Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Monterey Pops celebrates 40th anniversary in many ways


The Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation, The First Rock Charity, Continues Its Ongoing Nonprofit Good Works

“It minted rock stars, sparked rock’s rise, provided the prototype for rock charity events from Live AID to Farm AID and forged the template for every rock festival that followed, even 1969’s Woodstock…Mostly, it rocked…And it still does. The Monterey International Pop Festival…turned a global spotlight on Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and a boomer -drive cultural explosion. The fest’s 40th anniversary is being toasted on all fronts.”
Edna Gundersen, USA Today, March 2, 2007

The Monterey International Pop Festival forever altered world culture and music when it was held June 16 - 18, 1967. Monterey Pop drew hundreds of thousands of people to Monterey in Northern California. For one weekend, the harsh realities of the Vietnam War, student unrest, the Cold War, racism, urban riots, poverty and domestic politics were suspended and even transcended.

Preceding Woodstock by two years, it was the first major rock festival and started the rock festival tide. It was multi-racial; it was national and international; it brought together musical talent from diverse genres; it established new rock stars and art and cultural leaders; legitimized and kicked off the rapid expansion of rock music into today’s multi-billion dollar industry; and it formally kicked off an artistic and cultural explosion among the young that still affects society today.

Because all of the artists donated their performances to charity, it resulted in the ongoing nonprofit good works of the first rock charity, the Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation which continues to make numerous annual endowments every year. It was a celebration of benevolence and cultural change, the key event of The Summer of Love, and one of the chief defining moments of the baby boom generation. It presented rock music as a movement. Thirty-two acts representing nearly every genre of popular music at the time, performed for two-days and three-nights at the Monterey Fairgrounds. This unprecedented and wildly ambitious project was co-produced by one of the most successful and well-known music producers of all time Lou Adler as well as John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas.

“We had four or five things in mind when we started the anniversary celebration planning, but it’s getting bigger every moment,” says Adler, who staged the festival, which was never repeated. “The 25th didn’t get this kind of reaction but the 40th has caught on. I think it’s because of the cultural, social and political parallels. You had the advent of FM radio then. Now it’s the Internet. And we have another unfortunate war.”

Among the Monterey Pop 40th anniversary activities scheduled for this year are:

Monterey Pop, the film will be screened at the South By Southwest Music Conference Film Festival in Austin, Texas on March 17th preceded by a panel featuring Lou Adler, Andrew Oldham and Michelle Phillips from The Mamas and The Papas. The panel is at 3 p.m. at the Convention Center; the screening is at 5 p.m. at the Paramount Theater and is supported by Gibson Guitar.

A CD, compiled by Razor and Tie, will be released with previously unreleased tracks.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will have a yearlong exhibit.

A VH1 documentary enlists original players and young artists who wish they had been there.

Hollywood’s RockWalk will have a special induction of the festival’s performers.

A Monterey Pop Radio Special is being planned and there will be special programming on Sirius Satellite Radio

A newly launched official website:

The Criterion Collection DVD will continue to be sold.

Rolling Stone Magazine will make Monterey Pop one of the cornerstones of its Summer of Love special double summer issue.

The artists who appeared on Monterey Pop included: Big Brother & The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Otis Redding, Eric Burton and the Animals, Simon & Garfunkel, The Grateful Dead, The Butterfield Blues Band, The Steve Miller Band, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Booker T & The MGs, Ravi Shankar, Lou Rawls, The Association, Johnny Rivers, Canned Heat, Country Joe & The Fish, Al Kooper, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, Hugh Masekela, Laura Nyro and Buffalo Springfield.

The festival also yielded the 1968 platinum album, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding at Monterey and the critically acclaimed 1969 D. A. Pennebaker film Monterey Pop, all of which were produced by Lou Adler and John Phillips. It would also ultimately bring forth the Grammy-nominated 25th Anniversary Monterey Pop box set.

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