

Ravi Shankar[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Several acts were also notable for their non-appearance.

The Beach Boys, who had been involved in the conception of the event[17] and were at one point scheduled to headline and close the show, failed to perform. This resulted from a number of issues plaguing the group. Carl Wilson was in a feud with officials for his refusal to be drafted into military service during the Vietnam War. The group's new, radical album Smile had recently been aborted, with band leader Brian Wilson in a depressed state and unwilling to perform (he hadn't performed live with the group since late 1964, although he would do so in Honolulu, Hawaii in August 1967). Since Smile had not been released, the group felt their older material would not go over well. The cancellation 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 because of a dispute with the American Federation of Musicians.

Donovan was refused a visa to enter the United States because of a 1966 drug bust.[17]

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.

Dionne Warwick and The Impressions were advertised on some of the early posters for the event, but Warwick dropped out because of a conflict in booking that weekend. She was booked at the Fairmont Hotel; the hotel was reluctant to release her and it was thought that cancelling that appearance would negatively affect her career.

Even though the logo for the band Kaleidoscope is seen in the film as a pink sign just below the stage, the band did not perform at the Monterey Festival.

Although The Rolling Stones did not play, guitarist and founder Brian Jones attended and appeared on stage to introduce Hendrix. The group was on the short list of invitees, but was unable to get work visas because of the drug arrests of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

It was long rumored that Love had declined an invitation to Woodstock, but Mojo Magazine later confirmed that it was the Monterey Festival 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. Drummer John Densmore, in his book Riders on the Storm, expressed his belief that the band was not invited because its music didn't express the "peace and love" ideals of the time.

The Monkees were the biggest-selling musical act in the United States in 1967 and were seriously considered to play, but after weeks of deliberation, John Phillips and Lou Adler decided not to invite them. However, group members Micky Dolenz (in full American Indian buckskins and headdress) and Peter Tork attended the festival and mingled with musicians backstage. Tork was asked to introduce Buffalo Springfield, his favorite group, for their set.

According to Eric Clapton, Cream did not perform because the band's manager wanted to make a bigger splash for their American debut. However, it has since been revealed that the band were not considered by the festival organizers.

Influence[edit]

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.[citation needed]

The festival launched the careers of many who played there, making some of them into stars virtually overnight, including Janis Joplin,[18] Laura Nyro, Canned Heat, Otis Redding, Steve Miller and Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.

Monterey was also the first high-profile event to mix acts from major regional music centers in the U.S.A. — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Memphis and New York City — and it was the first time many of these bands had met each other in person. It was a particularly important meeting place for bands from the Bay Area and L.A., who had tended to regard each other with a degree of suspicion — Frank Zappa for one made no secret of his low regard for some of the San Francisco bands — and until that point the two scenes had been developing separately along fairly distinct lines. Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane said “The idea that San Francisco was heralding was a bit of freedom from oppression.”[19]

Monterey also marked a significant changing of the guard in British music. The Who and Eric Burdon and The Animals represented the UK, with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones conspicuously absent.[17] The Stones' Brian Jones wafted through the crowd, resplendent in full psychedelic regalia, and appeared on stage briefly to introduce Jimi Hendrix. It would be two more years before The Stones hit the road, by which time Jones was dead, and the Beatles never toured again. Meanwhile, The Who leapt into the breach and became the top British touring act of the period.

Also notable was the festival's innovative sound system, designed and built by audio engineer Abe Jacob, who started his career doing live sound for San Francisco bands and went on to become a leading sound designer for the American theater. Jacob's groundbreaking Monterey sound system was the progenitor of all the large-scale PAs that followed.[citation needed] It was a key factor in the festival's success and it was greatly appreciated by the artists—in the Monterey film, David Crosby can clearly be seen saying "Great sound system!" to band-mate Chris Hillman at the start of the Byrds' soundcheck. Lighting by Chip Monck attracted the attention of the Woodstock Festival promoters.[20]

Electronic music pioneers Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause set up a booth at Monterey to demonstrate the new electronic music synthesizer developed by Robert Moog.[21] Beaver and Krause had bought one of Moog's first synthesizers in 1966 and had spent a fruitless year trying to get someone in Hollywood interested in using it. Through their demonstration booth at Monterey, they gained the interest of acts including The Doors, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel and others. This quickly built into a steady stream of business, and the eccentric Beaver was soon one of the busiest session men in L.A. He and Krause earned a contract with Warner Brothers.

Eric Burdon and the Animals later that same year, in their hit "Monterey", quoted a line from the Byrds' song "Renaissance Fair" ("I think that maybe I'm dreamin'") and mentioned performers the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Ravi Shankar, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Hugh Masekela, Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones ("His Majesty Prince Jones smiled as he moved among the crowd"). The instruments used in the song imitate the styles of these performers.

