San Francisco’s Summer of Love 2017
It was fifty years ago when free love, peace and acid ruled the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
In that year artists, activists, writers, and musicians were all gathering with hopes of creating a new social paradigm. With as many as 100,000 young people from all over the nation, they used nearby Golden Gate Park as their playground.
When you leave Haight Street and cross into the park, the first big grassy field you find is what they call Hippy Hill now, and every April 20th there is a massive free smokeout for hippies and cannabis lovers. This year’s was bigger and happier than most, as California recently legalized cannabis for personal use by adults.
A decade ago there was a huge festival in Golden Gate Park to celebrate the Summer of Love, Paul Kantner and the Jefferson Airplane showed up and a grand party was had by all, with doves being released at 4:20 pm, It’s A Beautiful Day performed “White Bird”, and the music was fab. This year the city denied a permit to allow another celebration there.
So what else can one do to honor that time in celebration?
In San Francisco there will be an untold number of art gallery showings of photographs and other memorabilia from that time, some excellent outdoor music festivals and concerts here and there.
Running from April 8, 2017 – August 20, 2017 at the de Young Museum is The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll. Offering a collection of iconic rock posters, photographs, interactive music and light shows, costumes and textiles, ephemera, and avant-garde films this is something really groovy to behold. https://deyoung.famsf.org/summer-love-art-fashion-and-rock-roll
Haight Ashbury Street Fair (June 11, 2017) Since 1978, arts and crafts, food booths, three musical stages, a Family Area (Children’s Alley) and more. https://haightashburystreetfair.org/
There will be a Monterey Pop Festival celebrating 50 years since 1967 with a Three Day Music Festival Featuring Jack Johnson, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Leon Bridges, Norah Jones, The Head and the Heart, Father John Misty, Regina and others. June 16 – 18, 2017 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds – Monterey, CA https://montereypopfestival50.com/
San Francisco Pride (June 24 and 25, 2017) over 200 parade contingents and exhibitors, and more than 20 community-run stages and venues, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest gathering of the LGBT community and its allies in the nation. Celebrations begin on Saturday, June 24 in Civic Center Plaza. The parade, Sunday, June 25, runs from Beale Street along Market and ends at Market and 8th Streets. https://www.sfpride.org/schedule/
Kool and the Gang, Eric Burdon and the Animals, and WAR, will be performing at the Stern Grove Festival (June 25 through August 27, 2017). https://www.sterngrove.org/
The Marin County Fair (June 30 through July 4) will be once again the greenest fair on earth, this year’s theme, “Let the Funshine In” is a tribute to the Summer of Love. https://www.marinfair.org/2017
The Fillmore Jazz Festival (July 1 and 2, 2017) “is the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast, drawing over 100,000 visitors over the Independence Day weekend. From sunup to sundown, visitors can groove to the sounds of live music from multiple stages, browse the offerings of over 12 blocks of fine art and crafts and enjoy gourmet food and beverages.” https://www.fillmorejazzfestival.com/index.php
Jerry Day (August 6, 2017) is perhaps the most pertinent of the celebrations in San Francisco this year, celebrating Jerry Garcia, at The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. https://www.jerryday.org/
The Outside Lands Music Festival (August 11 through 13, 2017) is a free outdoor scene in Golden Gate Park with music, food, wine, beer, art and comedy. https://www.sfoutsidelands.com/
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (October 6 through 8, 2017) is another free festival winding up the summer season, with seven stages of musicians playing just about everything. https://www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com/2016/schedule/
My hope is that San Francisco (and the Bay Area) always remains a safe haven of peace and love, where artists and thinkers can gather freely and creatively, especially through this summer.