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City to throw free Summer of Love concert in Golden Gate Park

SF Chronicle – By Sam Whiting – June 7, 2017

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Photo: June 21, 1967 – Crowds of hippies gather in Golden Gate Park during the “Summer of Love” to welcome the first day of that season. A huge inflated ball, painted to represent a globe, is kept aloft by the celebrants. Photo Credit:, Associated Press/1967

After twice rejecting an independent producer’s plan to hold a free concert in Golden Gate Park to honor the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will throw its own free concert on June 21.

The Surrealistic Summer Solstice boasts it will feature members of the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Chambers Brothers, as well as “over 40 legendary musicians” in a jam that builds to a lighting of the Conservatory of Flowers in mandalas of psychedelic color.

“This is fundamentally a light installation where we are going to have music,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of Rec and Park.

That is not how Mill Valley promoter Boots Hughston sees it. Announcement of the June 21 event comes less than a week after Rec and Park staff rejected his second application for a scaled-down free concert to be held Aug. 27 in Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadow.

“Basically, they are trying to steal our event,” said Hughston, who was first denied a permit for a huge Summer of Love 50th anniversary concert June 4 at the Polo Field. In late May, he was offered the Aug. 27 date at smaller Sharon Meadow, pending permit approval, but that, too, was nixed when he allegedly violated terms dictated by Rec and Park staff not to announce the event.

Hughston hopes to state his case to the full Rec and Park Commission at an upcoming meeting. He said he has been organizing the anniversary concert for two years and at no time was informed by Rec and Park staff that it was working on its own Summer of Love event. The first he had heard of it was when contacted by The Chronicle on Wednesday.

“There is some irony there,’’ said San Francisco attorney Angela Alioto, who offered to represent Hughston and his volunteer organization, the Council of Light.

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Photo: Sons of Champlin of SF played at the 30th anniversary of Summer of Love. TIM KAO, PHOTOG AND SOURCE

The Grand Lighting and Surrealistic Summer Solstice is expected to attract a few thousand people and is being privately funded, Ginsburg said. Space is limited, so free reservations are encouraged via www.eventbrite.com. As of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, there were still 9,178 reservations available, which suggests capacity is at least 10,000.

Though the Conservatory has been lighted for single events, this is the first time it will be lit as its own artwork for an extended period.

“We’ve been working on this for four to five months,” Ginsburg said. “We think it is an amazing artistic opportunity to do something special at the conservatory and celebrate the Summer of Love.”

Ginsburg said that “there is no person who owns the Summer of Love” and that the larger concert planned by Hughston is just one among 57,000 applications to use the park each year.

Dawn Holliday, the longtime booking agent who organizes the music for the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival at Golden Gate Park in October, is curating the lineup, which is being billed as an “almost four-hour jam” with members of Bob Weir’s RatDog and Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Family Band, and Moonalice.

Holliday confirmed that David Freiberg, bassist and vocalist for Quicksilver, would play, as would Jack Cassady of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, and two of the Chambers Brothers. Norman Greenbaum is set to sing “Spirit in the Sky.”

The stage will be set up in front of the Conservatory of Flowers, with audience members invited to wear tie-dye and mingle among food trucks for what organizers are envisioning as a “street party” on John F. Kennedy Drive, which will be closed to traffic all day.

The lighting of the conservatory was initiated by Ben Davis of Illuminate, who was also behind the Bay Lights, and co-produced by Obscura Digital. The switch will be thrown on at 9:15 p.m., with the lighting event lasting for about 10 or 15 minutes. The light show will run nightly from sundown to midnight through October.

“The Summer of Love symbolizes the free spirit of San Francisco and a generation of civic rebellion,” said former Mayor Willie Brown, in a statement. “This is exactly why the city of San Francisco should take the lead in organizing the event to once again demonstrate the same fortitude our city has today, just as we did in the 1960s.”

Read entire article here

PS Moonalice is one of our independent musical artists now playing on No Lies Radio–tune in.

Posted by Teri Perticone

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