Can you feel it in the air? Maybe on the soft breeze that brings in the scent of orange blossoms or the warmth of the California sun or the light that dances on green meadows of colorful flowers? It’s the 50th Anniversary of the “Summer of Love.” This social phenomenon occurred in 1967 when hippies, or “flower children,” converged on San Francisco’s Haight/Ashbury district. They ushered in a season of camaraderie through politics, art, music, painting, poetry, and spirituality that changed a generation forever. Whether they were against the Vietnam War or the pulled in by the Age of Aquarius, a visionary sign of brotherhood of man and individualism, the zeitgeist of the Summer of Love challenged authority and tradition with Love.
Festivals in the summer of 1967 brought together thousands of young people to celebrate life and love through music, protests and art. The highlight of the summer was the Monterey Pop Festival held on June 16-18, 1967. The festival is remembered for the first major American appearances by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who and Ravi Shankar, the first large-scale public performance of Janis Joplin and the introduction of Otis Redding.
Billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” the legendary Woodstock Festival occurred two summers later when nearly 500,000 people peacefully gathered to attend this epic music festival. Still today, you find elements of this creative and peaceful spirit that lives on in music festivals throughout California.
The “Summer of Love” cannot be recreated, but its love of music and community live on. The next few months offer opportunities to reminisce to classic rock, groove to new music or drop into a peaceful vibe. A few of the upcoming music festivals include:
The Classic West billed as an epic two-day concert on July 15-16 at Dodger Stadium, L.A. It features the iconic Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire. These classic rock bands created new sounds incorporating, country-rock, blues and funk and their music is still enjoyed today by multi-generation listeners.
On September 8-10, the Ohana Fest at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA creates a unique laid-back beach concert experience. The Ohana Fest promises rock-‘n’-chill two-day festival with craft beer, wine, and signature cocktails, as well as artisan food options from local restaurants and food trucks.
Then there is the infamous Burning Man held on August 27-September 4. It’s just across the California border into Nevada—so we had to include it too. The Burning Man is a community in the desert that was born of radical hippies who sought to connect over destroy. It is a temporary city and cultural movement based on 10 principles: radical inclusion, gifting, lack of commercial sponsorships, self-reliance, self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation and immediacy.
Bringing it back to San Francisco, is the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on October 6-8. A free gathering in Golden Gate Park, featuring more than 100 bands on seven stages. From its beginning in 2001, the festival has been subsidized by Warren Hellman who wanted to bring bluegrass back in a big way and provide a free concert for the people of San Francisco.
The Summer of Love was a turning point for our country, and its essence still lives on. Summer is not time for a bummer..to get you into the groovy 60’s mood check out Visit SF’s playlist here.