Unpack your bell-bottoms and love beads. A Bay Area music promoter hopes to re-create a slice of the famed Monterey International Pop Festival, bringing back the current incarnations of some of the original players for a 40th anniversary bash.
Andrew Hernandez has booked the Monterey Fairgrounds, site of the groundbreaking concert in June 1967, and signed on bands including Jefferson Starship, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, David LaFlamme (doing the music of It's a Beautiful Day) and Moby Grape.
Hernandez plans a two-day festival, July 28-29, with two stages featuring old bands, new bands and tribute groups that replicate the music of some of the giants of the '60s.
The original festival was a landmark in rock history. The artists performed for free, with all revenue donated to charity. More than 200,000 fans from all over the country attended the event, which is generally regarded as the beginning of the so-called "Summer of Love."
The festival became legendary for the first major American appearance by The Who and by Jimi Hendrix, who was booked on the insistence of board member Paul McCartney. It also was the first major public performance for Janis Joplin, backed by Big Brother and The Holding Company, and Otis Redding, backed by Booker T. & The MGs. Redding died only a few months later, followed by Hendrix and Joplin in 1970.
Many of the original players are either dead, retired or performing different music with different people. But Hernandez is trying to line up as many of the survivors as he can. If he pulls it off, it will be by far his biggest show to date. He's worked in the business for years on a small scale, booking groups at clubs, publishing a music magazine about up-and-coming Bay Area bands and, most recently, running a tribute show with impersonators of The Doors, Hendrix, The Mamas and the Papas and other rock icons.
"This is huge for me," Hernandez said. "I'm excited and scared to death."
Hernandez said he decided to try to put on the Monterey show after he couldn't find anyone else organizing one. He had hoped to call it Monterey Pop Festival Part II, or something similar, but couldn't get the naming rights, he said. So he's calling it "Monterey Summer of Love Festival."
The groups Hernandez has booked so far are represented by Michael Gaiman, longtime manager of Jefferson Starship. All but Moby Grape were already lined up to do a 40th anniversary Summer of Love tour, Gaiman said. Monterey will be a special stop, he said.
"There are certain places in the annals of music and hippiedom that are hallowed ground," and Monterey is one of them, he said.
Among the players who are scheduled to return are Paul Kantner and Marty Balin, founders of the Jefferson Airplane; and vocalist/violinist LaFlamme, formerly of It's a Beautiful Day. The performance of Moby Grape would be a reunion after a yearslong breakup. The son of the drummer, the late Skip Spence, is scheduled to join the original members, Gaiman said. They're scheduled to do a warm-up performance in Petaluma a week before the Monterey festival, he said. Tom Constanten, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who played keyboards with the Grateful Dead, also is scheduled to perform.
The lineup, schedule and ticket prices are still developing. Gaiman said his bands are scheduled to play on July 28, and are holding July 29 open for possible second performances.
Hernandez said he hopes to book more of the original bands, but also is trying to sign newer players to appeal to younger audiences.
"We're going to finalize the basic lineup soon but are leaving spots open for some surprise guests and possible last-minute arrivals," he said.