By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — As much as San Francisco was the epicenter for the Summer of Love in 1967, there’s no question that the Monterey International Pop Festival in mid-June of that year heralded the beginning of the season. Besides introducing such legendary acts as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Who and Otis Redding to far wider audiences, the festival featured staples of the San Francisco scene including the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane at an early stage in their careers.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the auspicious festival, Bay Area concert promoters Another Planet Entertainment have partnered with concert giants Goldenvoice to present a new celebration exactly 50 years to the day after the original event on the very same location. The revival edition will pay tribute to the original festival in a variety of ways, including an on-site museum and appearances by original Monterey Pop filmmaker and renowned documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and original festival photographer Henry Diltz.
There will also be appearances by some of the musicians who played at the festival in 1967. British blues-rock singer Eric Burdon — who mythologized the festival with his anthem “Monterey” — will take the stage on Friday with the current version of his backing band the Animals. Sunday’s line-up includes Hammond organ great and architect of the Stax soul sound Booker T. Jones leading Booker T’s Stax Revue, a special ten-piece group with three lead vocalists and a horn section that will play classic from the R&B label’s ’60s catalog including tunes by the aforementioned Otis Redding and Sam and Dave as well as Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh headlining the main stage with his Terrapin Family Band. Additionally, some of the younger groups performing will cover songs by artists who played the festival five decades ago.
The balance of the festival’s musical line-up includes an array of modern indie-rock acts, singer-songwriters, soul and blues bands and current jam-band favorites. Friday’s schedule includes headlining sets from acclaimed retro R&B artist Leon Bridges and famed tunesmith Father John Misty as well as a solo set from songwriter Regina Spektor and performances by such potent groups as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and the “Screaming Eagle of Soul” Charles Bradley and his back-up band, the Extraordinaires.
On Saturday, the festival hosts laid-back surfer/troubadour Jack Johnson, jazzy chanteuse Nora Jones, My Morning Jacket principle Jim James, and improvisational band Dr. Dog and the North Mississippi All Stars among many others. Sunday performers of note include indie rockers the Head and the Heart, Texas blues phenom Gary Clark Jr., rootsy lo-fi crew Kurt Vile and the Violators, soulful NorCal songstress Nicki Bluhm collaborating with New Orleans greats the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Bay Area jazzy funk jam band ALO, For more information on the festival, please visit the Monterey International Pop Festival 50th website.
Monterey International Pop Festival
Friday-Sunday, June 16-18, 11 a.m., $105-$695
Monterey County Fairgrounds