Meyer Sound celebrates 50 years of Monterey with LEO Family

A LEO Family linear reinforcement system from Meyer Sound was recently used for the main PA at a commemorative edition of the Monterey International Pop Festival.

The original festival launched 1967’s "Summer of Love," an auspicious time when John Meyer met his future wife and business partner, Helen, while simultaneously realising his passion for sound.

"At that time it was all brand new, with this whole new style of music just coming out of the woodwork," Meyer recalled. "I realised that we would have to start building a whole new generation of equipment that could cope with this level of outdoor festival, systems that could be not just loud but also articulate. Monterey really opened things up. It was an important event, and I knew it was not going to fade away."

The main PA system at Monterey 2017, supplied by UltraSound, was anchored by main front arrays of 12 each LEOPARD line array loudspeakers with two per side MSL-4 loudspeakers as outfill. Bass was supplied by eight 1100-LFC and four 900-LFC low frequency control elements with six additional LEOPARD as front fill. The artist foldback system comprised 12 MJF-210 stage monitors, five 700-HP subwoofers, four MSL-4 for side fill, and one CQ-2 as drum fill top. The small Garden Stage, active only when the main stage was quiet, deployed a system with four CQ-1 loudspeakers, four 700-HP subwoofers and six UM-1 stage monitors.

One important goal for the production team was to revive the spirit of the 1967 event while still recognising the music of today’s younger artists. One solution was to keep a unified focus at a single stage. Headline acts for the 2017 festival included Jack Johnson, Leon Bridges, Norah Jones, Father John Misty, Gary Clark, Jr. and Regina Spektor. Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas – a group central to the original festival – made a guest appearance with The Head and the Heart. Three billed acts also featured 1967 veterans: Booker T. Jones with his Stax Revue (he backed Otis Redding), Eric Burdon and the (new) Animals, and the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh with his Terrapin Family Band.

(Pictured L-R: Ian DuBois – UltraSound, Dave Dennison – System Engineer, Helen Meyer, John Meyer, Dan Crowe – FOH)

This year’s event, officially titled Monterey International Pop Festival Celebrates 50 Years, was jointly produced by Another Planet Entertainment and Goldenvoice in association with the Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation, with Meyer Sound chosen as the official sound partner.

Helen Meyer did not attend the 1967 festival, but she shares in the excitement of the anniversary gathering. "It’s very special," she said. "It’s almost surreal. It feels great to have the system all Meyer Sound, and to know that what started with one small stage system inspired John to create this amazing array of equipment we have now, and to know all these new bands will be experiencing it."