Episode 1: Monterey Pop Festival Revisited
Long before there was Coachella, Outside Lands Festival, and the popular music gatherings of today, the Monterey Pop Festival was the first of its kind. Taking place in the fairgrounds of Monterey in the summer of 1967, the three-day festival brought to the stage the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who. Their performances are now viewed as legendary markers in the history of rock and roll, but at the time, Jimi and Janis were newcomers to the rock scene. These debut appearances introduced them to the rest of the world and in doing so, they helped revolutionized the entire landscape of rock and roll music to come.In this episode, Darice Murray-McKay, Jonathan King, and Rosalie Howarth recount their experiences as young teenagers attending the legendary music festival. Additional commentary is provided by famed music critic Joel Selvin. Monterey Pop Festival Revisited Joel Selvin: Monterey – it was a watershed moment where everything pivoted in three days. All of what pop music was on Friday was changed by Sunday night. All the groups that came in on top – The Association, Johnny Rivers, the Mamas & Papas – they were history on Monday. And everybody that came in unknown from London and San Francisco, they were the new stars. The ones the record companies wanted. That is what people wanted to hear. It was this huge swivel spot. The entire sound of popular music had changed in just that weekend. Nothing was ever the same since.HOST: Welcome to The Echo Chamber, I'm your host Brandi Howell. It almost seems mythical now, what we hear about the Summer of 1967, of the music festival that took over the sleepy fairgrounds of Monterey, CA for those three days in June. The idea seems so commonplace now with the Coachella's and Outside Lands of our day, but this was the first of its kind. An idea hatched up by John Phillips of the Mamas & Papas and their producer Lou Adler. Little did they know that their experiment would prove to be an unforgettable experience ushering in a new era of rock and roll for generations to come. My friend's father was in the crowd that weekend and at the young age of 17, he said it changed his life. A strong statement of course, but no doubt it's true. To have witnessed firsthand these moments that are now permanently etched in the lexicon of rock and roll, the memories and music still hold their strength and power for him and the others that were there. And so as we marked upon the 50th anniversary of Monterey Pop Festival, I began to talk to some of the others that were also there in the crowd. To listen to their stories and share their experiences of those three days in Monterey. And now on The Echo Chamber, we go back to Monterey Pop Festival. Here are their stories. Jonathan King (JK): I have memories of the festival. I had just turned 17 at the time. One thing I wonder about is how many veterans of that day, if their memories are crystal clear? We are getting on in age. And how much of that has been influenced by the movie that came out, Monterey Pop? It's just a fun idea for me, it's like – Are people remembering what really happened, or are they remembering...but I, being the neurotic high school student, kept notes... Darice Murray-McKay (DMM): My name is Darice Murray-McKay. We are in the San Francisco Public Library branch in the Haight and I have been working here since 2003. When I was five years old, my mother woke me up, grabbed me out of bed and put me in front of the black and white television set and said – Watch this! This is important. It was Elvis on the Steve Allen show. I was doomed. It's almost hardwired DNA now, everything that was rock and roll. It was 1967, I was living in San Diego, CA. I was 16 years old. When the Monterey Pop Festival was announced, my best friend in high school and myself got tickets.JK: I'm Jonathan King.
Duration: 32 min