A Lovely 50th Birthday To The Summer Of Love

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This season marks the 50th anniversary of that legendary “Summer of Love,” when throngs of American youth descended on San Francisco to join a cultural revolution.

Thinking back on 1967, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead recalls a creative explosion that sprouted from fissures in American society. That summer marked a pivot point in rock-and-roll history, he says, but it was about much more than the music.


a festival of love in 1967 via Solo Toe

“There was a spirit in the air,” said Weir, who dropped out of high school and then helped form the Grateful Dead in 1965. “We figured that if enough of us got together and put our hearts and minds to it, we could make anything happen.”

San Francisco, now a hub of technology and unrecognizable from its grittier, more freewheeling former self, is taking the anniversary seriously. Hoping for another invasion of visitors — this time with tourist dollars — the city is celebrating with museum exhibits, music and film festivals, Summer of Love-inspired dance parties and lecture panels. Hotels are offering discount packages that include “psychedelic cocktails,” “Love Bus” tours, tie-dyed tote bags and bubble wands.

The city’s travel bureau, which is coordinating the effort, calls it an “exhilarating celebration of the most iconic cultural event in San Francisco history.”


Bob Weir in 1967 via Pinterest

In the mid-1960s, rent in Haight-Ashbury was extremely cheap, says Weir, now 69.

“That attracted artists and bohemians in general because the bohemian community tended to move in where they could afford it,” he said.

During those years, the Grateful Dead shared a spacious Victorian on Ashbury Street. Janis Joplin lived down the street. Across from her was Joe McDonald, of the psychedelic rock band Country Joe and the Fish.

Jefferson Airplane eventually bought a house a few blocks away on Fulton Street, where they hosted legendary, wild parties.

Below you can view Janis Joplin play a famous performance at the famous Monterey Pop Festival of ’67.

To read more about the beautiful summer of love, click “Next.”

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