Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival
Festival ad with scheduled performers
|Location(s)||Cushing Memorial Amphitheater in
Marin County, California
|Founded by||KFRC 610 / Tom Rounds|
|Date(s)||June 10–11, 1967|
|Genre||Pop music, Rock music|
The KFRC Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival was an event held June 10 and 11th, 1967 at the 4,000 seat Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre high on the south face of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. At least 36,000 people attended the two-day concert and fair that was the first of a series of San Francisco area cultural events known as the Summer of Love. The Fantasy Fair was influenced by the popular Renaissance Pleasure Faire and became a prototype for large scale multi-act outdoor rock music events now known as rock festivals.
Admission to the festival was $2.00 and all proceeds were donated to the nearby Hunters Point Child Care Center in San Francisco. The Fantasy Fair was originally scheduled for June 3 and 4 as a benefit for the center, but was delayed one week by inclement weather. Several acts booked for the original dates were unable to perform.
KFRC 610, the RKO Bill Drake "Boss Radio" Top 40 AM station in San Francisco, had significant influence in the music industry among both counter-culture and commercial acts. This enabled festival organizer Tom Rounds, KFRC's program director, to present a colorful and eclectic line-up of popular musicians from both in and outside the region. Canned Heat, Every Mother's Son, The Merry-Go-Round, The Mojo Men, The Seeds, Blues Magoos, Country Joe and the Fish, Captain Beefheart, The Byrds with Hugh Masekela on trumpet, Tim Hardin, The Sparrow, The Grass Roots, The Loading Zone, The 5th Dimension and Jefferson Airplane were among the performers who appeared. The Fantasy Fair was also The Doors' first large show and happened during the rise of the group's first major hit, "Light My Fire", to the top of the charts.
After enjoying a scenic ride up the mountain from embarkation points at the Marin County Civic Center, Mill Valley and other locations, a giant Buddha balloon greeted attendees when they arrived at the amphitheater. Transportation was provided by the tongue-in-cheek-named "Trans-Love Bus Lines", a variation of the line "Fly Trans Love Airways, get you there on time" from the lyrics to Donovan's song "Fat Angel". Performances were on a main stage and a smaller second stage. Various art-fair type vendors sold posters, crafts and refreshments from booths scattered in the woods around the amphitheater. The festival included a large geodesic dome of pipes and fittings covered with white plastic that contained a light and sound show.
The Magic Mountain Music Festival was favorably reviewed for safety in contemporary press accounts. Fights or disturbances were not an issue, and at the end of the day, trash was placed in or next to the garbage cans provided, and the crowd left the Mount Tamalpais as they found it. In a foreshadowing of dark events to come at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert, this festival was rumored to be the first to employ Hells Angels motorcycle club members as security guards. Although Jefferson Airplane asked Hells Angels members to escort them from San Francisco to the venue, which they did without incident, the Hells Angels did not actually provide security for the event.
To some commentators, the festival represented a sea change in musical preferences among young Bay Area radio listeners as the hippie culture fully arose in mid-1967. Alec Palao and Jud Cost chronicled the San Francisco mid-sixties era music scene in 1991 in their magazine Cream Puff War #1. Writing about the weeks surrounding the Fantasy Fair, Cost noted that "the dichotomy in Bay Area music was never so evident, as the self-proclaimed "adult" scene separated itself from the "teen/pop" scenes." Scram Magazine juxtaposed that view with pioneer rock magazine editor Greg Shaw's recollection that the rift between the tastes of teens and adults didn't form until later, after the freeform radio style then being established by Tom Donahue fully emerged in the fall of 1967. A review of the bands that played indicates that most were groups that played the Fillmore and Avalon ballrooms and were part of the psychedelic rock scene at the time.
While the highly documented Monterey International Pop Festival continues to be remembered as the seminal event of the 1967 Summer of Love, the KFRC Festival took place one week before Monterey and is considered by many to have been the first rock festival in history.
Saturday, June 10
- Mount Rushmore
- Rodger Collins
- Dionne Warwick
- The Doors
- The Lamp of Childhood
- Canned Heat
- Jim Kweskin Jug Band
- Spanky and Our Gang
- Blackburn & Snow
- The Sparrow
- Every Mother's Son
- The Chocolate Watch Band
- The Mojo Men
- The Merry-Go-Round
Sunday, June 11
- Sons of Champlin
- Jefferson Airplane
- The Byrds with Hugh Masekela
- P. F. Sloan
- Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
- The Seeds
- The Grass Roots
- The Loading Zone
- Tim Buckley
- Every Mother's Son
- Steve Miller Blues Band
- Country Joe and the Fish
- The 5th Dimension
- The Lamp of Childhood
- The Mystery Trend
- Penny Nichols
- The Merry-Go-Round
- New Salvation Army Band
Kearney, John F. (June 10, 1967). "Mount Tam—It's Another World". Marin Independent Journal. pp. 1, 3.
"Hippies Get Bouquet for Good Behavior". Marin Independent Journal. June 12, 1967. pp. 1, 6.
Shearer, Alan (June 14, 1967). "Joyous Happening". Mill Valley Record.
"Old Tam Rocks and Rolls". San Francisco Chronicle. June 11, 1967.
Zane, Maitland (June 12, 1967). "Bash on Mt. Tam". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Shannon, Bob (2009). Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946–1996. austrianmonk publishing. p. 310. ISBN 1-61584-545-3. OCLC 496123438. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- Hopkins, Jerry (1970). Festival! The Book of American Music Celebrations. New York: Macmillan Company. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-02-061950-5. OCLC 84588.
- McKay, George (2000). Glastonbury: A Very English Fair. London: Victor Gollancz. ISBN 978-0-575-06807-0. OCLC 47777589.
- Lomas, Mark. "Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival". Marin History. Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved 12 February 2011. Note: some reports and omissions from lists confirm that Moby Grape, Wilson Pickett, 13th Floor Elevators and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, although appearing on the printed program, did not play the rescheduled event.
- Burrowes, Monica Dione (2010). Get together: the history of rock and roll in Marin County and the Marin History Museum's "Marin rocks" exhibition. Sacramento: California State University, Sacramento. p. 27. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- Nicholson, John (May 2009). "A History of Rock Festivals". Rock Solid Music Magazine. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- Cost, Jud and Palao, Eric (January 1991). "Vejtables and the Mojo Men". Cream Puff War (Santa Clara, California) (1): 17.
- Liebler, Ted. "The Last Boss Summer: the KFRC Fantasy Fair". Scram #16. Scram Magazine. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- Mankin, Bill. We Can All Join In: How Rock Festivals Helped Change America. Like the Dew. 2012.
- Santelli, Robert. Aquarius Rising - The Rock Festival Years. 1980. Dell Publishing Co., Inc. Pg. 16.
- Chronology of San Francisco Rock 1965-1969
- Photographs of the KFRC Fantasy Fair
- Photos of the event including The Doors performing
- Photo slide show of brief Captain Beefheart performance and venue scenes