The Mar y Sol Pop Festival (also referred to as Mar y Sol Festival or simply Mar y Sol - "Sea and Sun") was a rock festivalthat took place in Manatí, Puerto Rico, about thirty miles west of San Juan, on April 1–4, 1972. It was held on 420 acres (1.7 km) of countryside adjacent to Los Tubos beach in Manatí on the north shore of the island. An estimated 30-35,000 people attended the festival.
Almost every review by newspapers and magazines condemned the festival as being unsuccessful and uncomfortable. These included Creem, The New York Times as well as local newspapers El Nuevo Día, El Imparcial, El Mundo and The San Juan Star. One exception was New York Times reporter Les Ledbetter who printed a column on April 9 titled "It was a success – ask the people".
Several accidental deaths at the beach and a murder were also damaging to the festival's reputation.
An arrest warrant was issued for promoter Alex Cooley, who avoided arrest by leaving the island before the festival was over.
The planning of the festival started in early 1971. The original name was Fiesta Del Sol (Party of the Sun). There were five promoters, three of them were from the US (Samuel T. Harmon, Robert "Bob" J. Salstrom, and multimillionaire Glenn W. Turner) and the other two were local (basketball player Ray Rivera and Tito Molinary).
The date for the festival was repeatedly postponed due to production problems.
Eventually some of the promoters were able to persuade Alex Cooley (Atlanta International Pop Festival, Texas International Pop Festival and 2nd Atlanta International Pop Festival) to take over production of the festival. The dates were then finalized for April 1–3, 1972, coinciding with Holy Week. This sparked a high volume of criticism by both the government and the press of Puerto Rico.
The designated area for Mar y Sol was mainly in the countryside and extended to the Los Tubos beach. This area is located between the beach and the Tortuguero Lagoon and is divided by a public road (which was closed during the festival). On the side facing the beach they had the main showering area, camping areas, the infirmary and the festival's office. On the side facing the lagoon they had the stage and merchants area.
- Allman Brothers Band (1st)
- Long John Baldry (3rd)
- Banda del K-rajo (local rock band) (1st)
- Bang (2nd)
- Brownsville Station (3rd)
- Dave Brubeck w/ Gerry Mulligan (2nd)
- Cactus (3rd)
- Alice Cooper (2nd)
- Jonathan Edwards (1st)
- Elephant's Memory (2nd)
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer (2nd)
- Faces w/ Rod Stewart (3rd)
- Fran Ferrer y Puerto Rico 2010 (3rd)
- J. Geils Band (3rd)
- Goose Greek Symphony (1st)
- Joseph Lee Hooker (2nd & 3rd)
- Billy Joel (2nd)
- Dr. John the Night Tripper (2nd)
- B.B. King (1st)
- Mahavishnu Orchestra w/ John McLaughlin (3rd)
- Herbie Mann (2nd)
- Nitzinger (3rd)
- Osibisa (4th - last band to play)
- Michael Overly (1st)
- David Peel and the Lower East Side (3rd)
- Potliquor (3rd)
- Rubber Band (first band to play - local jazz band)
- Stonehenge (2nd & 3rd)
John Lennon wanted to attend the festival along with his wife Yoko Ono but ended up not flying down to the island due to problems he was having with the government at the time regarding their attempts to deport him. Instead he sent a recorded message with his friend David Peel who was set to perform at the festival. During his performance (April 2) and after a short introduction, David Peel played the tape to the audience which was mainly greetings from John and Yoko.
Some artists cancelled due to the legal problems the festival promoters were having with the government of Puerto Rico. Some were cancelled by the producer due to schedule conflicts.
- Black Sabbath - They were ready and waiting at the Cerromar hotel in Dorado the last day of the festival. However, at the moment there were no more helicopters available and it was decided that they would never make it by street due to the bad traffic caused by the festival.
- Bloodrock - They were at the festival but got cancelled by the producer.
- Flash Cadillac
- Fleetwood Mac
- Malo (band)
Other listed artists
It is unclear if the following artists performed or not. They were part of the performer's list and some were even mentioned at the beginning of the festival but there is no further information on whether they were cancelled or if they played.
- Ashton, Gardner and Dyke
- Savoy Brown
- Roberta Flack
- Goose Creek Symphony
- Al Kooper
- Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina
- Billy Preston
- Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels