The hippie subculture started its development as a youth movement in the U.S. during the early 60’s. Since its initial spark, the movement started sprouting all over the world, and soon enough made history through its one of a kind culture. The integration of a nature-hugging and harmony-embracing energy created a generation of chose love over war and turned to music and dance to express their emotions. From the way they dressed to the jargon in which they spoke, the hippie movement taught the globe what it means to explore your soul artistically and how to embrace communal living. In the name of love, we have gathered photos of one of the most fascinating social movements in the history of humankind.
From June 16 to June 18, 1967, the Monterey Pop Festival in San Francisco presented the rock music of the counterculture to a broad audience and noted the start of the “Summer of Love.”
The hit single “San Francisco,” contained the following lyrics: “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” This single line inspired thousands of people from all over the world to travel to San Francisco with flowers in their hair, earning them the name, “Flower Children.”
Lazy And Spoiled
Hippies were not firm believers of working in endless jobs where they did not feel as though they were living up to their fullest potential. All wanted to live happily and not become workaholic slaves.
Because of this, many youngsters from the movement ended up being unemployed. Since they needed money for food and accommodation, they often resolved to panhandle for some spare change. This gave the impression that hippies were lazy and were not willing to make a decent living out of hard work.
Although tie-dye techniques were used in Western fashion before the 60’s, modern psychedelic tie-dying did not become a trend until then, since rock stars like Janis Joplin and John Sebastian (who took pride in doing his own dyeing) rocked their own tie-dyed garments.
Tie-dying became popular among hippies since it offered a cheap and accessible method to customize inexpensive T-shirts, dresses, jeans, singlets, army surplus clothing, and many other garments into psychedelic creations. These items were also sold in music festivals.
Religion Was Embraced
There is a common misconception that those who considered themselves a part of the hippie movement were not into religion or believed in any Christian views, but this is far from being true.
If anything, they used the religion they were brought into to justify the fact there is kindness in the world. The girl in the picture below can clearly be seen embracing the hippie vibes while wearing a cross around her neck. For many, this combination made the most sense.
The 60’s brought us tie-dye fashion, sit-ins, and plenty of recreational substance usage. It seemed nearly impossible to find one hippie who did not smoke, and even Harvard professor Timothy Leary urged the world to try the illegal act.
Some might argue that era was the heyday of illicit substance usage – but history suggests otherwise. Still, products of such nature could be found just about anywhere and for a ridiculous price. Since many sought different ways to spice up their experience in musical festivals, they often turned to substances too.
Community Like No Other
Drop City was referred to as “a counterculture artists’ community” that was formed in southern Colorado back in 1965.
It did not take long for the community to become known as the first ever rural “hippie community,” since its point was to be “forever free and open to all people.” This accepting nature was a unique idea but sadly was abandoned by the early 70’s. Inspired by the Drop City commune, COMUNE opened a gallery space dedicated to Drop City in the Los Angeles area in 2010.
No Harm No Foul
The hippie movement has historical precedents that go as far back as the Mazdakist movement in Persia. The Mazdakist leader, Persian reformer Mazdak, was an advocate of vegetarianism among aspects like communal living, the sharing with of resources, and free love.
For this reason, many hippies turned to vegetarianism and veganism – they refused to lead a life in which they were making a conscious decision to continuously hurt other living creatures, let alone eat them. Leather and fur were also banned from their choice of wearable garments.
The day San Francisco’s Fox Theater went out of business, it was the hippies who took it as a personal mission to make sure it relives forever. Many purchased whatever was left from the costume stock, frolicking in the freedom to dress up for their musical performances.
Ralph J. Gleason, San Francisco Chronicle‘s music columnist, put it best by saying that the hippies: “danced all night long, orgiastic, spontaneous and completely free form.” The duo in the picture below can be seen celebrating just that.
The Merry Pranksters, a group considered one of the most prominent figures in the psychedelic movement, are remembered principally for the sociological significance of a long road trip they took in 1964, as they traveled across the United States in a psychedelically painted school bus enigmatically marked “Further.”
The photo below is not of that bus, but it goes to show the great effect it had on hippies back in the day, who wanted to mirror their favorite artists’ careless fashion.
