Book review of Monterey Pop Festival history ‘A Perfect Haze’

By Gillian G. Gaar

Harvey Kubernik and Kenneth Kubernik
“A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival
Santa Monica Press (ISBN: 978-1595800602)
*****

Anyone who wants a complete record of the events that took place June 16-18, 1967, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California will want to pick up this book.

A Perfect Haze Illustrated History of The Monterey International Pop FestivalActs ranging from Hugh Masekela to Ravi Shankar to Laura Nyro to Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix (to name just a few) took part in what was later billed as “The happiest event of the ’60s.”

“A Perfect Haze” has been compiled with both the seriousness of a historian and the devotion of a fan. It’s largely an oral history, with some linking text, covering the festival’s inception, the preparations and the festival itself, through the release of the film “Monterey Pop.” Assembling all the interview material from the dozens of interviewees (including not only those directly involved with the festival — the performers, production crew, and filmmakers — but also the lucky attendees) would be impressive enough. But the book also features plenty of photos, and a lot of terrific documentation: Magazine and newspaper clippings, contracts, telegrams, promotional materials (including the press release that had The Beach Boys listed to perform on June 17) and other ephemera. An especially nice touch are the complete set lists provided for every act.

This is a great scrapbook that really brings the flower power era of the ‘60s alive again — especially if you’re playing the soundtrack album as you flip through the pages.

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