MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA — The marking of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Monterey Pop Festival kicked off Friday at high noon with a solo acoustic set from singer-songwriter Sara Watkins before a smattering of a few hundred people.
The Monterey County Fairgrounds crowd and the sounds built throughout sunny day, which was filled with terrific performances, plenty of homage to 1967, messages of love and a few carefully crafted political views. Langhorne Slim got everyone’s music mojo going, Charles Bradley belted out soul, Nathaniel Rateliff bumped up the tempo, Eric Burdon ran through hit after hit, Regina Spektor gave everyone a beautifully crafted hour before dinnertime before Father John Misty and Leon Bridges took things into the night.
Eleven hours after it had begun, Bridges waved goodbye with Father John Misty, Nathaniel Ratliff, and Danny Clinch coming out from behind his camera to play harmonica, joining the band in some unbridled dancing around the stage not caring if they looked cool or goofy. In the spirit of this festival, and as a message to all in attendance, they were just letting it all hang out.