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Youth Culture – Hippies 1960s
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Photograph: Bill Eppridge/Time & Life Pictures

Whatever happened to all the old hippies? The millions who rallied, marched, protested, chanted and boycotted?

Whatever happened to the Peace & Love Generation; the hippies?

Aside from the drug casualties, did they all just become accountants and soccer moms/dads?

Are there any actual studies or statistics on what became of the flower children?

The hippie movement and a culture of flower-wearing, drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s, swiftly spreading to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term ‘hippie’ is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into New York City’s Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district.

The early hippie ideology included the countercultural values of the Beat Generation. Some created their own social groups and communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as marijuana and LSD to explore alternative states of consciousness.

In January 1967, the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco popularized hippie culture, leading to the legendary Summer of Love on the West Coast of the United States, and the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the East Coast.

Hippies in Mexico, known as jipitecas, formed La Onda Chicana and gathered at Avándaro, while in New Zealand, nomadic housetruckers practiced alternative lifestyles and promoted sustainable energy at Nambassa.

In the United Kingdom, mobile "peace convoys" of New age travellers made summer pilgrimages to free music festivals at Stonehenge.

In Australia hippies gathered at Nimbin for the 1973 Aquarius Festival and the annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally or MardiGrass.

In Chile, "Piedra Roja Festival" was held in 1970, and was the major hippie event in that country.

Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts.

Since the widespread movement in the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by mainstream society.

The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a wide audience.

The hippie legacy can be observed in contemporary culture in myriad forms — from health food, to music festivals, to contemporary sexual mores, and even to the cyberspace revolution.


The new hippie clothes style wasn’t great for retailers either. Shopping at the Army Surplus tends to undercut major department stores.

Handmade and natural were sacred words. We crafted by doing macrame, beading, all sorts of homespun things that kids today wouldn’t be caught dead doing. Never mind. It was the Sixties!.

The 1960s were an important decade – a time of great progress in terms of civil rights and the anti-war movement, the 1960s were also a time where a powerful youth movement mobilized around the tenants of peace and love and revolutionized the world. We all know this, because old hippies love to remind us about their impact. While some people feel that hippies are questionable, there is no denying the enduring legacy of hippy fashion.

The thing about hippy fashion is that it’s so polarizing. It’s one of those things you either love or you hate, and often your opinion on hippy fashion will change in your lifetime. However, there is no denying that hippy fashioned helped change the tenant of youth fashion in a way that impacts contemporary fashion. One of the underlying aspects of hippy fashion was color. Tie dyed shirts were all of the rage and to this day, hippies congregate in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to participate in a drum circle, play hackey sack, and recite their thoughts in the poetic medium. A time of flower prints, bellbottoms, and occasional dips into leather – hippy fashion is a fascinating genre of 1960s fashion and a symbol of free love (or that’s what we’re told).

Hippie Music

Joe Cocker – A Little Help From My Friends – Woodstock 1969 video

On January 14, 1967, the outdoor Human Be-In organized by Michael Bowen helped to popularize hippie culture across the United States, with 20,000 hippies gathering in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. On March 26, Lou Reed, Edie Sedgwick and 10,000 hippies came together in Manhattan for the Central Park Be-In on Easter Sunday.

The Monterey Pop Festival from June 16 to June 18 introduced the rock music of the counterculture to a wide audience and marked the start of the "Summer of Love".

Scott McKenzie’s rendition of John Phillips’ song, "San Francisco", became a hit in the United States and Europe. The lyrics, "If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair", inspired thousands of young people from all over the world to travel to San Francisco, sometimes wearing flowers in their hair and distributing flowers to passersby, earning them the name, "Flower Children". Bands like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin), and Jefferson Airplane lived in the Haight.

In June 1967, Herb Caen was approached by "a distinguished magazine" to write about why hippies were attracted to San Francisco. He declined the assignment but interviewed hippies in the Haight for his own newspaper column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Caen determined that, "Except in their music, they couldn’t care less about the approval of the straight world."

Caen himself felt that the city of San Francisco was so straight that it provided a visible contrast with the hippie culture. On July 7, Time magazine featured a cover story entitled, "The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture." The article described the guidelines of the hippie code: "Do your own thing, wherever you have to do it and whenever you want. Drop out. Leave society as you have known it. Leave it utterly. Blow the mind of every straight person you can reach. Turn them on, if not to drugs, then to beauty, love, honesty, fun."

It is estimated that around 100,000 people traveled to San Francisco in the summer of 1967. The media was right behind them, casting a spotlight on the Haight-Ashbury district and popularizing the "hippie" label. With this increased attention, hippies found support for their ideals of love and peace but were also criticized for their anti-work, pro-drug, and permissive ethos.

By the end of the summer, the Haight-Ashbury scene had deteriorated. The incessant media coverage led the Diggers to declare the "death" of the hippie with a parade.

According to the late poet Susan ‘Stormi’ Chambless, the hippies buried an effigy of a hippie in the Panhandle to demonstrate the end of his/her reign. Haight-Ashbury could not accommodate the influx of crowds (mostly naive youngsters) with no place to live. Many took to living on the street, panhandling and drug-dealing. There were problems with malnourishment, disease, and drug addiction.

Crime and violence skyrocketed. By the end of 1967, many of the hippies and musicians who initiated the Summer of Love had moved on. Misgivings about the hippie culture, particularly with regard to drug abuse and lenient morality, fueled the moral panics of the late 1960s.

In August 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair took place in Bethel, New York, which for many, exemplified the best of hippie counterculture. Over 500,000 people arrived to hear some of the most notable musicians and bands of the era, among them Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Carlos Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. Wavy Gravy’s Hog Farm provided security and attended to practical needs, and the hippie ideals of love and human fellowship seemed to have gained real-world expression.

In December 1969, a similar event took place in Altamont, California, about 30 miles (45 km) east of San Francisco. Initially billed as "Woodstock West", its official name was The Altamont Free Concert. About 300,000 people gathered to hear The Rolling Stones; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Jefferson Airplane and other bands. The Hells Angels provided security that proved far less benevolent than the security provided at the Woodstock event: 18-year-old Meredith Hunter was stabbed and killed during The Rolling Stones’ performance.

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Hippies on Video

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