The Summer time season of Love has been a part of the favored lexicon for better than half a century. It is a shorthand for the interval of fantastic feeling that centered spherical peace, love and the hippie ethos—sooner than the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X—and it is inextricably linked to the music and common tradition of mid- to late Sixties San Francisco.
Nonetheless whereas the summer season 1967 didn’t formally arrive until June of that 12 months, the Summer time season of Love had its unofficial start 5 months earlier in Golden Gate Park.
On January 14, 1967, the burgeoning American counterculture made the transition from a loosely linked neighborhood of artists and political rabble-rousers to a fully-fledged mainstream movement with a high-profile coming-out get collectively, dubbed the Human Be-In.
Of their underground newspaper, the San Francisco Oracle, Allen Cohen and Bay House artist Michael Bowen launched “A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In.” Ostensibly a protest in opposition to the California state legislature’s present outlawing of LSD, the Human Be-In shortly blossomed into an event with far wider implications.
The event took the kind of a summit of counterculture figures—some displaying collectively on a stage for the first time. Bay House luminaries shared the spotlight 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 guide offering of San Francisco-based bands intently associated to the rising psychedelic scene carried out: the Grateful Ineffective (with customer Charles Lloyd), Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service all carried out on the event. Owsley Stanley manufactured an enormous quantity of White Lightning LSD for distribution on the free outdoor celebration, and security (such as a result of it was) may be handled by the native chapter of the Hell’s Angels.
Attendance estimates would vary extensively, nonetheless most accounts agree that as a minimum 20,000 people convened that afternoon in Golden Gate Park. The event went off largely and never utilizing a hitch; apparently, there have been no arrests and whatever the massive crowds, on the conclusion of the festivities, the park was comparatively litter-free.
It was all through 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 attention of the media; nothing of its type had taken place sooner than. The event signaled to mainstream America that the counterculture was a drive to be reckoned with. However whereas peaceful in its objectives 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 would possibly uncover widespread set off and—if only for a time—work collectively in the direction of shared aims.
In some methods, the comparatively spontaneous Human Be-In was the spark that lit the fires of the Summer time season of Love. 5 months later, a great greater crowd convened solely a short drive from city on the three-day Monterey Worldwide Pop Pageant. That historic event was additional structured and organized, however it in all probability could not have been the success it turned out to be with out the precedent set by the Human Be-In.
Jay Blakesberg is a photographer primarily based in San Francisco. His pictures have appeared in Rolling Stone, Guitar Participant, Relix and completely different excellent music publications. His e-book, “RetroBlakesberg – Amount One: The Film Archives” is on the market on his site, blakesberg.com.
Bill Kopp is a music creator primarily based in Asheville, North Carolina. His books embrace “Disturbing the Peace: 415 Info and the Rise of New Wave,” regarding the influential San Francisco label 415 Info. His site is weblog.musoscribe.com.