Summer Of Love: Down But Not Out

The Summer of Love seems not to be aging well if the war of words between the City of San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department and event producer Boots Hughston is any indication.

‘Summer Of Love’
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.

The commission on June 15 denied an appeal by Hughston of its latest decision to refuse a permit for a free Summer of Love 50th anniversary concert in the city’s Golden Gate Park, this time on Aug. 27. It previously denied a permit to Hughston for an event in June, with the suggestion he reapply.

He did, requesting the August date, only to be denied again. With the latest rejection of that appeal, Hughston told Pollstar that the Recreation & Parks Commission once again told him to try again. So he will.

Hughston, a longtime San Francisco event producer, has staged numerous events in the park and elsewhere. He’s produced concerts and events commemorating Summer of Love and Woodstock anniversaries, as well as a memorial for late concert promoter Chet Helms of The Family Dog, reggae festivals and other events through his company 2b1 Productions.

But the parks and rec commission cited “unresolved safety, transportation and legal issues,” yet again denying Hughston a permit, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, though the 4-2 vote was an improvement on the previous 6-0 rejection.

With the backing of a local organization of artists, concert production veterans, and other supporters called the Council of Light, Hughston intends to stage the Summer of Love concert using all donated performances, equipment, staging, light and sound, “because [artists and crews] want to make a statement that there are more important things in life than money. There are principles that are extremely important and what the Summer of Love was all about.”

Hughston suspects the problem isn’t about safety, transportation or legal issues at all but, rather, what he perceives as the city’s antipathy to “non-corporate” events in Golden Gate Park.

He told Pollstar he also believed his permit was denied, in part, because Recreation & Parks planned its own, free “Surrealistic Summer Solstice” event June 21 at Golden Gate Park’s Conservatory of Flowers that included a concert and light show.

“These people are against a large event with hip people celebrating the Summer of Love; they don’t want us to do it,” Hughston said. “I have a meeting with rec and parks this coming Tuesday (June 27). I’ve already submitted another permit application; it’s in the process right now.”

Hughston is prepared to push the Summer of Love into September if necessary but acknowledges the park calendar gets crowded between Outside Lands (Aug. 11-13) and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Oct. 6-8) festivals.