It was 55 years ago today (June 16th, 1967) that the Monterey International Pop Festival kicked off at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, California. The historic festival, which took place on June 16th, 17th, and 18th, was forever embedded into popular culture with the release of D.A. Pennebaker's documentary Monterey Pop, along with being the first major American appearances by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Who, and Ravi Shankar. The festival will also be remembered for its two breakout artists — Janis Joplin fronting Big Brother And The Holding Company and the mainstream introduction of Otis Redding.
Monterey proved to be the melting pot of pop/rock with historic sets played by Simon & Garfunkel, the Mamas & The Papas, the Grateful Dead, Lou Rawls, Country Joe & The Fish, the Byrds, the Association, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Johnny Rivers, Moby Grape, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, Laura Nyro, Booker T. & The M.G.'s, and the Steve Miller Band, among others. Most notably the festival turned the tide of the record business looking towards the Bay Area for its new signings, rather than limiting most of their prospects to New York and L.A.
Neil Young quit the Buffalo Springfield prior to their performance and the Byrds' David Crosby was deputized to fill in — much to this dismay of Crosby's bandmates Roger McGuinn — then Jim McGuinn — and Chris Hillman.