The Summer of that Love happened in 1967 in Haight-Ashbury is remembered for being a time of freedom of expression, joy, happiness, and intimate relations with whoever. It was also the beginning of the era of Woodstock which brought together hippies from all over to listen and jam to their favorite artists. These photos show just how revolutionary this time in history really was.
Joe Cocker’s Legacy
Joe Cocker was one of the legendary performers at Woodstock who brought over 400,000 people to the audience. The artist is best known for his rendition of the classic Beatles’ song, “With A Little Help From My Friends.” The real reason for his fame is his impressive low and raspy voice, which is iconic with the revolution of the Summer of Love.
Cocker was also known for “getting it on” with many ladies during both the Woodstock show and the entire summer of 1969. This singer embodied the talent of a musical revolutionary, while still having enough time to charm whoever he wanted. Get it, Joe!
All Different Races of People
Woodstock and the Summer of Love represented young people’s desire for a world without war and a world of peace filled with music. The movement included all genders and people of many different races.
Hippie ideals were influenced by the Beatnik poets in the late fifties who rejected the materialist and money-centric ways of modern life. The hippies of both Woodstock and the Summer of Love simply wanted to live in an ideal world without concern of the Vietnam War, bankruptcy, or death. These wants were the desires of young people in their early 20s and 30s, no matter race or gender. The Vietnam war also brought men of all races together because all races were chosen for war in the draft.
The Creator of Woodstock
Woodstock was the creation and brain child of Summer of Love hippies Michael Lang, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, and Artie Kornfeld. Michael Lang was an experienced music promoter, who promoted the music festival the Miami Pop Festival the year before, which was only attended by 25,000. Lang was able to book the events first act, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more and more performers became interested in the venue in Upstate, New York.
Tickets first went for $18 for the three-day event, but once promoters found out half a million people were scheduled to show up, the event became free. Woodstock represented more than just a concert, it represented the entire Summer of Love years between 1967 and 1969. The concert allowed for hippies of all walks of life to come together and love each other for just being people.
During 1967, hippies flocked to San Francisco, specifically the region of Haight-Ashbury and created an oasis away from modern consumerism. The area was known as a safe place for people who wanted to have free expression with their art, poems, and their clothes.
But, the problem was this was, not everything was completely original. Many Native American and Native people state the fashion during this time was culturally appropriating Native American fashion. Women were known for wearing Native beads, feathers, and for stealing fashion which truly did not belong to them. The movement was about freedom of expression and creativity, even though most of it wasn’t all that creative.
Janice Joplin was the queen of the Summer of Love and Woodstock with her meaningful lyrics and impressive style. Joplin was uninhibited when it came to her music, and followed the beatnik style by conveying passion and meaning in her lyrics. Joplin also represented the free love and no control vibes of the late ’60s.
She was known for being a heavy drinker and enjoying an entire bottle of Johnnie Walker before each performance. Joplin also embodied the Summer of Love feels by being a part of a lesbian affair while living in San Francisco during the Summer of Love. Sadly, the singer died of a heroin overdose accompanied by being drunk off of whiskey in 1970.
The Issue with Free Love
The issue with free love is that even though it’s fun, it’s incredibly unsafe. During the Summer of Love and the weekend of Woodstock, thousands of young adults many different STIs, which are intimately related illnesses. The biggest one was an outbreak of sores, which is now known as herpes. These illnesses affect people for the rest of their lives, which proved why the Summer of Love and Woodstock could only be fun for so long.
The other health issue with this time was the problem with drug shared illnesses. Many young men and women who were sharing needles or different instruments for drug use, were sharing diseases such as HIV and AIDS. This time period was only fun before everyone realized what they were sharing with each other.
One Overwhelmed Person
This picture is one of the most famous photos to come out of the Summer of Love and Woodstock era. The picture shows one girl becoming so overwhelmed with the concert, that she doesn’t notice the people around her. The backstory also shows the woman is overwhelmed for no reason at all, because contrary to popular belief, there was no music playing during the set change.
The woman represents the over-idealized image of how great and powerful Woodstock was. The movement had impressive roots in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, but in the end, it was simply a concert. The woman is said to be on so many drugs, that she apparently “heard” music.
