At Left, a scene from the KFRC Fantasy Fair in 1967, Spencer Dryden, Marty Balin and Paul Kantner from Jefferson Airplane. Photo by Bryan Costales. At right, the current lineup of Jefferson Starship. Courtesy image.

The Mountain Play’s ongoing, Jay Manley-directed production of Beauty and the Beast enters its fourth week this Sunday, but the nonprofit arts organization has a doozy of a music-centric trip down memory lane planned for the day before.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the Mountain Play is paying tribute to the landmark Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival, the event that is widely regarded as the first outdoor American rock festival. The pioneering event at the Mountain Play’s home Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre took place on June 10-11, 1967, pre-dating the Monterey International Pop Festival and Woodstock. The festival featured performances from Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, The Byrds, Hugh Masekela, Canned Heat, Dionne Warwick, Country Joe and the Fish and many more.

In marking the anniversary, the Mountain Play is putting on its own Magic Mountain Play Music Festival, featuring a cadre of live bands, including a set by the latest iteration of Jefferson Starship, which includes original members David Freiberg (also a founder of San Francisco luminaries Quicksilver Messenger Service) and drummer Donny Baldwin, along with longtime members Chris Smith on keyboards and synth bass, Jude Gold on lead guitar and singer Cathy Richardson anchoring the female lead vocal spot made famous Grace Slick. 

The Matt Kizer Band and Shelley Doty X-tet are also set to perform, with the main event being a concert version of the rock musical Hair, which tells tells the story of the “tribe”, a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against the Vietnam War.

Inspired by the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival and the “Human Be-In” held in early 1967, James Rado and Gerome Ragni brought this experience to the stage and theatre-going public with HAIR The American Tribal Rock Musical.  HAIR’s world premiere took place in October of 1967 as the inaugural performance of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, celebrating 1960s counterculture in all its barefoot, long-haired, bell-bottomed, beaded and fringed glory.

The 411: The Mountain Play’s production of Beauty and the Beast runs on Sundays from May 21-June 18. MORE INFO & TIX. The Magic Mountain Play Music Festival is on Saturday, June 10. Show 11am-5pm. Tix $20-$40. MORE INFO & TIX

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