Summer of Love - some 100,000 hippies gathered in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco to celebrate the counter-culture ethos, challenging society's expectations through rock n roll, psychadelic drugs and free love
The San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury became the hub of the counterculture by 1967 after property values plummeted and its older, middle-class citizens made a frenzied dash for the suburbs. The newly low rents attracted beatniks and disaffected student communities in what was nothing less than an invasion.
The hippies came by Volkswagen bus, by thumb, and by foot, armed largely with their idealism and the flowers in their hair. They sought to promote peace and love, tuning in and dropping out.
Record stores openly sold psychedelic drugs right beside their LPs. Exotic wares began filling the streets, representing a hodgepodge of creative interests and identities. All in all, some 100,000 people by some estimates descended on Haight-Ashbury and made it the capital of a counterculture movement that was just then reaching its tipping point.
Kicking off 1967 — and setting the tone for the Summer of Love — was the Human Be-In, a music festival/pro-LSD rally in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on Jan. 14. The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane performed, poet Allen Ginsberg chanted, and LSD advocates Timothy Leary and Owsley Stanley handed out their wares.. People from all backgrounds came together to protest the Vietnam War and to celebrate love — in short, to ramp up the revolution.
Six months after the Human Be-In, June's Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival virtually set the prototype for almost every music festival to follow. Held on the south face of Mount Tamalpais north of San Francisco, the show featured musicians such as Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, and The Doors. In true environmentally responsible fashion, all litter was picked up and binned at the end of it all, leaving the lovely Mount Tamalpais as they found it.
Later that same month, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival further established the connection between music, drugs, and mass outdoor gatherings that were quickly coming to define the burgeoning hippie movement. The likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin performed for as many as 90,000 people and the Summer of Love was truly now underway in ways that would resonate throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and across America.
Vanity Fair - LSD, Ecstasy and Utopianism: Hoe the Summer of Love All Began
New York Times - Summer of Love, Summer of War
Stripes - Love, Protest, Music and Madness