Most of us have heard something about the “Summer of Love” either from our parents/grandparents who were around during that time or from history classes. The Summer of Love began on January 14th, 1967 with the Human Be-In, an event that gathered country-wide attention and droves of people to gather on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Polo Fields.

The psychedelic event

The Human Be-In could have been just a blip in a very eventful time, except for the sheer numbers of people that came, some from very far away, to attend the event. Reports from the time put the number of attendees at between 20 and 30 thousand people gathered together into the Haight-Ashbury district.

Ted Streshinsky/Corbis

The given reason for the Human Be-In event was the passing of a new law a few months earlier banning the use of popular psychedelic drug LSD. So much more than simple protesting happened there, however, making it a major event for the entire hippy movement and American counterculture.

“A Gathering of the Tribes”

Human Be-In had a secondary name as well; it was subtitled as “A Gathering of the Tribes.” It was called such because the event was also meant to gather together a range of mystics with beliefs in Eastern and Native American spirituality.

Queer Queries

Among the numerous political radicals, Marxists, pacifists, and musicians attending the event were other notable groups such as members of the famous motorcycle gang Hell’s Angels and an anarchistic theatre troupe known as The Diggers.

Famous attendees

Many famous and infamous people of the time were attracted by the popularity and culture surrounding the Human Be-In. These included famous speakers Timothy Leary (this event was the first place he said his famous “Turn on, tune in, drop out” phrase) and Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass).


Also headlining at the event was Allen Ginsberg, a famous poet. Ginsberg would later be quoted saying that the Human Be-In was “the last purely idealistic hippie event.”