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Monterey Pop Fest returning for its 50th anniversary (with Phil Lesh, Kurt Vile, Father John Misty, more)

Monterey Pop 50

Before Woodstock, and way before Coachella, the rock-music festival that started it all was the Monterey Pop Festival. Its lineup had legendary performances by Jimi Hendrix and The Who (you’ve probably seen pictures or videos of Hendrix lighting his guitar on fire at Monterey), and and also boasted sets by The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Simon & Garfunkel, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Mamas & the Papas, Ravi Shankar, Otis Redding, and more. It’s the reason The Mamas & the Papas’ John Phillips wrote “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” (for Scott McKenzie to sing), and it was one of the major events of the Summer of Love. If you’ve never seen D.A. Pennebaker’s concert film about the festival, it’s well worth your time.

That was 50 years ago, and the New York Times reports that the festival will make a comeback this year for its 50th anniversary. It goes down from June 16 to 18, and it features at least one veteran of the original Monterey Pop Fest, the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh with his Terrapin Family Band, plus a handful of talented newcomers. Kurt Vile, Jim James, Father John Misty, Gary Clark Jr, Norah Jones and The Head and the Heart are all confirmed to play (as is Jack Johnson).

The festival will actually be co-produced by Goldenvoice (who are behind Coachella), along with San Francisco promoters Another Planet Entertainment.

The full lineup is being announced Monday (4/17), so stay tuned for that. More info at

Watch Jimi Hendrix sacrifice his guitar at the original Monterey Pop Festival:

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