Memories of Monterey

Fifty years ago, at the beginning of the Summer of Love, thousands flocked to the Monterey County Fairgrounds for what would become one of the most iconic gatherings of the 1960s. Featuring acts as wide-ranging as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and Ravi Shankar—many of them little-known at the time—the Monterey International Pop Festival was a remarkable expression of a flourishing counterculture and a watershed moment for rock and roll. The event also lives on in film history, thanks to Direct Cinema pioneer D. A. Pennebaker’s Monterey Pop, an extraordinary document that bears witness to many of the weekend’s earthshaking performances.

This year, in celebration of the festival’s golden anniversary, a new three-day concert was held in Monterey and a 4K restoration of the film debuted. As audiences were able to consider Monterey’s legacy anew, Pennebaker—now ninety-plus years old—also took the opportunity to reflect back on his experiences in June 1967. In the clip above, drawn from a supplement on our new Complete Monterey Pop Festival box set (and also included on our new stand-alone edition of Monterey Pop), the filmmaker attends an outdoor screening of the restoration in Bologna, Italy, and visits a retrospective exhibit of photographs in Monterey, all the while testifying to his good fortune, and sharing his impressions of such legends as Joplin and Hendrix.

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