Summer of Love’s 40th Anniversary

Ah, the summer of 1967, the Summer of Love. Remember the incredible music: The Grateful Dead, the Doors, Janis Joplin, the Mamas and the Papas? Remember how everyone flocked to the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco, looking for love, peace, and understanding? Remember the crazy clothes, bare feet, and the hand painted flowers people wore like tattoos? Remember the Timothy Leary counterculture phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out?”

Yeah, me neither. Well, I remember it only from watching documentaries on television. But, it seemed like a cool time to be alive. Love was the buzzword of the day and everyone strived to respect and understand each other. Well, that is until the end of the Summer of Love in 1967, which pretty much killed the Hippie movement of the day. The love, peace, and understand people sought in Haight-Ashbury was replaced with overcrowding, crime, and drugs.

But, that still doesn’t mean that that unforgettable summer should not to be celebrated. In a time much removed from the Hippie era, many are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

There is the “Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era” exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York going on through September 16th. There are many lecture series around the country as well as a scavenger hunt of sorts (The Summer of Love Treasure Hunt) being held in San Francisco on September 30th at the Kezar Pavillion.

There is a 17-city tour going on which celebrates great singers and musicians who actually made it out of the 60s and 70s alive. Jefferson Starship (minus Grace Slick), Big Brother & the Holding Company (minus Janis Joplin, who overdosed in 1970) and a former keyboardist of the Grateful Dead will headline the tour. Over the Labor Day weekend, Country Joe McDonald and Ray Manzarek of the Doors will host a Summer of Love remembrance concert at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It will also feature Canned Heat, Michael McClure (Beat poet), New Riders of the Purple Sage, Nick Gravenites, David Laflamme (It’s a Beautiful Day), Alameda All Stars (Gregg Allman), Merl Saunders, The Charlatans, Essra Mohawk (Mothers of Invention), Barry Melton, Chief Sunny Ray, Fishbone, Iroquois Tribe, Dakota Tribe, Seminole Tribe, Emit Powell and the Gospel Elites.

Of course, technology has changed a bit since the late 60s. If you cannot make the Golden Gate Park concert, you can watch streaming video of it at the Apple website. You can learn more about it at

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Libby Pelham

About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).