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Monterey Pop Festival 1967

A three-day concert event held June 16-18, 1967 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California. Brian Jones attended with both Nico and Sheila Oldham (Andrew Oldham’s then wife) and can be seen in all his finery in an audience shot in the film Monterey Pop. Also Brian introduced the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the festival, calling Jimi “the greatest guitarist I’ve ever seen.”

From The New York Times (2017):
Fifty years ago, the idea of the rock festival was hatched with a simple but bold ambition: to get the same respect as jazz.

Lou Adler, the Los Angeles record producer and ageless hipster, recalls a meeting in the spring of 1967 where he, Paul McCartney and the Mamas and the Papas — the group that rode “California Dreamin’” to stardom on Mr. Adler’s label, Dunhill — discussed what became the Monterey International Pop Festival.

“The conversation drifted toward the fact that rock ’n’ roll was not considered an art form in the way that jazz was,” said Mr. Adler, who at 83 still sports shades and a whitened Daddy-O beard. “With the possibility of doing something at Monterey, at the same place as the jazz festival, it just seemed like a validation to us.”

Monterey Pop, held June 16 to 18, 1967, at the fairgrounds in Monterey, Calif., down the coast from San Francisco, was pivotal in rock’s evolution as a force in the entertainment business and the culture at large. It served as the blueprint for the explosion of rock festivals that culminated in Woodstock, and with its crowds of face-painted hippies and slogan of “music, love and flowers,” Monterey defined the look, spirit and sound of the Summer of Love.

In particular, Monterey helped launch the careers of many performers, catapulting them from local, or relative obscurity, into the forefront of American and worldwide awareness. Today it’s easy to forget that before the Monterey Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix didn’t have a hit record in America. It was the same for The Who. By the time of the festival, the group had only managed to get a record into the Billboard Top 20 and only one of their four minor hits had got higher than No.51. Similarly, Otis Redding was not very well known among white audiences. All that seemed to change in the wake of the festival.

Similarly making a stir was The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, who according to reports, was wearing “a mind-shattering gold lame coat festooned with beads, crystal swastika & lace, looked like a kind of unofficial King of the Festival.” Jones, for his part, had this to say: “This is really a great scene here. All the kids are so nice. The people are so polite and just come up and talk to me and say they like the way I’m dressed.”

Others who played at Monterey included Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel, Canned Heat, Al Kooper, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Hugh Masekela, The Byrds, Booker T & the MGs, The Blues Project, Grateful Dead, Buffalo Springfield, The Electric Flag, and The Association.

Press attention from around the world, and particularly the music press, alerted fans to what was happening, but it wasn’t until the end of 1968 that people were able to see the documentary made by D.A Pennebaker. For most people, this was the first time that they actually saw Jimi Hendrix set fire to his Stratocaster. The film was a big deal, but it didn’t have the same effect as the Woodstock movie. Big business had not yet cottoned onto the money-making potential of a “bunch of hippies.” A few years later, just about everything would be different.