Monterey Pop was the first great gathering of the new popular music, the premiere festival of rock’n’roll and the promiscuous sire of ten thousand such events since. It wasn’t the biggest, but was it the best? Some say it was. Harvey Kubernik, long-time commentator on the long and winding road of subterraneana, turns his astute gaze on the Monterey bash in his latest volume – a worthy successor to follow Canyon of Dreams, his tome on Laurel Canyon, another Californian locale with a potent musical history, back in 2009. A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival, written in league with brother Kenneth Kubernik, tells a vivid tale in text, interviews and pictures and is published next month.
Riddled with dozens of authoritative eye-witness reports and overflowing with mouth-watering and evocative images, A Perfect Haze – a neat nod to both the tune by Hendrix, famously present here with a flaming Fender, and the mellifluous smog that must have rested over the gathered throng over those few days – is a fine reminder that, while the internet’s kinda good, when it comes to really framing the ins-and-outs of a historic, subcultural moment, the large format, hardcover book still takes a bit of licking. If you weren’t at Monterey, dig the scenes and dream the sounds of the Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel, the Buffalo Springfield, the Who, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding in a beautifully framed, 250-page survey that brings the psychedelic kaleidoscope to you direct – and in day-glo colour.
A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival is published by Santa Monica Press, Solana Beach CA