War Of Words Over Summer Of Love

Plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary Summer of Love with a free concert in San Francisco have stalled out after city officials denied the promoter a permit.

AP Photo, file
– ‘Summer Of Love’
Hippies keep a large ball, painted to represent a world globe, in the air at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

A letter signed by San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department said promoter Boots Hughston made “numerous misrepresentations” regarding security and crowd control concerns and the permit was being denied based on his “unfortunate pattern of deception and misrepresentation.” 

Officials said Hughston advertised a crowd of 80,000 to 175,000 at the June 4 event, but said the crowd wouldn’t exceed 40,000 in the application, and had not adequately explained how he would handle security.

Hughston claimed he had received permission from the city to begin advertising a free concert in Golden Gate Park to mark the iconic summer of 1967.

He said that because he was not paying a large amount in permit fees for the free event, he was paying the price in character assassination.

“They’re going after my credibility, saying I lied to them which is totally untrue,” Hughston said. “To cancel this event is like slapping San Francisco in the face, and the rest of the world for that matter.”

Golden Gate Park annually hosts Outside Lands and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, the latter of which is free, so music in the park is not a groundbreaking concept, although the proposal to use Polo Field was less common.

Previous events Hughston has promoted at the park include a memorial to Chet Helms in 2005 and a 40th anniversary celebration of the Summer of Love.

Performers at the event would have included former members of the Santana Blues Band, Country Joe McDonald, Eric Burdon and War, and surviving members of Jefferson Airplane/Starship. Hughston was prepared to pay $700,000 for the free event, he told the San Francisco Chronicle, with $241,000 to go to local government.