Remembering the Monterey International Pop Festival of June 1967

Jimi Hendrix Sound Check At Monterey Pop Festival
Jimi Hendrix Sound Check At Monterey Pop Festival / John Byrne Cooke Estate/GettyImages

From June 16-18, 1967, the Monterey International Pop Festival was held in California. This festival was the first major appearance for several artists who would become icons in the music world, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Held at the Monterey Fairgrounds, the festival was a focal point of counterculture and regarded as the beginning of the "Summer of Love" in 1967. This event would also spearhead the hippie, flower power, and flower children era. All proceeds benefited charity, with all artists, over 30 performing, agreeing to play for free. Monterey would set the bar for future festivals, including Woodstock, which was held two years later.

Monterey was held over 55 years ago and was in the planning for seven weeks. It was promoted by Lou Adler, John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, producer Alan Pariser, and publicist Derek Taylor with a festival board consisting of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, and Brian Wilson.

This would be the festival that introduced the Jimi Hendrix Experience to the United States. The audience watched in awe after his rendition of "Wild Thing" as he knelt before his guitar, set it ablaze, and smashed it to pieces. Janice Joplin and The Who also saw their first significant American performances.

Monterey Pop Festival 1967 lineup

There were over 200,000 in attendance across the three-day event, in which ticket prices ranged from $3.50 to $6.50. Fans flocked to see the lineup of amazing acts, including The Byrds, Grateful Dead, Simon and Garfunkel, The Steve Miller Band, Canned Heat, The Mamas And The Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Booker T. & the M.G.s, Buffalo Springfield and The Electric Flag.

One of the organizers, John Phillps, of The Mamas and The Papas, penned "If You're Going to San Francisco’ (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)" to promote the event. The song was made famous by Scott McKenzie. Eric Burdon and the Animals would write "Monterey" about their experience performing on the festival's first day. The song mentions several others present during the event.

The grounds where the event took place is now home to a golf course and million-dollar condominiums, but many will never forget the day the "Summer of Love" was born at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967.

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