The first major rock music festival and the precursor to Woodstock, the Monterey International Pop Festival was an unprecedented gathering of pop, soul, jazz, and folk artists who took the stage one luminous weekend during the “Summer of Love.” On the 16th, 17th, and 18th of June, 1967, the sleepy California coastal community of Monterey played host to the now-legendary concert. In its aftermath, the world of popular culture was transformed forever. The ’60s were now upon us with a soundtrack, a style, and a political and social sensibility all its own.
A Perfect Haze is the official history of this glorious festival. With the endorsement and support of producer Lou Adler and the Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation, the sights and sounds of the festival come to life in this extravagant compilation of photography, memorabilia, and first-hand accounts by musicians, fans, crew members, and others who attended the concert. To read its pages is to step back in time to the moment of rock’s big bang, when Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and dozens more set the stage on fire—both metaphorically and, in one iconic instance, literally!
Dozens of musicians and others associated with the festival have been interviewed exclusively for the book, including Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Bob Weir, Ravi Shankar, D. A. Pennebaker, Andrew Loog Oldham, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, and Al Kooper, as well as members of Jefferson Airplane, the Association, Moby Grape, and Canned Heat.
A Perfect Haze is packed with hundreds of photographs taken both in front of the stage and behind the scenes, including works by such notable artists as Henry Diltz, Elaine Mayes, and Nurit Wilde. Festival programs, posters, advertisements, album covers, and other ephemera—most of which has never been seen before—are also included, provided by Lou Adler, the festival’s nonprofit foundation, collectors, participants, and fans who attended the event.
Even more than Woodstock, the Monterey International Pop Festival was the epicenter of a youthquake whose aftershocks continue to reverberate throughout our 21st-century culture. A Perfect Haze evokes this magic event in all its kaleidoscopic glory.
Before Woodstock, thousands of hippies descended on Monterey for the first ever International Pop Festival. At the height of the 1967 summer of love, many were unaware of the part they were about to play in the forthcoming "cultural explosion." Decorated producer Lou Adler cheerfully recalls the conception of the groundbreaking event, which gathered artists who represented the festival's harmonious principles. The authors provide sumptuous documentation through telegrams, contracts, newspaper clippings, line-up posters, and other rare paraphernalia. The work of celebrated photographers captures the atmosphere of this terrific spectacle: the rawness of Janis Joplin; the audacity of (then relatively unknown) Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar alight; the showmanship of The Who; and the "cultivated relaxation" enjoyed by the crowd spacing out to The Grateful Dead and Ravi Shankar before being blown away by Otis Redding. The Kuberniks's combined knowledge and passion make for a thoroughly entertaining retrospective. As David Crosby says: "What happened at Monterey was the flowering of an entirely different set of values." Festival organizer Michelle Phillips closes proceedings with reflections on this genuine happening, and the dawn of a far out philosophy that keeps on giving.