The Monterey International Pop Festival has long been considered one of the key events of the “Summer of Love,” that fabled period in 1967 when flower power bedazzled the youth of the western world. Drawn to the West Coast by Scott McKenzie’s hit single “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” would-be flower children flocked to the City by the Bay, and, during the weekend of June 16-18, made their way down the coast to the Monterey County Fairgrounds for the festival, which included three evening shows and two matinees; top ticket prices were $6.50 for the evening shows and $5 for the matinees. The impressive roster of talent included acts mostly drawn from the Los Angeles and Bay Area music scenes, and the weekend would become especially notable for the breakout performances by Big Brother and the Holding Company, Otis Redding, The Who, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
It was the festival that firmly established the validity of rock music as an art form. Just a week earlier, on June 10 and 11, there had been a similarly styled event, the KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival held in Mill Valley, California, on Mount Tamalpais. Feature acts included The Doors, the Fifth Dimension, and Tim Buckley, among others (eight acts would play both the Fantasy Fair and the Monterey event). But it was the Monterey International Pop Festival that captured the imagination, especially since the event was also immortalized in film: “Monterey Pop,” directed by D.A. Pennebaker.