Bathing in a Lake
Woodstock was known for being extremely under-prepared. Michael Lang and the rest of the organizers originally planned for having only 25,000 people attend the concert. But, instead of 25,000, a little under half a million people showed up to hear the music. The concert itself took place on an old farm in Wallkill, New York, where there were only around 100 bathroom stalls.
People were filthy from running around in the mud, and doing “other” things in the dirt, so many concert-goers were forced to bathe in make shifts baths. These baths were actually just dirty lakes which surrounded the country farm. Nothing about this historic event was hygienic or healthy in the least.
The Incredible Style
Even though some of the styles were appropriated, most of the clothes which were worn during the Summer of Love and the Woodstock concert became timeless. Today, the styles of Woodstock have been made famous by the California concert Coachella, which brings together many different acts to sing and perform.
Queen bee of Coachella and style icon Kendall Jenner is a pro at perfecting the hippie look, complete with fringe and cropped tops. The style of these women was inventive, yet also was incredibly feminine, proving that the female figure is beautiful in itself. These ladies knew how to dress to impress, even if they were dancing in the mud.
The One and Only Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix was the golden boy of rock and roll, while also being a hippie protester. Hendrix’s famous performance at the Woodstock concert sent shock waves through America and proved his devotion to his country.
Even though Hendrix completely hated the concept of war and the Vietnam war specifically, the legendary guitarist opened his set with an electric guitar version of the National Anthem. Hendrix proved even though many people thought the Woodstock and Summer of Love hippies were complete degenerates, the protesters and hippies deeply cared about America and wanted to make it better. Hendrix died of a drug overdose and of alcohol-related breathing issues at the age of 27 in London, 1970.
Richie Havens, the God
Richie Havens was one of the more spiritual hippies and performers during the Summer of Love and Woodstock. Havens was inspired by the folk music of the early 1960s and the soul genre. Havens’ performance of the spiritual song, “Motherless Child,” during his Woodstock set reinforced the idea of peace and self realization during this time.
The hippie movement was all about the freedom to be whoever you wanted to be, no matter the state of the world. Havens sang the song, “Motherless Child,” turning it into the now extremely famous song, “Freedom.” Havens performance represented the genuine want of the young nation to break free from the chains of war and to practice self-love.
Sha Na Na Did Not Belong
One of the most ironic pictures from this era is a photo capturing the performance of doo-wop band, Sha Na Na. Sha Na Na was a popular band in the 1960s who sang songs reminiscent of cheesy 1950s rock and roll. This rock-and-roll music was considered “goody” and not ground-breaking at all.
Their music was booed during their performance at Woodstock because many of the concert goers believed they represented the conforming nature of 1950s where almost EVERYTHING was taboo. The band was featured in the film Grease, but after their performance at Woodstock, their career fizzled out due to their lack of fans.
This Artist Was Sent To Jail
Joan Baez was the world’s first hipster when it came to music, art, and protesting for what she believed in. Joan Baez was often considered a singing poet, for her lyrical genius during the early years of the Summer of Love era in San Francisco.
The artist sang about women’s rights, Civil rights, and the war in Vietnam. Apart from her singing career, Baez is famous for being sent to jail for protesting the war in Vietnam, which was one of the main issues for hippies in the late 1960s. Many of her fans were also very progressive when it came to protesting, and were passionate about stand-ins and silence non-cooperation. Baez’s legacy proves that artists during this era weren’t just singing stars, but were activists as well.
The Hippie Hottie
The hottest hippie and one of the most talented singers during this time was Grace Slick, who was the lead singer of the alt-rock band Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick represented feminism and woman power during the 1960s, proving a hot girl could be the lead singer of a hardcore rock band.
Jefferson Airplane is best known for its drug induced music and its pieces about social commentary. The band is also notorious for sparking outrage in Germany when Grace Slick went on a fourteen-minute rampage screaming, “but we won the war!” Grace Slick was a hippie inspiration for all women who wanted to take over the world with rock.
During the late 1960s, feminism was supported and the cause was at an all time high. Women during the Summer of Love in San Francisco were loving their bodies and were open to having sexual partners with men and women.
The cause was important to many people and launched the feminist career of Gloria Steinem. Steinem was a hippie feminist during the 1960s who told women it was their time to claim their rights and to take control of their bodies. She is also one of the first feminists to burn their bras in public and to really ruffle the feathers of the business patriarchy. Women were finally beginning to show the world that their bodies and their careers were their own.
