Fifty years ago, the Summer of Love became the pinnacle of the 1960s-hippie counterculture movement, changing popular culture, music, fashion, and art forever. California was the epicenter, and the musicians, artists, and activists that gathered in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury introduced flowery garments, psychedelic rock, political activism, and LSD to the greater world in the summer months of 1967.
Down the coast, the Monterey International Pop Festival was a critical component of the Summer of Love. The three-day concert held in the Monterey County Fairgrounds featured career-making performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding, while paving the way for future festivals like Woodstock.
Most local authorities at the time were not thrilled with the throngs of hippies. This year, however, several cities are fully embracing their countercultural past for the summer’s 50th anniversary. A wide variety of events will be commemorating the Summer of Love over the next few months, from major museum exhibits to a new Monterey International Pop Festival featuring acts like Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, Gary Clark Jr., Father John Misty, and more.
Organizers of a Summer of Love 2017 are still hoping to get a permit to put on a show in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this September—but until then, embrace the peace, love, and rock and roll of 1967 with any one of these events from LA to the Bay.
San Francisco Bay Area
The de Young Museum’s “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll” showcases 400 significant cultural artifacts from the Summer of Love in 10 galleries. There are mannequins decked out in period apparel, record sleeves, book covers, photographs, and poster art (including the original “Skeleton and Roses” Grateful Dead concert poster created by Stanley Mouse). A more immersive experience in the exhibit is a “liquid” light show commissioned by Bill Ham, that evokes the experience of attending a psychedelic rock show in 1967.
Details: de Young Museum’s “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll,” April 8th—August 20th, 415/750-3600, adults $15, seniors $10, college students $6, children 17 and under free
The Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive’s “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia” examines the architecture and design of the countercultural movement. This includes everything from quirky hand-built homes to Gary D. Anderson’s original design for the recycle symbol. Along with the exhibit, the museum will be hosting public talks, film screenings, and other events. Check out the museum website for a full schedule.
Details: Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive’s “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia,” February 8th-May 21st, 510/642-0808, adults $12, students and seniors $10
Organized by Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally, the California Historical Society’s “On the Road to the Summer of Love” looks at the cultural happenings that preceded the Summer of Love. It begins by casting its gaze at the Beat Generation in the Bay Area during the 1950s, and goes beyond the Summer of Love to when two members of the Grateful Dead were arrested in a drug bust in October 1967. Unique artifacts on display include a framed sheet of LSD and a rare photo of Janis Joplin performing as a little-known folkie before becoming a rock legend.
Details: California Historical Society’s “On the Road to the Summer of Love,” May 12th-September 10th, 415/357-1848, adults $5, children free
Jim Marshall is known as a pioneer in rock and roll photography. Located in San Francisco City Hall—which goes to show how mainstream the counterculture has become—“Jim Marshall’s 1967” features photos of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and more.
Details: San Francisco City Hall’s “Jim Marshall’s 1967,” April 24th-June 17th, 415/554-4000, free
The GLBT History Museum’s “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at The Summer of Love” looks at the movement through the lenses of queer figures that played prominent roles, including Janis Joplin, poet Allen Ginsberg, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and philosopher Gavin Arthur.
Details: GLBT History Museum’s “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at The Summer of Love,” April 7th-September 29th, 415/621-1107, adults $5, students $3
Magic Bus’s “Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Tour” is a bus tour in a vehicle that is described as a traveling movie theater and light show. The two-and-a-half-hour excursion includes stops at North Beach’s City Lights Bookstore and in Haight-Ashbury, the real focal point of the Summer of Love.
Details: Magic Bus’s “Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Tour,” May 1st-September 15th Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30am and 1:30pm, 855/969-6244, adults $70, students $65
Hang out in the go-to haunts of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and Joni Mitchell on the 12-block Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour.
Details: Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour, Tuesdays and Saturdays 10:30am, Fridays 2pm, adults $20, children under nine years old free
The big Summer of Love event in Monterey is without a doubt the Monterey International Pop Festival 50th Anniversary Concert. In the same venue as the groundbreaking 1967 music festival, the three-day event includes performances by Jack Johnson, Norah Jones, and Gary Clark Jr., along with Phil Lesh and Eric Burdon & The Animals, alumni of the original fest. With original organizer Lou Adler onboard, the concert will also showcase historic memorabilia.
Details: Monterey International Pop Festival 50, June 16th-18th, $295-695/three-day tickets
Monterey’s Golden State Theatre will be screening documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker’s Monterey Pop: a concert film with superb footage of performances from the Monterey Pop Festival. The screening will be accompanied by a talk by photographer Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal about shooting photos at the iconic event.
Details: Golden State Theatre’s Monterey Pop Screening, May 12th, 831/649-1070, $16
Missed the Golden State screening? Not to worry—catch the remastered cut at Monterey’s Osio Theater on June 16th ($10)!
The Monterey Museum of Art’s “Who Shot Monterey Pop! Photographs from the 1967 Music Festival” showcases images from the festival from seven photographers. There will be a handful of accompanying events including a roundtable talk with the exhibit’s photographers on June 15th.
Details: Monterey Museum of Art, June 2nd-September 18th, 831/3720-5477, adults $10, students and children under 18 free
The hyper intimate Gallery Exposed in Carmel will fill its small space with photos of rock photographer Tom O’Neal during its exhibit “Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal: From Monterey Pop to Déjà Vu and Beyond.”
Details: Gallery Exposed, June 13th-August 25th, 831/238-0127, free
The West End Celebration is a music and arts festival that has been going on in the small community of Sand City for 16 years. This year, there’s a definite Summer of Love focus, with free performances by 1960s acts David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day and Big Brother & The Holding Company.
Details: West End Celebration, August 25th-27th, free
Even the Monterey Regional Airport is getting in on the Summer of Love fun with its “Feeling Groovy” exhibit, showing artifacts that help visitors step back in time to 1960s Monterey.
Details: Monterey Regional Airport, January-December, 831/648-7000, free
The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles is celebrating the anniversary of the Summer of Love with two exhibits. “Jim Marshall’s 1967” displays photos taken in 1967 by the rock photographer, while “Monterey International Pop Festival: Music, Love, and Flowers, 1967” takes a look at the iconic music festival.
Details: Grammy Museum, “Jim Marshall’s 1967” March 10th-May 14th, “Monterey International Pop Festival: Music, Love, and Flowers, 1967” May 11th-October 22nd, 213/765-6800, adults $12.95, seniors and students $11.95, children 6-17 $10.95