Dust off your fringed vest and tie-dye T-shirt.
It's been 50 years since 100,000 young people converged on San Francisco in the summer of 1967. The celebration of 1960's counterculture music, fashion, art and anti-establishment rebellion in hippy Haight-Ashbury neighborhood that year became the epicenter of the cultural phenomenon that became known as the Summer of Love.
The peace and love code of the 'beat generation' echoed the psychedelic rock ballads seizing the airwaves. The song 'San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)' became a hit that year, and local Haight bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin joined in the utopian experiment and gave it a celebrity face. They provided the soundtrack of the social revolution that spread in popularity across America and around the world and cemented San Francisco's Haight Ashbury in counterculture history.
For the beat generation, it was about more than just the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll. They were the fuel for the questioning of authority, and a search for awareness, social justice, equality, civil rights, sexual liberation, freedom, anti-materialism and environmentalism that still resonates for us today.
There are still hippies in the neighborhood, and their sons and daughters fly the flag of the generation that followed Timothy Leary's call to 'Turn on, Tune in, Drop out'.
The Summer of Love never left San Francisco, where the spirit of openness and innovation it called for lives on ironically – or inevitably? – next to the extraordinary wealth and full-throttle capitalism of nearby Silicon Valley.
Haight-Ashbury is in the process of receiving city landmark status recognizing its significance during the counterculture movement of the 1960’s as the epicenter for hippies and the anti-establishment lifestyle.
The neighborhood and the entire city are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the transformative Summer of Love with a year-long calendar: exhibitions, lively festivals, special events and music and dance performances looking back at the summer of 1967 and exploring what that period meant then and now. Plus a range of service and volunteerism events inspired by the original Summer of Love.
Check out San Francisco Travel's special website, www.summeroflove2017.com, for a guide to the whole groovy scene, plus tours that follow the footsteps of great musicians like Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
Some highlight exhibitions and events include: (Top Photo Credit)
Dec. 9, 2016-Fall 2017 Monterey Regional Airport: “Feeling Groovy,” Art at the Airport
April 8-Aug. 20, 2017 de Young Museum; Summer of Love: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll
April 26-Aug. 27, 2017 “Summer of Love: Jimi Hendrix” at the Museum of the African Diaspora
May 12-Sept. 10, 2017 California Historical Society; “On the Road to the Summer of Love”
June 24-Oct. 1, 2017 Asian Art Museum: Flower Power
July 2017-Sept 2017 San Francisco Public Library: 50th Anniversary of Love and Haight
Load up your hand-painted micro-bus (or book a flight) to re-live the Summer of Love this year, but don't forget, 'if you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair'. What a trip!
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