Spotlight on Monterey

First City Festival is named after Monterey’s claim as the official “first capital” of California.  Monterey was home to the state’s first theatre, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. Today it is one of California’s most desirable vacation destinations with attractions including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival.

Monterey has been home to a diverse and renowned community of artists since the late 19th century. Many celebrated writers and painters have lived and drawn inspiration from the city, including John Steinbeck, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry Miller and Xavier Martinez.

The Monterey Fair and Event Center is a spot deeply rooted in musical history.  The Monterey Pop Festival, a three-day concert held in June of 1967 at the Fairgrounds, was the first widely promoted and heavily attended rock festival, attracting an estimated 55,000 total attendees. The festival is remembered for the first major American appearances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Ravi Shankar, as well as the first large-scale public performance by Janis Joplin.  The Monterey Pop Festival is generally regarded as one of the beginnings of the “Summer of Love,” and it became the template for future music festivals, notably the Woodstock Festival two years later.

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