The Influence of the Monterey International Pop Festival

Illustrating the blueprint for Woodstock, constructing the launch pad for several iconic Rock N’ Rollers, and furnishing the birthplace of the Summer of Love; the Monterey International Pop Festival transitioned from a music festival into an contagious movement. Having been the brain child of Low Alder (LA record producer), Paul McCartney, and the Mamas and Papas; the Monterey International Pop Festival was conceived out of the mutual ambition to award Rock N’ Roll with artistic credibility.

Hoping to follow in the steps of jazz music and the way it was perceived, the Monterey International Pop Festival took place in the same location as Jazz fest; at the Monterey fair grounds just down the coast from San Francisco, California. Adorned with the slogan, “Music, Love, and Flowers” the Monterey International Pop Festival defined the look and sound for The Summer of Love (a social phenomenon which occurred in the summer 1967 where over 100,000 people sported hippie fashion and behavior).

The Monterey International Pop Festival became an important place for new and upcoming acts to make a splash onto the Rock N’ Roll scene. New comer Janis Joplin was front woman for the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, which after their outstanding performance, led the band to be signed by Columbia Records and laid the foundation for Joplin’s successful solo career.

Finding success in the UK but having achieved little fame in the US, the Monterey International Pop Festival changed Jimi Hendrix career for the remainder of his life. Using not just his hands, but his teeth and tongue in his performance, Jimi wowed the audience with his innovative and groundbreaking guitar skills. Ending his performance by lighting his guitar on fire, smashing it to bits, and throwing what remained onto the crowd, Hendrix undoubtedly made a lasting impression and secured his status as rock god.

As if this wasn’t enough to make the Monterey International Pop Festival a success and solidifying itself as a Rock N’ Roll game changer, the unbelievable performances continued. Ravi Shankar, Indian sitar player and composer, played a four hour long set that aided in his growth and popularity on an international scale. Otis Redding, already a celebrated vocalist in the African American community, widened his audience to include white Americans which continued his growth and catapulted his fame. Similar to Hendrix, The Who had achieved fame in the UK but prior to the festival had very little notoriety in the US. After their earthshattering performance which included hit songs, smoke bombs, guitar smashes, and destruction of the drum case, The Who too became a household name in the United States.

Whether it was magic, timing, or a bit of both, the Monterey International Pop Festival awarded the world with genre altering acts that refused to leave that stage unheard. The Monterey International Pop Festival will go down as one of the most successful festivals in music history and will be remembered as a weekend that impacted Rock N’ Roll forever.

–Victoria Shaffer


“BLOG MONTEREY.” Epic Moments from Monterey Pop Festival. Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 28 Dec. 2016. Web. 01 Aug. 2017.
Sisario, Ben. “Monterey Pop, the Rock Festival That Sparked It All, Returns.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Apr. 2017. Web. 01 Aug. 2017.

11 thoughts on “The Influence of the Monterey International Pop Festival

  1. What a wonderful reflection. The concert had an eclectic mix. This may have been one of the final performances for Otis Redding. Hendrix actually stunned many in the audience as well as amaze them. Having seen Hendrix before, The Who did not want to follow him, so Hendrix pulled out all the stops to best them.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words! What I wouldn’t give to have been an audience member at that show! So much raw talent and innovative performances. Though I admire them all equally, there is just something that hits home for me with Otis Redding’s performance… Love hearing your input. Have a great day!

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      1. I agree it would have been a treat to be there. I was still a young pup of eight. My brother shared his growing passion for The Beatles with me, so my awareness at the time of Monterrey was limited. I think this made us more aware of Hendrix.

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  2. Thank you for your interesting post about the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. As a 13 year old living in Scotland the UK at the time it was disappointing that I couldn’t get there to see two of my favourite acts and another artist I truly loved, I refer to the magnificent Otis Redding as the artist I loved but had never seen live and The Who and The Jimi Hendrix Experience who I had seen on television over here and desperately wanted to see live (The Who I saw at The Valley in London in 1974) and Jimi Hendrix died before I had a chance to see him perform live. I had heard of Big Brother and The Holding Company a few months before I heard they had played at Monterey as my neighbour had family living in London and they used to bring up records by artists unknown to any except those in music circles in London at the time. I was always privy to these “new” artists and a lot of them I liked but there were a few I didn’t at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I love hearing stories about where people were during important moments like this in rock history! It’s fascinating to know that these artists were able to make an impact from across the world. It really is a true testament to the music being created during that time. Thank you for your input and for sharing your experience! Keep on rockin’ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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