Children of Woodstock
During Woodstock, it’s surprising that many children were actually in attendance, even though there was a lot of full frontal nudity and drug use. Children were brought to the concert with their parents who had nowhere else to go. During an interview which was released in the documentary Woodstock, many parents kicked out their teenage daughters who became pregnant after living out the “free love” lifestyle.
Many of these women, according to the interview, lived on hippie communes with other pregnant women and male fathers. The concert pulled in many of these hippie communes, bringing in the entire family of father, mother, and child. These children of hippies grew up to be adults in the ’90s age of grunge.
Sleeping on a Bike
Like the problem of lack of showers, Woodstock also did not have enough places to sleep. This picture perfectly showed the attitude of the travelers who were attending the concert. The 1960s was an era of freedom, which included picking up all of your belongings and traveling across the country.
This traveling idea comes from the beatnik book, On the Road, which detailed a life of free love, travel, and a life of zero commitments, which was written by Beatnik creator, Jack Kerouac. This sleeping traveler accurately conveys the late ’60s idea of following your dreams and realizing that you have the freedom to actually do so.
Mud, Mud, Everywhere
Mud was a key part of the entire Woodstock experience and it is one of the details everyone remembers about the festival. Mud represented how pure the entire concert was and how raw the experience of Woodstock was. The mud perfectly conveyed that this concert was purely about the music and people listening to it in a dirty field in Upstate New York.
Woodstock’s raw vibe represented the idea that these people were rejecting the material America they were brought up with and were fighting for freedom of expression and power over their own bodies. The mud also proved that this entire concert was not prepared for and over 400,000 people wanted to change the world.
Climbing to Get a Better View
Woodstock wasn’t like any concert or festival before its time and it is surely nothing like the concerts of today. The concert did not have any sets or any fences to hold people into place, and one of the problems with overcrowding is it can be very dangerous. Due to lack of security, many people jumped onto the stage or ran over people trying to get closer to the performers.
This picture showed how free the concert really was, but also how loose the restrictions were. Climbing the stage poles was incredibly dangerous and almost killed many different concert goers. But, it was also liberating and proved why this time was made up of sheer expression.
One of the biggest influences for the Summer of Love and the Woodstock years was Eastern philosophy and religion. Many artists including The Beatles and George Harrison sought out meditation practices and guidance from yogis in India, including the guidance of the famous Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda.
The teachings of this yogi stated that freedom could only be found when the meditator looked into himself and treated everyone like a friend. These ideologies and mantras influenced hippies to care about their community and their world, while still looking for self-realization. This is still an influence for people who connect with and love the late 1960s.
The Diggers were a group of activists and improv actors based in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. Much like many of those who participated in the Summer of Love, the Diggers shared a like-minded, left-wing ideology.
The group’s main goal was to create a mini society that was free of money and capitalism. They published various geurilla papers that eventually morphed into pamphlets filled with art, poetry and essays that supported their mission. They also threw free parties with music by major acts like the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane.
In this photo, members of the Diggers are handing out free food.
Protester Speaks out Against Vietnam War
While upstate New York’s Woodstock festival wasn’t wholly politically leaning, and most people in attendance just wanted to see the show, camp out and have fun, some people used the giant crowds to send a message.
It was almost a given that if you were the type of person who went to Woodstock, you were also the kind of person who was anti-war. Most of the people who attended the festival were quite progressive and the Summer of Love influence (of peace, love and happiness) carried over into everyone’s distaste for the on-going Vietnam War.
All You Need Is Love
By 1967, The Beatles had already taken the airwaves by storm. Just two years after their iconic Shea Stadium performance (where fans screamed so loud, you couldn’t even hear the band perform), the British four-piece released a new song that would become an anthem for The Summer of Love.
The Beatles’ 1967 single “All You Need Is Love” was primarily written by John Lennon, whose political leanings made him a poster child for the entire movement. This photo is taken from the band’s debut TV performance of “All You Need is Love” in June of 1967.
Boston Wasn’t All Peace, Love and Happiness
While the summer of Love preached peace, love and happiness, it wasn’t all a cloud of flower crowns and marijuana smoke. It was also a vessel for political change. The Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts was one of the predominately black sections in America that hadn’t had any race riots.
