This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, which was a famous and unique social event during the summer of 1967. Around 100,000 people – mostly youth - congregated in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to live and celebrate the movement that had been labeled “the counterculture.” Those committed to the counterculture movement rejected what was known as the traditional American way of life that included conformity, racism, and the nation’s involvement in Vietnam. People in the movement began to be recognized based on their lifestyle and clothes and were labeled as “hippies” by the media. Although Summer of Love is mostly associated with the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, hippies also converged in other major cities in the U.S, Canada, and Europe. The counterculture movement and those committed to it happened to receive the most publicity from media in San Francisco.
Unlike Woodstock, which was an outdoor music festival that spanned multiple days, the Summer of Love was a counterculture event that spanned an entire summer and included speeches, poetry readings, theater, music festivals, and was a “human be-in” that the counterculture leaders spearheaded earlier in 1967.
“Peace, happiness, and love” was promoted throughout that summer and for the most part, those whom converged on San Francisco during this time lived such a lifestyle. However, by the fall of 1967 many who participated in the movement had returned to college and the area began to experience increased crime and drug abuse. The counterculture movement in San Francisco began to change, but the Summer of Love had left its mark on history.