48 Years Ago: The first TRUE Music Festival – Monterey Pop 1967

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In the Spring of 2011, I was going through a lot. My ex had just broken up with me because he started liking a girl he would study with. I was failing almost all my classes and really didn’t think I was going to graduate at that point. I turned the TV on in the middle of the night and a movie was on about a band with a self-destructive lead singer. The movie was called “The Doors” and I found out that night they were an actual band. I fell in LOVE with Jim Morrison. The rest of the night I went down the rabbit hole we call google search and found out more about the music and the bands and the revolution people my age at the time were leading. I became obsessed with the 60s and the change that came in that decade.

At the time I was going to music festivals like crazy. Mostly EDM festivals, but there were always those few acts that played something other than EDM. It was amazing. All these people that love the same kind of music; all in one place. I wanted to know more about music and about festivals. I wanted to learn the history of music; how it affected the nation and the world. I researched Woodstock and stumbled upon Monterey International Pop Music Festival.

When I asked my parents about it, they literally had no clue what I was talking about. They both were born and raised in Mexico. My mom didn’t come to the US until 1972. She was 11 and still did not understand the English language enough to even have an idea about the music or music festivals going on all over the nation. So I did what any millennial would do…I did research. I invested my free time into books, music, movies, and documentaries about the time period that caused so much change in our nation and all over the world.

I fell in love with the 60s and I realized, after looking more into Monterey Pop and Woodstock, that we have lost that genuine love for the music. I wish I could have been there for that. I love the music and I wish more festival goers of today loved it as much as I do.

“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. The festival is remembered for the first major American appearances by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 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.

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; 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.

The festival was the subject of an acclaimed documentary movie entitled Monterey Pop, by noted documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker. 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.”

I watched the Monterey Pop documentary again last night and I fell in love all over again. People weren’t on their phone the whole time and no one was pushing or fighting to try and get closer to the stage. The people in that documentary were just happy to be listening to the music live. I hope my generation can gain back that genuine love for music. Music can bring so much change and I think we have forgotten that.

Below is my favorite quote from a festival goer at the very beginning of the documentary. It is exactly how I feel about live music and music festivals.

Gooood. I think it’s gonna be like Easter and Christmas and New Years and your birthday all together, you know? Hearing all the different bands, you know? Like I’ve heard a lot of them, but all at the same time; it’s gonna be too much. And the vibrations are just gonna be flowing everywhere.”

Happy 48 years to Monterey Pop! The first TRUE music festival and inspiration for the music festivals of today.

I made a Spotify playlist in the order of the set list for the festival. i was not able to find all the songs, but I included those I did find. So sit back, listen, and imagine you are there at Monterey Pop 1967. The set list can be found HERE.

Just Listen,

Anali

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