Monterey Pop Festival
The first concert film of the rock & roll era, Monterey Pop is an invaluable record of some of the major musical figures of the late 1960s. The organizers of the Monterey International Pop Festival, held June 16-18, 1967, wisely chose to record the proceedings on film for commercial distribution. Even if some of the festival's big acts -- the Byrds, the Grateful Dead, and Buffalo Springfield -- didn't make the final cut for various reasons, the roster of performers who did reads like a who's who of the era: Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, the Who, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & the Holding Company (featuring Janis Joplin), Simon & Garfunkel, and the Mamas & the Papas (that group's leader, John Phillips, was one of the festival's principal organizers). The festival's "international" tag is well-earned by one performer in the film: Ravi Shankar, whose final-day performance was one of the festival's highlights and closes the movie on an exuberant note. Though the festival seemed to be anticipating nearby San Francisco's Summer of Love, the film chooses to concentrate on the musical performers, with only brief intimations of the burgeoning counterculture.