The Summer season of Love has been part of the favored lexicon for greater than half a century. It’s a shorthand for the period of excellent feeling that centered round peace, love and the hippie ethos—earlier than the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X—and it’s inextricably linked to the music and popular culture of mid- to late Sixties San Francisco.
However whereas the summer time 1967 didn’t formally arrive till June of that 12 months, the Summer season of Love had its unofficial begin 5 months earlier in Golden Gate Park.
On January 14, 1967, the burgeoning American counterculture made the transition from a loosely linked community of artists and political rabble-rousers to a fully-fledged mainstream motion with a high-profile coming-out get together, dubbed the Human Be-In.
Of their underground newspaper, the San Francisco Oracle, Allen Cohen and Bay Space artist Michael Bowen introduced “A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In.” Ostensibly a protest in opposition to the California state legislature’s current outlawing of LSD, the Human Be-In shortly blossomed into an occasion with far wider implications.
The occasion took the type of a summit of counterculture figures—some showing collectively on a stage for the primary time. Bay Space luminaries shared the highlight with nationwide figures: The Human Be-In featured high-profile appearances by LSD gurus Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and Timothy Leary; poets Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lenore Kandel and Michael McClure; activists Jerry Rubin and Dick Gregory and others.
And there was music. A consultant providing of San Francisco-based bands intently related to the rising psychedelic scene carried out: the Grateful Useless (with visitor Charles Lloyd), Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service all performed on the occasion. Owsley Stanley manufactured a big amount of White Lightning LSD for distribution on the free out of doors celebration, and safety (such because it was) can be dealt with by the native chapter of the Hell’s Angels.
Attendance estimates would range extensively, however most accounts agree that at the least 20,000 folks convened that afternoon in Golden Gate Park. The occasion went off largely and not using a hitch; apparently, there have been no arrests and regardless of the large crowds, on the conclusion of the festivities, the park was comparatively litter-free.
It was throughout his speech on the Be-In when Leary is alleged to have first uttered the phrase, “Activate, tune in, drop out.” The Human Be-In captured the eye of the media; nothing of its sort had taken place earlier than. The occasion signaled to mainstream America that the counterculture was a drive to be reckoned with. But whereas peaceable in its goals and character, the Be-In was seen as a menace by some in “straight” society; its success demonstrated that leftist radicals and free-loving hippies might discover widespread trigger and—if just for a time—work collectively towards shared objectives.
In some ways, the comparatively spontaneous Human Be-In was the spark that lit the fires of the Summer season of Love. 5 months later, a good bigger crowd convened only a brief drive from town on the three-day Monterey Worldwide Pop Pageant. That historic occasion was extra structured and arranged, nevertheless it probably couldn’t have been the success it turned out to be with out the precedent set by the Human Be-In.
Jay Blakesberg is a photographer based mostly in San Francisco. His photographs have appeared in Rolling Stone, Guitar Participant, Relix and different outstanding music publications. His e-book, “RetroBlakesberg – Quantity One: The Movie Archives” is out there on his web site, blakesberg.com.
Invoice Kopp is a music author based mostly in Asheville, North Carolina. His books embrace “Disturbing the Peace: 415 Information and the Rise of New Wave,” in regards to the influential San Francisco label 415 Information. His web site is weblog.musoscribe.com.