America’s First Rock Festival: Drugs, Hells Angels and The Doors

by Corey Irwin

Though it’s often overshadowed by larger events of the era, America’s first rock festival—the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival—was held June 10 and 11, 1967, at Mount Tamalpais in Northern California. The location was a natural choice. The Summer of Love was blooming in nearby San Francisco and the hippie counterculture was ready to join together in celebration.

Local radio station KFRC hosted the event, with profits from ticket sales (which cost $2 each) benefiting local charities.

Up until this point, outdoor music festivals had been more subdued affairs, focused on jazz or folk.

Maria Muldaur, who performed at the Fantasy Fair with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, told Rolling Stone that “the portent of things turning into rock festivals was when [Bob] Dylan first played electric at Newport [in 1965]. The ‘alternative lifestyle’—the hipsters, the jazz aficionados—were already drawn to Newport, but things were a little more buttoned-down and straight. There were still vestiges of the '50s.”


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