Recording and filming the festival[edit]

The festival was the subject of an acclaimed documentary movie entitled Monterey Pop, by noted documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker. Pennebaker's team used recently developed portable 16mm crystal-sync motion picture cameras that stayed synchronized with double-system sound-recording systems. The film stock was Eastman Kodak's recently released "high-speed" 16mm Ektachrome 100 ASA color reversal motion picture stock, without which the nighttime shows would have been virtually impossible to shoot in color. Sound was captured by Wally Heider's mobile studio on state-of-the art eight-track tape, with one track used for the crystal-sync tone, to synchronize it with the film cameras. The Grateful Dead believed that the film was too commercial and refused permission to be shown. The screening of the film in theaters nationwide helped raise the festival to mythic status, rapidly swelled the ranks of would-be festival-goers looking for the next festival and inspired new entrepreneurs to stage more such festivals around the country.[10]

An expanded version of the documentary has been released on DVD by the Criterion Collection.

The audio recordings of the festival eventually became the basis for many albums, most notably the 1970 release Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival featuring partial sets by Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix. Other releases recorded at the festival included the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Ravi Shankar. In 1992, a four-CD box set was released featuring performances by most of the artists; various other compilations have been released over the years. According to a radio promotional feature that accompanied the box set release, on modified stages, including flatbed {Kaleidscope (LA)} trucks, set up in the surrounding environs, there had been several spontaneous jam sessions for the overflow crowds and campers. Among them was one at the Monterey Peninsula Community College sports stadium (right across the Hwy. 1 interchange), where Jimi Hendrix, flanked by Jorma Kaukonen and John Cippolina, played for the adoring throng. It was also reported locally that Eric Burdon had checked out the provisions and healthcare facilities.

Performers[edit]

Friday, June 16[edit]

Saturday, June 17[edit]

Sunday, June 18[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Monterey International Pop Festival". www.montereyinternationalpopfestival.com. Retrieved 2013-09-22. 
  2. ^ Grunenberg, Christoph; Jonathan Harris (2005). Summer of Love: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis and Counterculture in the 1960s. Liverpool University Press. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-85323-929-1. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  3. ^ Santelli, Robert. Aquarius Rising - The Rock Festival Years. 1980. Dell Publishing Co., Inc. Pg. 264.
  4. ^ Santelli. Aquarius Rising - The Rock Festival Years. Pp. 22, 44.
  5. ^ a b Echols, Alice (2000). Scars of sweet paradise: the life and times of Janis Joplin. Macmillan. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-8050-5394-4. 
  6. ^ Walser, Robert. "Pop III, North America. 3. 1960s". In L. Macy. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 2008-01-24. 
  7. ^ Lomas, Mark. "Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival". Marin History. Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved 7 February 2011. [dead link]
  8. ^ Hopkins, Jerry (1970). Festival! The Book of American Music Celebrations. New York: Macmillan Company. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-02-061950-5. OCLC 84588. 
  9. ^ Nicholson, John (May 2009). "A History of Rock Festivals". Rock Solid Music Magazine. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Mankin, Bill. We Can All Join In: How Rock Festivals Helped Change America. Like the Dew. 2012.
  11. ^ Santelli, Robert. Aquarius Rising - The Rock Festival Years. 1980. Dell Publishing Co., Inc. Pg. 16.
  12. ^ "Lou Adler interview". The Tavis Smiley Show (PBS). 2007-06-04. Retrieved 2009-01-08. [dead link]
  13. ^ Sander, Ellen (1973). Trips: Rock Life in the Sixties, p.93. Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 978-0-684-12752-1. 
  14. ^ a b c Miller, James (1999). Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-80873-4. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  15. ^ Lochhead, Judith (Summer 2001). "Hearing Chaos". American Music 19 (2): 237. doi:10.2307/3052614. 
  16. ^ Inglis, Ian (2006). Performance and popular music: history, place and time. Ashgate. pp. 34–37. ISBN 978-0-7546-4057-8. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 47 - Sergeant Pepper at the Summit: The very best of a very good year. [Part 3] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2011-06-07. "With the exception of the music of Ravi Shankar ... songs were recreated." 
  18. ^ Rodnitzky, Jerry (2002). "Janis Joplin: The Hippie Blues Singer as Feminist Heroine". Journal of Texas Music History 2 (1): 10. 
  19. ^ Morrison, Craig (Autumn 2001). "Folk Revival Roots Still Evident in 1990s Recordings of San Francisco". The Journal of American Folklore 114 (454): 480. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  20. ^ Mitchell, Kevin. "Chip Monck: Grandfather of Rock and Roll Productions". Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  21. ^ Brend, Mark (2005). Strange Sounds: Offbeat Instruments and Sonic Experiments in Pop. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-87930-855-1. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

Links to audio from the Monterey Pop Festival[edit]

Coordinates: 36°35′40″N 121°51′46″W / 36.59444°N 121.86278°W / 36.59444; -121.86278