Thursday, September 27, 2012
The Monterey Pop Festival, 45 years later, has grown into a mythological-like beast with Day-Glo wings, LSD-soaked teeth and a burning Fender Stratocaster nose.
Five years back, the event’s 40th anniversary was commemorated with a multi-day, under-attended happening at the Fairgrounds, highlighted by an energetic performance by the Morrison-less Doors.
This year’s scaled-down 45th birthday tribute, happening Saturday (Sept. 29), packs everything into a single day: Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Standells and It’s A Beautiful Day represent a sampling of the 20-plus acts, which also include Spin Farm, Roadside Memorial and Stormy Strong.
Also playing: Sopwith Camel, one of the first bands from the ’60s San Francisco “ballroom” scene, which included The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane (who performed at the Pop Fest), to make it big and sign with a major record label.
Their fluffy-pop hit “Hello, Hello” placed in the Billboard Top 40 and they opened for everyone from the Stones to The Who.
But while the Monterey Pop Festival was going on, lead singer Peter Kraemer says the band was in New York City.
“In fact, we weren’t even invited to play the [Pop] Festival,” he says.
Kraemer describes summer 1967 as the year Look magazine had hippies on the cover and “the beginning of people figuring out how they can make a buck off of what was previously spontaneous,” but he also saw some good come out of it.
“The original feeling of the ballrooms was very creative and people did a lot of original sounding stuff,” he says. “I try to evoke that same feeling.”
THE MONTEREY SUMMER OF LOVE FESTIVAL 2012: 45 YEARS LATER happens 10am-10pm Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Rd., Monterey. $25 advance; door $35; $35 VIP box seats advance; $45 door. 510-828-6265, www.Summer67.com