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May 26th, 2017

A Short History of the Summer of Love

Art & Culture

As you may have already known, this summer, the summer of 2017 is the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love - that iconic summer that turned the country on to the hippie movement and brought uncanny numbers of youth to San Francisco in search of peace, love and a lifestyle alternative to that of their parents. Here’s a little background info to get you started before you head out to the de Young Museum with your VIP tickets, courtesy of SCH:


The Summer of Love really got its start at the Human Be-In in January 1967. Held in Golden Gate Park, in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, this was one of the first big hippie events, with performances and speeches by big players in counterculture movement - i.e. Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, The Jefferson Airplane, and The Grateful Dead. This is where many of the 40,000  people in attendance tuned into the ideals that dictated the Summer of Love.


Flash forward to the approaching summer. Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco” is all over the radio. Although originally meant to promote the Monterey Pop Festival that was happening in June 1967, it quickly became the hippie anthem and the soundtrack to that legendary summer. And the nation’s youth took the song literally. Hundreds of thousands of teens and 20-somethings converged on SF, and the Haight-Ashbury district in particular. They came in search of peace and love, rebellion, experimentation, but most of all - freedom.


For a period of time, it was beautiful. The hippies congregated in Golden Gate Park and lived communally just like many of the intellectuals preached at the Human Be-In. In fact, Golden Gate Park would serve as the unofficial hangout spot during the Summer of Love. Here the hippies would sing, dance and just be. At night the bands of the San Francisco sound would perform with their signature psychedelic art shows in the background.


But then their came a time where there were just too many people for the city to hold. There were so many people that the community organized to set up free health clinics and shelters because the city didn’t have the resources. But unfortunately, homelessness, drug addiction, and crime became serious problems. Hippie ideals were exploited by clever marketers and the movement was overrun by freeloaders. By October 1967, the Summer of Love was over, and the hippie movement had moved elsewhere, leaving us to reminisce about the good times of that life-changing summer in San Francisco. 


Let’s remember the good times. Join SCH this summer to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love with our Summer of Love Package. We give you tickets to the Summer of Love Experience and a whole slew of goodies.


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