This Year’s ‘Summer of Love’ Gets No Love

The “Summer of Love” Concert, a free show planned for June 4th at the Golden Gate Park Polo Fields, has come under fire from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.

On Thursday, more than sixty community members and residents showed up to a hearing at City Hall to voice their frustrations over the denial of a permit to host this year’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

The Parks Department deemed the proposed event, organized by Boots Hughston, a real estate dealer and event promoter for the event’s 40th anniversary, to be poorly planned and raised concerns on overall safety when it came to crowd control and traffic displacement.

Up until now, the free outdoor show has been a celebratory reminder of San Francisco’s beginnings as a cultural hub for progressive thought during a notoriously tumultuous period in American history.

Most of us equate the counter-culture movement that took off in the 1960s in San Francisco with the Haight-Ashbury, bell bottoms, flower crowns and skeptical doses of LSD. The powers that be weren’t very happy back then and they’re proving to be similarly distrusting now.

920x920Haight Ashbury Gift Shop storefront (Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle)

Following Thursday’s decision, lifer hippies—if you will—found themselves gathered at City Hall in mass disappointment, pleading that the summer of love must go on.

One woman joked at the hearing that the worst that might happen would be that a few senior citizens would accidentally get “too stoned” on marijuana.

There were a number of rock-reviving names projected for the 2017 summer lineup, including the remaining members of Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin’s Big Brother and the Holding Company, as well as the Santana Blues Band.

However, original Santana band member Michael Carabello recently called SF Gate to say it was the first he’d heard of an invitation to perform at the show, which was expected to draw over thousands of attendees.

humanities-westCourtesy of the California Historical Society

Hughston said it had been two weeks since the permit was approved, but the department was now backing out of the agreement and leading a “character assassination” against him to deny the application.

Now it’s up for debate whether Hughston’s nine-month planning process included some smoke and mirrors and why this year’s application tanked given its forty-nine years in running.

Following the ruling, Hughston was encouraged to find a partner that could help him work out the kinks and resubmit an application. He says he may indeed follow-up, even if to no avail.

Until then, the voices that once challenged freedom and stood up against war and hate will have to be heard elsewhere. We’ll keep you posted on any changes that might be announced.

Read more: ‘Summer of Love’ to Celebrate 50th Anniversary