I found this delightful article on line, commemorating the gathering that ushered in the Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park. A beautiful tribute to the park in the 60s, an era that many of us can vividly recall! This past weekend the sun was dueling with the fog in Sharon Meadow, but the sound of bongo drums in the air reminded me . . .
“. . . on Jan. 14, 1967, the Human Be-In — the peaceful gathering that provided a prelude to the Summer of Love and the era of the rock festival — unfolded, with none of the authority clashes that would mark so many major rock concerts of the 1960s.
In fact, there were just two park rangers on horseback to police the crowd of 25,000 or so stoners who convened in Golden Gate Park. Officially known as “A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In,” the event was organized not as a protest but a celebration. “Bring the color gold, photos of personal saints and gurus … children … flowers … flutes … feathers … banners, flags, incense, chimes, gongs, cymbals,” instructed the organizers.
Performers included the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Jefferson Airplane, Sir Douglas Quintet and jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Allen Ginsberg, who’d recently called for a “mass emotional nervous breakdown in these States once and for all,” chanted. Acid guru Timothy Leary, making his first appearance in San Francisco, unveiled his “Turn on, tune in, drop out” routine. Underground legend Owsley Stanley delivered thousands of hits of White Lightning, his most potent brand of LSD to date, along with dozens of turkeys, which provided hundreds of sandwiches.
The MC for the day was an ex-Marine drill instructor everyone knew as Buddha. Even the Hells Angels, later infamous for their violent behavior at Altamont, played nice, tending to lost kids and guarding the sound system after generator power was mysteriously cut.”
Watch Scenes From the Human Be-In