#TBT: Hippies Run Wild During the Summer ‘69

Fifty years ago, hippies alarmed locals in a sleepy New Mexico town during 1969's Summer of Love. 😂✌️

Brought both politics and counterculture together

In 1969, hippies ran wild across the U.S. vexing many longtime residents. In addition to the Summer of Love, that hippie heyday in 1967 when some 100,000 people from around the country converged on Haight-Ashbury, the most famous celebration of hippie counterculture occurred in August 1969 at the Woodstock Music Festival. Advertised as “three days of peace, music and love,” Woodstock “brought both political people and counterculture people together,” Rorabaugh says. Indeed, somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 people, far more than its organizers originally expected, flocked to upstate New York to hear artists like Joan Baez, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Creedence Clearwater Revival play the music that fueled the hippie movement.

In some ways, the Summer of Love also marked the beginning of the end for the hippie movement, as drugs, homelessness and crime had infested Haight-Ashbury, pushing out many of the neighborhood’s original residents. In October 1967, the Diggers held a “Death of the Hippie March” in San Francisco to decry the commercialization of hippie culture. The march ended at the famed Psychedelic Shop, an early hippie hangout that was closing. Marchers buried the shop’s signs, marking a symbolic death for the hippie heyday.

Though some hippies remained committed to the lifestyle for the long haul, many others assimilated themselves into the mainstream culture they had once despised. Perhaps the most famous of these, Rorabaugh says, was Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. Jobs, who embraced Buddhism after a trip to India in the early ‘70s, “conceived of the idea of personal computer as putting computer power in the hands of ordinary people, and taking it away from IBM,” as Rorabaugh puts it. “Taking computer power away from giant corporations and giving it to ordinary people”—what could be more anti-establishment than that? (history.com)