A lot of self-proclaimed Rock Historians writers and commercials like to brag about and market how Monterey was the first International POP Festival, how it was an ideal of Peace, Love and Flowers embodying the themes of Sunshine California as a focal point for the counterculture and generally regarded as one of the beginnings of the "Summer of Love" in 1967, blah, blah, blah... two years before Woodstock, a model for all Pop Festivals to come, etc.
Well, that ain't exactly true. There were others before... only less star-system and showbizzy : not only was there The KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival was an event held in June 10 and 11th, 1967
( a whole week before; Monterey was staged from June 16 to June 18, 1967... ), BUT. Even before that, in France, Paris, was held "Le 1er Festival International de Pop Music" at the Palais Des Sports, June 1st/ 1967... How's about that?!
It's a Recorded FACT. As can be seen on this clip (... the guy who uploaded that full-length video of the Festival on YouTube is Wrong; it was staged in June '67, over two weeks before the Mother of all Rock fests, that Monterey! ) :
It featured the boot clad pre-Spooky Tooth VIP's, still playing their Mod R'n'B/ Soul thing... the King of Le French Beat, Ronnie Bird... The Pretty Things in a fantastic stage performance with their second wildman drummer Skip Alan... John "Maus" Walker out of the freshly split Walker Bros... Jimmy Cliff years before "Reggae Night", when he was still doing his Wilson Pickett from Jamaïca routine... the ever surly Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich in a strong performance as usual... the Troggs in one of their Best Live ever... Filmed for the French TV, it is not complete alas : the Cream appeared also but were left off camera because of contractual obligations (: there were to be NO images! ), and French Beat and Pop idols Herbert Leonard (late of Les Lionceaux, the first long-haired French band in the Beatles vein... going solo) and Alain Bashung (Pop chanteur beginner, who was to have HUGE success in the 1980's with "Gaby"... like a few other ex. sixties French Pop singers of his generation); they were probably edited out for budget reasons since they were considered minor artists.
Oh! And the Who were scheduled to appear, but had to bail out because Moon was hospitalized at the time (officially for a case of hernia...); can you imagine the Who... appearing at both "Le 1er Festival International de Pop Music" AND "Monterey Pop"?!!!
If you watch closely in the beginning, you can clearly spot model, actress and chanteuse, Swiningin' Mademoiselle Zouzou sittin' in the aisles on some group gear, an amp' or something... and of course, a host of other stars and models of the day sittin' in the audience waitin' for the show, dollies runnin' around; the crowd itself, you can't help but notice, is pretty hip, all long haired and freak-beaty, not in the showbiz type but right off the streets and some from the suburbs. They dance to the Soul numbers, fruggin' like they would at the Locomotive... Shortly after the shootin of this major local event, excerpts of several of the artists would be edited on to some of the early Bouton Rouge series; a Cult French Pop TV program.
Check official French newspaper info here :
And info about DD,D,B,M&T's appearance here on their official site :
"Thu 1/06/67 1er Festival International de Pop Music, Palais des Sports, Porte de Versailles, Paris 15ème, France With Herbert Leonard, Baschung, The V.I.P.'s, The Pretty Things, Ronnie Bird, Jimmy Cliff, The Cream, John Walker, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (Hold Tight / Hideaway / Frustration / Save Me / Watch Your Step) and The Troggs (The Who, top of the bill, had to cancel their performance because Keith Moon was in hospital for a hernia operation). There are two shows at 3:00 pm and 8:30 pm. "Le Président Rosko", although on the programme, is not the deejay heard presenting the artists on stage. The Cream set was not recorded, as they were not contracted to the Philips label. The planned album of the event was not released. Festival broadcast by Radio Luxembourg (French service), and taped for future transmission on French television (scheduled for December 1968, and finally screened on 11 January 1969). The VIP’s are a quartet without Keith Emerson, who has just left to form The Nice. The Pretty Things consist of Phil May, Dick Taylor, John Povey, Wally Allen & Skip Alan (the group that recorded the “Emotions” LP with Steve Rowland). John Walker, without his “Brothers”, played ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ and ‘Land Of Thousand Dances’. Headliners The Troggs closed the show with an 8 song set, including ‘Hip Hip Hooray’, which they would not release on single before October 1968. Watch Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich on YouTube: Hold Tight and Watch Your Step [...] It was making a happy beginning that Dave Dee, etc. were worried about when they sat in their Paris hotel waiting for a coach to take them to the Paris Pop Festival. “We just don't know what to do in France,” said Tich. “The first time we came over we didn't exactly set the place on fire. This is our fourth visit — and we still don't know what the people want.” Dave Dee entered the lobby wearing a Hoss Cartwright hat and a glum expression. “I've been upstairs freaking out with the bedroom wallpaper,” he said. “It's positively psychedelic.” “What about France?” I asked. “What's the French for ... ?” “Merde.” I said. “As far as we're concerned it's the worst audience in Europe. The whole French scene seems to be a pretty closed shop. Even the Beatles and the Beach Boys didn't go a bomb when they first played here.” Dave said that in most other European countries the group got a good response “Our records always sell better than the cover versions in other European countries but it seems to be the other way around here.” [...] “What else don't you like about France?” “The organisation,” said Tich. And road manager Jay Vickers said: “What organisation? There's supposed to be a bus coming to take us to the theatre — it's already half an hour late.” [...] The bus was now forty minutes late. [...] The bus wasn't coming at all. Somebody had phoned up to say there'd been a slight oversight and would everybody take a taxi? At the Palais des Sports, along with the Troggs, the V.I.P.s, the Cream, the Pretty Things, John Maus of the Walker Brothers and Jimmy Cliff, Dave Dee & Co. were due to cross swords once more with what they regard as the most baffling audience in Europe. Communication with French fans is difficult at the best of times, but it becomes a problem of major proportions when you can't get into the theatre. Somebody forgot to give the group the necessary passes and they had literally to fight their way into the theatre. Oh, and somebody forgot to provide them with a dressing room. Oh, and somebody forgot to set up the proper equipment. Oh, and somebody forgot to provide transport back to the hotel. Oh and somebody forgot to pay the hotel bill. Despite all the adversities, however, Dave Dee and Co went over pretty well with the audience. Dave Dee was certainly determined to make contact with the French fans, even if it meant taking a running leap off the stage into the front rows at the end of his act. Which he did.
(Printed in Zabadak n°9, April 1992)"
That show was partly audio-mastered on CD even, that you can still order on line (mostly at the French Juke Box magazine site that first put it out!), here :
... So, the next time some auto-proclaimed Rock expert or wise journo proclaimes that "Monterey Pop was The First Rock Festival.. blah, blah, blah", think again! ;)
(With Special Thanks to Christian Fach providing the additional detail info! )