On this day in 1967, the three day Monterey Pop Festival took place. All the proceeds went to charity when all the artists agreed to perform free, and the “Summer of Love” was born.
“Be happy, be free, wear flowers, bring bells,” read the advertisements which summoned the young people of California to a three-day party. The flower children, the wacky clothes, the ready availability of sex and drugs – it is hard to think it all took place 40 years ago.
The festival is remembered for the first major American appearances by Jimi Hendrix (who at this time had become a star in the UK but not yet in his native U.S.), and The Who, as well as the first major public performances of Janis Joplin (Columbia Records signed Big Brother and The Holding Company on the basis of their performance at Monterey). It was also the first major performance by Otis Redding in front of a predominantly white audience, who performed a sensational set, recorded for posterity in the film of the event, Monterey Pop.
Other major acts who appeared included: The Byrds, Grateful Dead, Simon & 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. Tickets cost $3.50–6.50 (£2–3.80) for the three days.
John Phillips, of The Mamas and The Papas, as one of the organizers, got it together enough to write ‘If You’re Going To San Francisco’ (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) specifically to promote the festival, the song becoming a hit for Scott McKenzie.
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