The “Summer of Love” in 1967 is generally thought to be when everything changed in San Francisco. As with most historic moments, there were many precipitating events which were bellwethers of things to come.
One of these early events took place 49 years ago today in Golden Gate Park on January 14, 1967. Known as the “Human Be-In,” tens of thousands of mostly young people came to the park’s Polo Fields on a beautiful day to hear music by the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and others, and chanting, poetry and wise pronouncements by the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Rubin, and Timothy Leary. This “Gathering of the Tribes” caught the attention of the national media, drawing increasing media attention to the growing hippie counterculture in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Within a few months, hundreds of thousands of people would make their way to the city to be part of the growing scene.
Yet the “Human Be-in” wasn’t the beginning of the Haight-Ashbury era. The hippie counterculture actually kicked off with one year earlier with the three-day Trips Festival at San Francisco’s Longshoreman’s Hall. To learn more about the Trips Festival, join the California Historical Society in celebrating its 50th Anniversary next Friday, January 22, 2016.