J O H N B U R R O U G H S H I G H S C H O O L, B U R B A N K, C A
June 16th-18th 1967 - Monterey, California
Held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California, the festival was planned by record producer Lou Adler, singers Michelle Phillips and John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, producer Alan Pariser, and publicist Derek Taylor. The festival board included members of The Beatles and The Beach Boys. The poster pictured at right was designed by art director Tom Wilkes.
The artists performed for free, with all revenue donated to charity, with the exception of Ravi Shankar, who was paid $3,000 for his afternoon-long performance on the sitar. More than 200,000 people attended the festival, which had a nominal $1 entrance fee. The festival is generally regarded (along with the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band released two weeks earlier) as the apex of the so-called "Summer of Love".
The festival became legendary for the first major American appearance by Jimi Hendrix, who was booked on the insistence of board member Paul McCartney, and The Who. It was also the first major public performance for Janis Joplin, backed by Big Brother and The Holding Company, and Otis Redding, backed by Booker T. & The MG's. Redding would die only a few months later.
Many record company executives were in attendance, and a number of the performers won recording contracts based on their appearance at the festival. Several acts were also notable for their non-appearance. A variety of reasons were given for The Beach Boys' cancellation, which was interpreted as an admission that they could not compete alongside hipper acts or that the boys had yet to recover from the rift between Brian Wilson and the rest of the band over their failure to complete Smile, the follow up to Pet Sounds or because of Carl Wilson having problems with the draft board; Beach Boys engineer Stephen Desper however has said through the internet that the appearance was cancelled due to being sponsored by Coca-Cola and Mike Love thought it was a "plot" to get the nation's youth hooked on soda. Musician Donovan was refused a visa to enter the United States because of a 1966 drug bust. Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band was also invited to appear but according to the liner notes for the CD reissue of their album Safe As Milk, the band reportedly turned the offer down at the insistence of guitarist Ry Cooder, who felt the group was not ready. Although the Rolling Stones did not play, guitarist Brian Jones attended and appeared on stage to introduce Hendrix (hailing him "king of the festival").
Eric Burdon and The Animals later that same year sang a song about the festival entitled "Monterey", which quoted a line from the Byrds song "Renaissance Faire" ("I think that maybe I'm dreamin"). In the song, Burdon mentions Monterey performers The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Ravi Shankar, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Hugh Masekela, The Grateful Dead, and a guest who did not perform, The Rolling Stones' Brian Jones ("His Majesty, Prince Jones, smiled as he moved among the crowd"). The instruments used in the song imitate the styles of these performers.
A number of other artists performed,
including blues singer
Laura Nyro, and the South African jazz trumpeter
Hugh Masekela. Many rock bands made appearances as well, including
Country Joe and The Fish,
Moby Grape, and
Quicksilver Messenger Service. Blues-rock bands were
well-represented, among them
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band,
The Steve Miller Band, and
The Blues Project.