The 50’s and decades that preceded it had an entirely different image of the way women should look than the typical hippie appearance that followed the next decade.
Instead of puffy skirts, perfect measurements and every single hair standing in place (thanks to ridiculous amounts of hairspray) came simple, loose garments, unwashed heads and excessive accessorizing. Color coordinating was no longer a thing. A general notion had spread that materialism and vanity were interlinked with the judgment of what the other was wearing, so many wore whatever they saw fit.
Family Of Gods
Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip was the world’s first ever health food restaurants. Diners like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Marlon Brando and Warren Beatty visited the spot regularly – but had no idea that the same place that offered organic vegetarian food was operated by the charismatic Father Yod.
The man simultaneously acted as a spiritual leader for the radical Source Family and preached highly controversial teachings. His “family” members were the ones waiting on people at the mega-popular health food eatery while wearing marvelous hippie attire resembling goddess gowns and robes.
Gay And Here To Stay
Often referred to as the “carnal revolution,” the 60’s were a period of profound societal change, as many politically inclined individuals sought to alter the status quo.
Homosexuality was one of the main topics on the daily agenda, and it was clear that change needed to be done – people had to learn how to be more accepting of those who are different to them, instead of fearing the unknown. Additionally, the urge to “find oneself” was expressed by those who repressed their tendencies, enabling many to “out” themselves.
Neo-hippies are mostly offsprings of original hippies, and therefore are advocates of the same beliefs of their 60’s counterparts. Recreational substance use, however, is not considered necessary by neo-hippies, as they don’t perceive it to be a crucial feature of the hippie lifestyle.
In fact, many claimed the abstinence from it enabled them to reach higher consciousness through drumming circles, community singing, meditation, yoga, and dance. On April 20 (also referred to as the celebrated 4/20), many neo-hippies gather at “Hippie Hill” in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
There was something about the era that felt as rare, one of a kind.
Although many hippies wanted to believe the faith that love and peace truly could conquer all would seep into people’s hearts in the long run, there was no denying this time had to be documented somehow. It was around this decade that color film was used more often by individuals, as before then it was relatively expensive. The girl seen holding a camera in the picture below wanted to document her movement.
Climate change might be a topic that has rose in awareness in the last several years, but the truth the hippie movement was very green-aware from the get-go.
They took pride in the fact they rode their bicycles everywhere, took long walks and shared communal buses whenever there was a need for a long trip – and all for the sake of watching over good ‘ol planet Earth. Additionally, hippies were not big on personal possessions, which why they preferred to socialize in their journies rather than purchase a private vehicle.
Dog Eat Dog
It seems like these days trust does not come by easily.
In the business world, it is very common for people to perceive their workplace as a contest-turned-battlefield, a “dog eat dog” surrounding where they need to be on top to survive. But back in the 60’s, there was no such thing as looking out for yourself. Community meant everything – and if you were to help out a friend in need, you could be certain one day they’ll do the same for you.
No Day But Today
On May 12, 1968, the newly established Poor People’s Campaign began right after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The event was meant to take place in a shantytown known as Resurrection City, which composed of about 3,000 native, black, and Latino militants, along with a notable contingent of hippies who settled on the National Mall in Washington, DC. This campaign resulted in the “Solidarity Day” protest, which drew 55,000 protesters. The protest was finally overturned, after almost six weeks by 1,000 riot police using tear gas.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organization which was founded in 1966 in New York City by leader A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The man was worshipped by followers and perceived as a Guru as well as a spiritual master.
The ISKCON core beliefs are based on select traditional scriptures, made to spread the practice of bhakti yoga. As of 2017, ISKCON is a worldwide confederation of over 850 temples and centers, including 60 farm communities, 50 schools, and 90 restaurants.
While many decided to go on a self-discovery journey by themselves or with random strangers they accompanied, some thought it would be nice to travel around the country and hop from one music festival to another with their siblings.
The two people seen in the picture below went to their first hippie festival together and thought it would be a good idea since they did not know if they would like it or not. It’s safe to say that they did and returned many times after this one.
