Documentary/Concert Film/Art Film too ambitious for such a low budget film and inexperienced crew.
The Esalen Institute where this concert took place began as a comparative religion institute in 1962 and still exists today attracting musicians, artists, filmmakers, authors, philosophers and other notables conducting seminars and symposiums. In 1969 it hosted it's 6th annual music festival which is the subject of this film. In the 60's such performers as Simon & Garfunkel, Arlo Guthrie, Ravi Shankar, Judy Collins, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grace Slick, James Cotton and even a 19 year old Bruce Springsteen played at various festivals. None of the afore mentioned are in this film. Many luminaries visited the institute in the 60's including Ansel Adams, Aldous Huxley, The Grateful Dead, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Hunter Thompson. As the 60's drew to a close filmmakers Baird Bryant and Johanna Demetrakas decided to capture on film the 6th annual concert at Big Sur. Bryant had five cameras to film the event including himself, Bill Kaplan, Gary Weis, Peter Smokler and Joan Churchill. About 12,000 people attended the two day event so this is a vastly scaled back outdoor concert from Woodstock that had happened only one month before. Crosby, Stills, Nash along with Neil Young who had joined CSN in their debut as a foursome at Woodstock are the featured act still working on their play list. Joan Baez who in her late teens lived at the Esalen Institute is a performer here as well as her sister Mimi Farina. Joni Mitchell, John Sebastian and Dorothy Morrison of the Edwin Hawkins Singers are the other nationally known acts on the bill. Other performers include Texas folk singer Carol Ann Cisneros and the other acts rounding out the bill are The Struggle Mountain Resistance Band, The combs sisters and Julioe Payne. The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Incredible String Band also performed at the festival but are not in the film. in an unconventional stage setting for an outdoor 60's concert the performers play on the pool deck in front of a large swimming pool that separates them from the audience. This is a low budget film that tries hard to be a combination documentary, concert film and art film but mostly fails in all three. It is a good snapshot of 60's love and peace through music however. I would give this a 6.5 out of 10.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?