Rocking in the Park
Lots of baby boomers celebrate the Summer of Love
By Debra Amundson
Special to The Epoch Times
Sep 15, 2007
Love and peace permeated San Francisco this past weekend as the Summer of Love Anniversary Concert took the stage. The Love Pageant Rally was the first outdoor concert in Golden Gate Park in October 1966. Following that came the Human Be-In in January 1967, prelude to Monterey Pop and the start of the Summer of Love.
The Haight Ashbury Oracle was the ground-breaking psychedelic newspaper that printed in a rainbow of colors with art from a variety of the famous ’60s artists and ran the poetry and views of beat poets and peaceful revolutionaries of the ’60s.
“If you can remember the ’60s…you weren’t really there,” so they say. To capture the spirit you may have missed, Pat Ryan’s ‘Gathering of the Tribes’ poster put it well: “The theme is love…so bring your good vibes” and above all, “get ready to rock”.
Rock it did, and an abundance of love was clearly present. The musicians that created the San Francisco Sound, and were the soul of the ’60s, rocked from 9 to 6. Rowan Brothers, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Charlatans, Country Joe, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Dan Hicks, Buddy Miles, Cold Blood and Taj Mahal were some of the bands that kept the lively crowd entertained.
A number of ’60s musicians joined forces and recreated some of the tunes that were famous in that day—Leigh Stephens from Blue Cheer and Greg Douglas from Steve miller, Terry Haggerty from the Sons of Chaplan, Ray Manzarek from the Doors and Ron Thompson. For my money Taj Mahal stole the show. It is hard to believe that he could get any better but he has.
The day began by honoring Native Americans with members from Chippewa and Sacagawea tribes. Merle Tendoy Shonie gave Native blessings along with Buddhist Monk Khenchen Rinpoche and Rabbi Joseph Langer. Emit Powell and the Gospel Elites were the appropriate AM music followed by the original cast of Hair (c). The music was played in 15-minute increments interspersed with five minutes speeches. It was a full day and the producer, Boots Hughston, kept it right on schedule.
As the bands played on, noteworthy San Franciscans who contributed in some way to the magic or needs of the ’60s spoke. David Smith from the Haight Ashbury Medical Clinic, Ben Fong Torres and Scoop Nisker represented the radio station KSAN and the iconic Wavy Gravy, entertainer at large at many of the ’60s events. Lenore Kandel, the Love Book poet who read at the original Human Be-In, shared some of her controversial poetry.
Memorable tunes filled the air over the unexpectedly large crowd, over 100,000. The Large grassy field was filled with graying baby boomers and their grown children. It was a true gathering of tribes with the same wish—a peaceful world and a caring eye on our planet.
The 40th not only celebrated the ’60s. It was intended to be a reminder of the Human Be-In that the late Allen Cohen and Michael Bowen produced. The Be-In theme was “a union of love and activism”.
As they exited, the crowd was polled and asked if they thought the Summer of Love could happen again. Three women who recalled the late ’60s, Judy Fisher, Marla Ferrara and Barbara Villarreal, shared, “Yes, everyone thinks it could be done today and should be”. Priscilla Sanders and partner Steven Levine, who was at the original Be-In, “Yes, the message is needed”.
The majority felt that a repeat of the Summer of Love was possible, that brotherly love was alive. Peace was a priority goal along with respect for our planet. The desire for leadership that would hear that voice was nearly unanimous.
At the end of the day, the vibes were good and the crowd left rocking with memories for the next 40 years.
For more details about the concert and art go to www.2b1records.com.
Debra Amundson lives and writes in California. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org