KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival

The Doors Playing On Stage

The Doors, Jim Morrison, Music Festival 1967

Jim Morrison Up Close

The Doors, Jim Morrison, Music Festival 1967

On June 10 and 11th, 1967, the KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival was held at the 4,000 seat Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheater high on the South face of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, CA. Over 15,000 people attended. This was the first of several cultural events that came to be known collectively as The Summer of Love.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

Admission to the festival was $2.00 and all proceeds were donated to the nearby Hunters Point Child Care Center in San Francisco. Note: The Fantasy Fair was originally scheduled for June 3 and 4 as a benefit for the Hunters Point Child Care Center, but was delayed by inclement weather. Several acts booked for the original dates were unable to perform.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

KFRC 610, the RKO Bill Drake “Boss Radio” Top 40 AM station in San Francisco, had enough clout to book a wide array of counter-culture and commercial bands. This enabled the festival to present a colorful and eclectic line-up of popular acts most of which were simultaneously receiving air-time on open-ended AM and FM stations in major American cities.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

Canned Heat, Every Mother’s Son, The Merry-Go-Round, The Mojo Men, The 5th Dimension, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Seeds, The Blues Magoos, Country Joe and The Fish, The Byrds with Hugh Masakela on trumpet, Wilson Pickett, Moby Grape, Tim Hardin, Sparrow, The Grass Roots and The Loading Zone were a few acts that played alongside more established bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and Captain Beefheart. It is possible that this was the Doors’ first large show, and in any case, this show happened coincidentally with the rise of “Light My Fire”, the group’s first major hit, to the top of the charts.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

The poster for the event was designed by artist Stanley Mouse then gaining acclaim for poster-art created for Bill Graham (promoter), The Fillmore West Theater and The Grateful Dead. There were other event posters as well.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

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 tongue-in-cheek-named “Trans-Love Bus Lines.” 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.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival
In a foreshadowing of dark events to come at the 1969 Alt
amont Free Concert, this festival was rumored to be the first to employ Hells Angels members as security guards. Actually, Jefferson Airplane asked the Hell’s Angels to escort them from San Francisco to the venue, which they did without incident. The Hell’s Angels did not provide security for the event.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival

Alec Palao wrote of the fair in Cream Puff War #1: “The dichotomy in Bay Area music was never so evident, as the self-proclaimed “adult” scene separated itself from the “teen/pop” scenes.” Paradoxically, Greg Shaw recalls that there was not really a large gap splitting the radio preferences of the teens and the hip until Tom Donohue’s free-form KMPX fully flowered in the fall of ’67. “Being a KFRC event, it probably attracted some younger fans who wouldn’t have minded [Every Mother's Son], with the older hippies coming for their own reasons, if only a groovy day out in the sun.” 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 scene at the time. It wasn’t a teenie-bopper event.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival

The Magic Mountain Music Festival was remarkably mellow. There were no fights or disturbances, and at the end of the day, all trash was placed in or next to the garbage cans provided, and the crowd left the Mount Tamalpias as they found it.

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival

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 and was, by all accounts, the first Rock and Roll Festival in history, although not the first Electronic Music Festival

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival 1967

Saturday, June 10

* The 5th Dimension
* Dionne Warwick
* Canned Heat
* Jim Kweskin Jug Band
* Moby Grape
* 13th Floor Elevators
* Spanky and Our Gang
* Roger Collins
* Blackburn & Snow
* The Sparrow
* Every Mother’s Son
* Kaleidoscope (US band)
* The Chocolate Watchband
* The Mojo Men
* The Merry-Go-Round
* The Doors

Sunday, June 11

* Jefferson Airplane
* The Byrds
* P.F. Sloan
* The Seeds
* The Grass Roots
* The Loading Zone
* Tim Buckley
* Every Mother’s Son
* Hugh Masekela
* Steve Miller Blues Band
* Country Joe & the Fish
* Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
* Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
* The Sons of Champlin
* The Lamp of Childhood
* The Mystery Trend
* Penny Nichols
* The Merry-Go-Round
* New Salvation Army Band

KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival

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6 Responses to KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival
  1. I was there on Saturday for the Doors, Kaliedoscope, Moby Grape and the 5th Dimension. I hadn’t yet turned 16 and it was an amazing scene for me, a kid from Lafayette. Hell, that could be my short haired head in the foreground of the Doors shot.
    It was the first time I had ever seen so much pot smoked so openly and it got me ready for a major change in my life. It was a remarkably mellow scene and the crowd was so well behaved. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the setting couldn’t have been more perfect! I may have forgotten a lot of things since then, but I will NEVER forget that day!

    • admin

      WOW that is so awesome that you were there. That really must have been a trip :) What a great line up of bands!

  2. Barbara

    These photographs are fantastic!

    • admin

      I’m glad that you enjoy them! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Bud broom head

    i was there too, I was on the first bus up the mountain from tamalpias high school bus top. Saturday. That could have been my short haired head right down in front on the grassy slope in front of the stage. Finding this info and wphotos have been really a trip. I went with a neighborhood friend from Ross, he was my brothers age 17, two years older than me. He went on to play drumsafew years later foe The Sons of Chaamplain.

    What sites have youfoundwith photos?

  4. Kika Kane

    What a great memory! I was just graduating from San Rafael High the week after the festival. A friend asked if I’d like to be one of the flower girls at the Magic Mountain Festival. There were lots of us & all wore the same “costume” ~ a pink smock over white turtleneck sweaters & tights. We wore plastic wreathes of pink flowers with ribbons hanging down the back & carried baskets which were filled with plumeria flown in from Hawai’i. We greeted people at the gates & wandered the festival for both days. I realized the bands crossed a small bridge to get to the stage & perched mysself there for hours…met alot of groovy musicians. (The yellow flowers I gave to Maria Muldar are featured in her hair on the cover of Kweskin’s “Garden of Joy” album cover!) It’s amazing how much I DON”T remember, so it’s been fun reading other peoples’ input, but I will never forget talking to a really good looking guy for awhile & then realizing it was Jim Morrison when they got onstage!

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