2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the historic phenomenon that shaped San Francisco, Berkeley, and indeed all of American culture. The year 1967 harbors the magic of the famous event known as The Summer of Love: a summer that would henceforth be set as a marker and turning point in United States history.
As the name might suggest, the Summer of Love brought to San Francisco a colossal wave of 60s hippie culture in the form of migrant, free-spirited people in the thousands. From musicians to activists, the Summer of Love — which in all actuality started that spring — made its dent nationally because of what every single person of those (estimated) 100,000 people essentially believed: opposing the Vietnam War, rejecting materialism and consumerist mindsets, and going against anything that was seen as the rigid norm.
The Bay Area marks the anniversary with free concerts, love tours, light shows at the Conservatory of Flowers, and walks that will guide you through the streets where the Beat poets once lived, performed in, and wrote in; the celebration won’t let you down. After all, it was the year that gave us the song with the lyrical advice to wear flowers in our hair, and gave us each hope that a gentler future was just around the corner.
In (quite distant) hindsight, the beauty of this event is that there could not have been a Summer of Love without the Bay Area, and indeed what would San Francisco and Berkeley be now without the original Summer of Love? While we can only scarcely imagine, the Summer of Love brought people a respite from the rest of the 60s, and continues to bring us now a similar recess when we look back at everything that occurred in that decade of American history.