Monterey Pop Festival 50 Years Later
Monterey Pop Festival 50 Years Later

The Monterey International Pop Festival was the first commercial American rock festival held on June 16-18, 1967, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California. The Pop Festival would later become the inspiration and model for subsequent music festivals including the iconic Woodstock Music Festival two years later.

The idea for the Pop Festival started with promoters Alan Pariser, who attended the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966, and Ben Shapiro. The two men approached John Phillips and Lou Adler to inquire about hiring The Mamas and the Papas to headline the concert. Phillips and Adler ended up stepping in and organized a board of directors that included famous music makers and producers Paul Simon, Donovan, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Johnny Rivers, Terry Melcher, Andrew Loog Oldham, Smokey Robinson, Brian Wilson, Roger McGuinn and Paul Simon.

Within 7 weeks, they produced the non-profit festival with an eclectic lineup of nearly three dozen groups and artists from up-and-coming acts to established stars. It was at this festival that a number of legendary careers were made including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who and the Grateful Dead. Approximately 200,000 people attended the three-day groundbreaking festival, traveling from San Francisco, Los Angeles and across the country.

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