Singer-songwriter Janis Lyn Joplin was one of the most flourishing and widely-known female rock stars of her time. Joplin rose to fame in the late 60’s when she was the lead singer of the psychedelic band Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Later, she sprang her solo career singing with her own backing groups called The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band. Joplin was one of the major performers at the Woodstock festival, but sadly, she died young at the age of 27.
Happy Ever After
It was not rare for people who attended the music festivals to find love – in fact, hippies believed in all their hearts that by giving out free love, they would be bound to receive such endearment from the rest of the world.
Of course, not all of the relationships that began within the hippie movement resulted in marriage (or even a long-term relationship), but for some, it was a fantastic way to meet someone they had mutual grounds with.
Intimacy was not seen in a way that was acceptable in the past during the 60’s and 70’s. Whenever someone appeared to be of a “more free spirit” regarding matters of the bedroom, they would be shunned by society.
Promiscuity was frowned upon since the former generation was brought up in a society that swore by the notion of banning premarital engagement of such sort. This was one of the many reasons hippies were seen as a nuisance to society by the general public.
By 1968, hippie-influenced trends were beginning to penetrate the mainstream scene as well.
Children and teens of the dense “Baby Boomer” generation aspired to imitate the movement, so they moved into tribalistic communes, despite not having any apparent connection to them. This was marked by the use of looser clothes and long hair for men as well as art, film, music, and literature. All over the world people followed the hirsute hippie fashion while adorned with flowers, beads, feathers, and bells.
The Power Of A Flower
The girl in the picture had enough of having to fight power with power. She had tried to tell the police officers several times that she was only offering one thing – to reconcile and make peace – but the law enforcers did not know how to handle her claims.
They only knew they were not to act unless they were given strict orders to do so, which is why they can be seen standing unsure. If you look closely, you’ll see the officers won’t even look the girl in the eye.
Fight The Fight
Many diverse groups and elements protested the United States’ military involvement in Vietnam as it began to intensify.
It was at this point many of the protesters became allied with viewpoints of the hippie movement, calling out messages of peace and love. A significant number of citizens became highly active in the Civil Rights Movement during the first half of the 60’s and even went as far as to travel across the country to take part in sit-ins and marches against segregation in the South.
Entirely Different Time
From the way they dressed to the jargon they used, the hippie movement taught the globe how to embrace community instead of pursuing happiness through selfish materialism.
So much of our daily speech was adopted from this fascinating group. Just think about how many words you use on a daily basis that originated with the hippies. In addition, they also pioneered many important principals in our way of thinking. It’s about time they got the credit they deserve.
To This Day
The end of the Vietnam War brought change to trending countercultures and hippies became ridiculed for their irrelevancy. The mainstream media also lost interest in the movement and made room for the advent of punk rock and disco.
Although it’s not as visible as it once was, the hippie culture never fully died. In fact, neo-hippies can still be found roaming around college campuses, on communes, and at festivals, as the values of peace, love, and community continue to motivate those who oppose to materialism found in the corporate world.
Sharing Is Caring
Living in communes was urged by those in the hippie movement, since the more you shared, the less you cared about meaningless possessions.
In general, the whole concept of communal-living meant you were emotionally opening yourself up for having an alternative family consisting of people who are much different from you, thus meaning you were very accepting of the other. While some shared tents or apartments, others (mostly those who wanted to travel together with no strings attached) lived together on buses.
The round sunglasses seen in many of the photos taken from the 60’s and 70’s were greatly inspired by singer John Lennon since he always wore those frames.
The English songwriter and peace activist co-founded the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music – The Beatles. Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr rose to worldwide fame during the 60’s, and ten years later Lennon went his own way. His signature song, “Imagine,” was written as a plea for world peace – something hippies easily related to.
Come Rain Or Sunshine
Woodstock, officially known as The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, took place on a dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains of southern New York State in August of 1969.
More than 400,000 people attended perhaps the most talked about and celebrated music festival of all times, and it’s not hard to understand why. Even when the weather betrayed the people who attended the festival and began to rain cats and dogs, there was no stopping them from partying even harder. Come rain or sunshine, these people were staying put.