You may have heard about the Summer of Love, but what was it? Why did it happen? Who was involved?
We have the answers:
Did you know that the Summer of Love actually started in the heart of winter? The movement began in January of 1967. Over 35,000 young people came out to see Harvard psychologist, Timothy Leary, speak about LSD, but their stay didn’t end there. Hippies from all over the world heard of the event, which inspired them to leave their normal lives as students and corporate professionals to become a part of communal, minimalist life in San Francisco’s own town of Haight-Ashbury, right outside of Golden Gate Park.
The Summer of Love was the first time the hippies had owned their name as counterculture icons with a different ethos and way of looking at the world. Hundreds of thousands of people, consisting of mainly teenagers and young adults, gathered and lived in communal housing throughout the year to fight for world peace, protesting the global effects of the Vietnam War. They all had a utopian ideology of anti-war, anti-materialistic, and anti-corporate living and supported civil rights and equal opportunities for all beings. The hippies did not understand why there was a need for fighting, so they sought for a world filled with peace, love and happiness.
The Summer of Love, of course, was not all hard work and protest. It was a year of concerts, campfires, friends, psychedelic festivities and most importantly, love. There were visits by some well-known and soon to be monumental musicians, including George Harrison, David Crosby, Janis Joplin, and Joan Baez. There were some exciting locals as well, which unforgettably consisted of members of the Grateful Dead - Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan. They were well known, not only for their music, but for their openly hosted parties and performances at their purple victorian estate. Other local bands that emerged during the Summer of Love were, Santana, Country Joe, Sly and the Family Stone and the Fish, and the Steve Miller Band.
The Hippies Live On!
The effects of the Summer of Love live on in the minds and hearts of flower children all over the world. This hippie rebellion was the beginning of what we know now as modern day environmentalist and feminist movements. It was from that summer that people became comfortable wearing whatever made them happy. There was no longer a desire for the hustle and bustle of a 9-5 job and its stuffy corporate attire. Jazz saxophonist, Branford Marsalis, explains the movement’s effect on music, “That was the first time in our country where music became more than the music. Before that, people didn’t have that kind of relation with music. It became larger than life.” That it did, the Summer of Love was the beginning of counterculture everywhere, showing how coming together to spread the message of peace and love can change the world forever.