Step Back in Time to Monterrey Pop Festival

Janis Joplin
If I had a wayback machine, I'd step into it on this day of June 18 and travel back to 1967 to the Monterey Pop Festival. This was before Woodstock in the summer of '69. By Woodstock, the stars of Monterey--The Who, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, my personal favorite--were already superstars.

The Monterey Pop Festival was different. It was a 3-day event during the Summer of Love. A couple of weeks ago I was explaining the Summer of Love to my daughter's hematologist. I remember that summer so well. Great music. Lots of dancing. My only regret? I didn't get to go to Monterey. My summer of love was spent in Louisiana listening to rock music my parents hated and dreaming about escaping to college in the fall.

Ah, the music that summer. Janis Joplin, the rebel from Port Arthur, Texas, was amazing with her voice full of raw emotion as she belted the lyrics that seemed ripped from her tortured soul. In addition to Janis, the other performers at Monterey that I personally adored were Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, the great Otis Redding, the Animals, the Association, the Byrds, and Jefferson Airplane.

About 200,000 people attended the Monterey Pop Festival. Many of those came because of the song that was SO popular that summer: San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) sung by Scott McKenzie. The opening line to that song was, "Are you going to San Francisco?"

Thousands of young people across the country answered that question with their presence at Monterey.

Takeaway Truth

If you had a time machine, where and when would you go?

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