In 1965, black and white mothers who thought Massachusetts’ welfare program was inadequate formed MAW (Mothers for Adequate Welfare). This group organized with college students and other activists to enact change. On June 2, 1967, the group staged a protest at the welfare office in Blue Hill Avenue, which turned into a days-long riot when police began clubbing and arresting protesters. In the first night alone, 44 people were arrested and 45 people were injured.
The Six Day War
The Summer of Love was marked by war. Though the Vietnam War had already been raging for over a decade, there was also a lesser-known, smaller war called the Arab-Israeli war in the summer of 1967. The Arab Israeli War (also known as the Six Day War, erupted after tensions became high after the mobilization of Egyptian forces along the Israeli border of the Sinai Peninsula.
This image was taken by photographer Paul Schutzer, before he was killed in the midst of battle. It depicts high morale as Israeli soldiers grin and give a thumbs up.
Hippie Buses And Free Drugs
The summer of love was marked by fashion that included flowers and psychedelic colors and patterns. It was also marked by the idea of sharing drugs. Apparently, people cared little about repercussions from doing drugs in the public and lived a very free and open lifestyle.
In this photo, hippies gather on top of a classic “hippie bus.” It was in fashion to have larger vehicles like the Volkswagen bus and paint them in fun colors and patterns that showed your ideals. Plus, they were perfect for camping out at a festival like Woodstock.
LSD For One Dollar
Woodstock was a mess of mud, music and drugs. It pretty much defined the Summer of Love on the East Coast. People were so free about doing drugs, so they had no problem advertising the sale of it.
This iconic image shows a salesman hard at work trying to sell some acid. He has a cardboard sign offering up a hit for just one dollar. From the looks of it, the salesman is either pretty pleased with his job or pretty darn high. Oh, the things you could get away with in 1967.
Police Brutality Tarnishes the Summer of Love
The Summer of Love was a wonderful thought that was tarnished with police brutality. This photo taken in 1967 during a peaceful anti-Vietnam war protest is one of the most powerful.
The photo depicts a very violent time. Jan Rose Kasmir stands in front of the National Guard during a protest outside of the Pentagon. The flower held by Kasmir is such a stark contrast to the guns pointed at the protesters and really exemplifies the amount of violence seen at peaceful protests during this time.
The Summer of Love Goes Global
It wasn’t just the tiny Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco that saw the influence of The Summer of Love. In fact, it wasn’t even just the United States. The movement spread overseas and influenced both the lifestyle and fashion of young people.
This image shows two hippies in Trafalgar Square in London at the very height of the Summer of Love. Though London isn’t quite as warm as San Francisco so halter tops and cut off shorts may have been out of the question, these ladies took hippie floral influence to their long-sleeved dresses.
Festival of the Flower Children Love In
Before America ever had Woodstock, the U.K beat them to the punch with another flower power-filled music festival during the Summer of Love. In 1967, hippies from all over the U.K. gathered for the Festival of the Flower Children Love In.
The event was held in Woburn Abbey during the last weekend of August and featured popular acts like the Kinks, Jeff Beck and the Bee-Gees. The festival also had flowers for everyone! You could purchase paper flowers for 5 pence each and bells to jingle while you dance. Even hippies from as far as San Francisco went abroad for the event.
Johnson Is A War Criminal
In 1967 there were various rallies around the country against the Vietnam War. This image happens to be taken at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco at one of these many rallies.
The movement was organized by The Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. They sponsored various antiwar demonstrations in the Spring and Summer of 1967. Their two largest events occurred on April 15, 1967 in both New York and San Francisco. Over 125,000 people marched in New York against the war (with activists like Martin Luther King Jr. in attendance). San Francisco’s protest was slightly smaller drawing 60,000 people. It was the largest antiwar demonstration in U.S. history at the time.
Edie Sedgwick was one of the biggest stars during the Summer of Love. The American model and actress was a muse to Andy Warhol and starred in several of his short films. Just two years prior to the Summer of Love, Sedgwick was dubbed “The Girl of the Year” and an “It Girl” for Vogue magazine.
Sedgwick was also known for her erratic behavior. In 1967 while shooting Ciao! Manhattan (where this photo was taken), she set her room on fire in the Chelsea Hotel and was hospitalized for burns. A year later, she was hospitalized for drug abuse and mental health issues.
