In 1967, over 100,000 people from all over the United States gathered in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and Golden Gate Park for concerts by the likes of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, in addition to social experimentation and revelry. Called the Summer of Love, the period went on to become synonymous with hippie culture.
San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love all year long with concerts, exhibitions and a variety of special events. Here are a few of the happenings that we're most looking forward to.
American Conservatory Th eater presents “A Night with Janis Joplin” (through July 16), a Broadway musical celebrating Joplin’s career and influences, which include Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Nina Simone and more. The performance features many of Joplin’s hits, from “
Beach Blanket Babylon, San Francisco’s pop-culture musical revue, is also celebrating the anniversary. The cast now includes the Beatles, Hippie Gal and other groovy characters, while 1960s anthems “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” round out the set list.
July 21, San Francisco Botanical Garden hosts a sing-along featuring hits from 1967, including “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. The following day (July 22), a multi-media musical history tour called “The San Francisco Sound” kicks off in the Nourse Theater, featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez accompanied by rising young Bay Area singers.
August 6 brings Jerry Day, the annual celebration of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia held at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, which is located in Garcia’s childhood neighborhood.
In San Francisco, the de Young Museum presents “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll.” The exhibition features more than 300 cultural artifacts of the time, including rock posters, photographs, costumes, ephemera, films and more.
Curated by Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally, “On the Road to the Summer of Love” at the California Historical Society explores the historical context of the Summer of Love, largely through a variety of rarely seen photographs by photographers including Gene Anthony, Jerry Burchard, Lisa Law and more (all month).
Learn about the art, music and fashion of the hippie movement as you stroll through the neighborhood where it all began on the Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour. Relive the '60s on wheels with the Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Magic Bus Experience, a two-hour journey featuring a blend of theater, film, music and sightseeing. Wild SF Walking Tours offers The Free Love Tour, which is also free of charge. Your guitar-toting guide will take you to the former home of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin’s pink apartment.