The Monterey International Pop Festival

Sunday, June 18, 1967

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience was formed in September 1966, with Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. Although popular in Europe at the time, the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s first US single, “Hey Joe“, failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart upon its release on May 1, 1967. 

Their fortunes improved when Paul McCartney recommended them to the organizers of the Monterey Pop Festival, in April 1967. He insisted that the event would be incomplete without Hendrix, whom he called “an absolute ace on the guitar“. Paul agreed to join the board of organizers on the condition that the Jimi Hendrix Experience performs at the festival in mid-June.

Jimi’s performance at Monterey on June 18, 1967, launched his US career.

Paul McCartney was the big bad Beatle, the beautiful cat who got us the gig at the Monterey Pop Festival. That was our start in America.

Jimi Hendrix – From “Starting At Zero : His Own Story“, 2013

The first big break we got in the States came courtesy of Paul McCartney who they were trying to involve in the Monterey Pop Festival. He told them it wouldn’t be any kind of music festival without Hendrix. From there, it just burst wide open.

Chas Chandler – Manager of Jimi Hendrix – From “Eyewitness: Jimi Hendrix” by Johnny Black, 2004

No one in the States knew who he was yet. He was playing as Jimmy James & The Blue Flames at The Café Wha? the first time I saw him, and then I’d seen him in London in November as The Jimi Hendrix Experience. When I talked with Brian Jones before Monterey, he told us the same thing Paul McCartney and Andrew Oldham had said: ‘You’ve got to have this guy—he’s tearing Europe to pieces.’

John Phillips – From The Mamas and Papas – Organizer of the Monterey Festival – From “Eyewitness: Jimi Hendrix” by Johnny Black, 2004

The Beatles had urged us to ask Ravi Shankar. Ravi had played on the Sgt. Pepper album, which McCartney had just sent to my home. It was due for release two weeks before the festival and I knew it would have a profound impact on the counterculture. I had tried out the album on all sorts of drugs in my studio and it worked on everything. Ravi would add something special. The Beatles wouldn’t come and play because they had retired from live performances, but they were sending their own small film crew so they could see what they missed.

Ravi was the only performer who asked to be paid. He wanted $3,500 for his afternoon ragas—assuring us that it would all go directly to his famous music school in India. We went along.

John Phillips – FromPapa John: An Autobiography (of the Mamas and the Papas): A Music Legend’s Shattering Journey Though Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll” by John Phillips, 2006

From Cashbox – April 29, 1967
From Bonhams : The legendary ‘Peace To Monterey’ artwork by the Beatles 1967, – The legendary ‘Peace To Monterey’ artwork by the Beatles 1967, in coloured pencils, ink and ballpoint, text in Paul’s hand reading, Peace To Monterey From Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Loving You it happened in monterey A Long Time Ago Sincerely John, Paul, George and Harold. I Love You, and in John’s hand, congratulations elvis. say hello to uncle stan. how are you bob., mounted and framed, 20 x 32.5cm (7¾ x 11¾in)
From International Pop Music Festival – The Beatles History – Begins in Monterey (
From The Evening Standard – June 29, 1967

Last updated on March 2, 2024

Going further

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