Monterey Pop lives. A 50th anniversary revival of the seminal peace-and-love gathering has unveiled its lineup, with Phil Lesh, Eric Burdon and Booker T. topping the bill.
The event will run June 16-18 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, site of the original festival that brought stardom to Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Janis Joplin.
Lou Adler, co-producer of the 1967 festival, said, “The Monterey International Pop Festival cannot be duplicated but can be celebrated and will be, by the performers and the attendees at the 50th anniversary festival.”
Adler, who is in his mid-80s, has some role with the production, also credited to Another Planet Entertainment and Goldenvoice. Adler oversees the nonprofit charitable foundation that distributes royalty money from the original Monterey concert.
The giant Woodstock festival that followed Monterey gave rise to several sequels, one disastrous, but there never has been an attempt to mount a followup to the seminal Northern California pop festival — until now.
The music seems a grab bag of retro and contemporary acts, relatively short on star power, at least compared with mega-festivals put on by Goldenvoice (Coachella, Desert Trip). Fans can’t be blamed for hoping against hope for reunions of Monterey acts the Byrds and Simon & Garfunkle.
Old-schoolers no doubt will be pulling for Grateful Dead alumnus Phil Lesh, who brings his Terrapin Family Band to the 2017 event. The Dead played the original festival, offering an extended psychedelic jam to a crowd still stunned in the wake of the Who’s explosive performance.
Also at the original festival were Eric Burdon and the Animals, who celebrated the festival’s California orientation with a performance of “San Francisco Nights.” Burdon was so moved that he quickly recorded the single “Monterey,” a minor hit celebrating the event via a name-check of its stars.
Booker T.’s Stax Review no doubt will bring to mind the electric crossover performance of Otis Redding, who died shortly after the original festival. Keyboardist Booker T. backed the soul star at the first Monterey. (Stax was Redding’s record label.)
Other performers booked for the half-century bash include Father John Misty, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Gary Clark Jr., Jack Johnson, Kurt Vile and the Violators and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.
Unlike performers at the original festival, the 2017 acts will be paid.
Most of Monterey Pop’s original cast has retired, faded from relevance or died. The fallen include Hendrix, Joplin, Redding, half of the Who, co-producer and performer John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas, Mama Cass Elliot, Laura Nyro, Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Paul Kantner, Scott McKenzie and Ravi Shankar. (Norah Jones is Shankar’s daughter.)
Their glory days live on, however, thanks to D.A. Pennebaker’s “Monterey Pop” movie, reportedly set for theatrical rerelease this summer.
Organizers of the upcoming festival, fully titled “Monterey International Pop Festival — Celebrates 50 Years,” said: “The goal of this celebration is to memorialize Monterey Pop’s importance, legacy and lasting impact on contemporary culture with live music performances, unique experiential activations, historic memorabilia and art installations.”
Tickets go on sale April 21 at 10 a.m. PST.