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Everyone that knows rock knows Woodstock. But do they know what was the basis behind Woodstock?
In what is regarded as the beginning of “The Summer of Love” in June 1967, the Monterey County Fairgrounds hosted the Monterey Pop Festival. It lasted from June 16 to June 18, 1967.
Founded by Derek Tayor, Lou Adler, John Phillips and Alan Pariser, Monterey Pop Festival became THE basis for future music festivals from Woodstock to Coachella.
Some of the major players in this monumental festival included many popular performers of the time as well as some up-and-comers. Here are some of the line ups for each day and time below:
Friday, June 16 (Evening)
The Association, The Paupers, Lou Rawls, Beverly (Kutner), Johnny Rivers, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Simon and Garfunkel
Saturday, June 17 (Afternoon)
Canned Heat, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin), Al Kooper, Steve Miller Band, The Electric Flag
Saturday, June 17 (Evening)
Moby Grape, The Byrds, Laura Nyro, Jefferson Airplane, Booker T. & the M.G.s, Otis Redding
Sunday, June 18 (Afternoon)
Sunday, June 18 (Evening)
Blues Project, The Group With No Name, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, Grateful Dead, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Mamas & the Papas, Scott Mckenzie
A documentary film called Monterey Pop was released in 1968 and showcased the highlights of the Festival. This included one of the most legendary moments of rock history as Jimi Hendrix immortalized himself and the Festival by setting his guitar on fire, breaking it on stage, and throwing the guitar’s neck at the crowd; this moment ended his band’s cover of the song “Wild Thing.”
Director D.A. Pennebaker released two mini-films of two major performers: the legendary Hendrix set called Jimi Plays Monterey (also Jimi’s posthumous live album) in February 1986 and Otis Redding’s set called Shake! Otis at Monterey in 1987; this was Redding’s last major performance before his death in December 1967 in a plane crash.
Hendrix and Redding’s sets have been released as an LP split artist live album in August 1970 called Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The first side is Hendrix’s set reduced to four tracks while the second side is Redding’s whole set. Redding’s set was cut short due to a curfew and rain. Had he not have died at age 26, Otis Redding would have been a new rock hero; his performance was well received by the rock-oriented crowd. Brian Jones (of The Rolling Stones) and Jimi Hendrix were in awe of Otis and his set; Redding’s crowd was the most vocal of the entire Festival.
Here are a few performances from the film and shorts that show the legacy of the Monterey Pop Festival:
Jimi’s immortal cover and finisher of “Wild Thing”
Janis Joplin’s performance of the song “Ball And Chain”
Grateful Dead’s “Viola Lee Blues”
The conclusion of the Festival with The Mamas and the Papas performance of “Dancing in the Street”