Headbands and Hippie Fashion
The Summer of Love had some pretty epic fashion – from Eastern influences to florals and flowy bohemian dresses. They fashion was so iconic that it’s even carried over into music festival-wear today. The average Coachella-goer doesn’t look much different from someone who might have attended Woodstock.
In this amazing image from the Summer of Love, a girl quietly sits cross-legged wearing a tie-dyed, loose-fitting shirt, gladiator style sandals and a patterned headband. Her straight hair was an iconic cut for hippies everywhere – and check out how cute the heart is between her eyebrows.
The Summer of Love Was More Than Just a Summer for Some
It’s been 40 years since the Summer of Love, but the couple behind this iconic image from Woodstock are still as in love as ever. This iconic image shows Bobbi and Nick Ercoline, wrapped in a mud-covered blanket. The shot was so amazing that it became the cover of a Woodstock triple album featuring greats like Jimi Hendrix and The Who.
The couple never intended to go to the festival, but after hearing that about the insane crowds, they just had to check out the fun for themselves (especially after police closed the road and radios urged people to stay away). The couple ended up abandoning their car and walking six miles to the festival, where this iconic shot was taken.
The Amazing Crowds at Woodstock
Woodstock was one of the biggest music festivals of all time. Rolling Stone even listed it as one of the “50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll.” The even took places on a 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskills near the town of Bethel. IT was just 43 miles from its namesake town, Woodstock, New York.
The weekend saw 32 acts performing but crowds were much, much larger than anticipated. A whopping 400,000 people showed up when promoters were only expecting an attendance of 50,000. Of course this caused a major strain on the area and police ended up blocking the roads.
Intense Traffic Jams But High Spirits
With Woodstock garnering about eight times the expected attendance, the surrounding area wasn’t really equipped to handle the sheer amount of people. This led to intense traffic jams (which caused one couple to abandon their cars and walk six miles to festival) and road closures.
In an effort to keep more people from entering the already jam-packed festival, police closed off the roads in Bethel surrounding the festival. This picture shows two hopeful concert-goers waiting for traffic to move while they sit on the trunk of their car.
The Altamont Speedway Free Festival
Woodstock wasn’t the only ground-breaking festival during the Summer of Love. The Altamont Free Concert was also cited as marking the end of the Summer of Love. The festival was held at Altamont Speedway just 30 miles east of San Francisco, California.
The concert was the West Coast’s answer to Woodstock and about 300,000 people showed up to see major acts like Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young and the Rolling Stones. Unlike Woodstock, where ticket prices were high, this festival was completely free.
Tragedy at Altamont
Altamont Speedway Free Festival was highly regarded as a disaster. Unlike Woodstock, which merely suffered from rampant drug use and overcrowding, the Altamont Free Concert was marked by tragedy. The event had considerable violence (partly because the motorcycle gang the Hells Angels served as security). Most notably, the Hells Angels killed 18-year-old Meredith Hunter after he tried to jump on stage and later drew a gun in the crowd. There were three other accidental deaths, two of which were caused by a hit and run.
In addition, numerous people were injured and cars were stolen and abandoned (not to mention, there was extensive property damage). The violence was so bad that The Grateful Dead ended up cancelling their performance moments before they were supposed to appear.
The Hells Angels Were Out Of Control
The security for Altamont wasn’t very good – even though it seemed like the Hells Angels would be the toughest security guards around. Unfortunately, the gang was only paid in beer to do their jobs – and only $500 of beer at that. Is there any way that could have worked out well?
The Hells Angel’s violent tendencies combined with drunk fans was a complete disaster. One of the Hells Angels even assaulted Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane during the event. They smashed him in the face and left him unconscious. In the photo above, Hells Angels patrol the stage while Mick Jagger sings.
Unlike the politically-charged rock of the rest of the Summer of Love, the Monkees managed to make light, fun pop that mostly revolved around classic love song tropes. The band started as a sitcom – a TV show about an imaginary band that wanted to be like the Beatles. They soon became a real band, and during the Summer of Love, the four piece set off on a massive world tour.
The Tour began on June 9, 1967 and ran across the entire U.S. until August 27th. They visited 28 different cities including three dates in New York City and three dates in London, England. They also performed with Jimi Hendrix during some of the shows.