Through out history the world has seen some generations that have made an
impact more than all of its predecessors. The decade from 1960 to 1970 was
definitely one of those eras. The people didn't follow the teachings of its
elders, but rejected them for an alternative culture which was their very
own(Harris 14). Made up of the younger population of the time this new
culture was such a radical society that they were given their own name which
is still used today. They came to be called the Hippies. The Hippie
movement started in San Francisco, California and spread across the United
States, through Canada, and into parts of Europe (World Book). But it had its
greatest influence in America. During the 1960's a radical group called the
Hippies shocked America with their alternative lifestyle and radical
beliefs.
Hippies came from many different places and had many different backgrounds.
All Hippies were young, from the ages of 15 to 25(Worldbook). They left
their families and did it for many different reasons. Some rejected their
parents' ideas, some just wanted to get away, and others simply were
outcasts, who could only fit in with the Hippie population. "Under 25 became
a magical age, and young people all over the world were united by this bond"
(Harris 15). This bond was of Non-conformity and it was the "Creed of the
Young" (Harris 15). Most Hippies came from wealthy middle class families.
Some people said that they were spoiled and wasting their lives away. But to
Hippies themselves this was a way of life and no one was going to get in the
way of their dreams and ambitions.
Hippies flocked to a certain area of San Francisco on the corner of Haight
Street and Ashbury Street, where the world got their first view of this
unique group. This place came to be known as the Haight Ashbury District.
There were tours of the district and it was said that the tour "was the only
foreign tour within the continental limits of the United States" (Stern 147).
The Hippies were so different that the conservative middle class could not
relate to them and saw them as aliens. The Haight Ashbury district lies in
the very center of San Francisco. In the years of 1965 and 1966 the Hippies
took over the Haight Ashbury district(Cavan 49). There they lived and spread
their psychedelic theme through out the whole area. In the Haight Ashbury
district there were two parks that that all Hippies knew well. The most
famous of the two was the Golden Gate Park(Cavan 43). The single most
important event that put the Hippies on the map was held at the Golden Gate
Park. It was called the Trips Festival. The Trips Festival was a week long
festival designed to celebrate the LSD experience(Stern 148). Besides this
festival dozens of other events took place at Golden Gate Park, some of which
were free concerts by The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and Anti-War
rallies held by Hippie political leaders. The other park is called the Buena
Vista park and is known for housing hippies at night and for socializing
during the day.
As the 1960's progressed, the youth in America united. "In 1969 400,000
young people materialized for three dizzying days to listen to rock and blues
music, to wear funny clothing or no clothes at all, to talk, sing, dance,
clap hands, to drink beer or smoke pot and make love-but mostly to marvel
again and again that they were all there together" (This Fabulous Century
64). This festival was held in a small town in up-state New York and came to
be called Woodstock, after the town it was held in. Also in Greenwich
Village, New York Hippies had a place. The Village on every Sunday was known
to have hordes of singers with banjos and drums celebrating their youth
together(Stern 103).
One of the basic foundations of the Hippie movement was the flagrant use of
illegal drugs. There were many drugs that the Hippies used but none was more
used then marijuana. From 1960 to 1970 the number of Americans who had tried
marijuana had increased from a few hundred thousand to 8,000,000. The
majority of these new users were from 12 years old to college seniors(This
Fabulous Century 84). To some Hippies, drugs and music were the most
important aspects of their lives. Another drug that was prevalent in the
Hippie population was LSD. Some Hippies thought that "LSD puts you in touch
with your surroundings" (Cavan 114). But that was