This year marks the 50th anniversary of 1967’s famous Summer of Love in San Francisco. The Summer of Love attracted hundreds of thousands of people in the Haight-Ashbury district to bring about the popularization of psychedelic and hippie fashion, art and music, not only in America, but also all over the world.
During 1967, America was at war in Vietnam and the people who participated in the Summer of Love were strongly against the violence taking place. They actively encouraged peace and love, which helped form the hippie ideals we are familiar with today. Luckily, I grew up in Northern California, an hour and a half away from San Francisco. I was able to explore and learn about the wonders that have come from Haight-Ashbury firsthand. After countless visits to the area itself, going to the de Young Museum’s Summer of Love exhibit, and watching documentaries on musicians that were popular during that time, I grew an unfathomable love for the music and culture that sprung from the Summer of Love.
Inspired by the effects of psychedelic culture, psychedelic music often featured long guitar solos, electric sounds, blues, jazz and folk influences in order to enhance the experience of reality. Though there were many musical talents associated with the popularization of psychedelic music during this time, a few notable ones include the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin). All these artists, along with many more, performed at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967, which helped secure the popularity of psychedelic music for decades to come.
Fifty years later, the Summer of Love of 1967 continues to influence what we see in contemporary pop culture, whether we notice it or not. You’d be surprised at how much of it is woven into your daily life. If you’ve ever been interested in the origins of psychedelic music and hippie culture, I encourage you to look into it and find out where it all comes from.
Honestly, you may even fall in love with all of it, just like I did.