In July of 1967, Time Magazine ran a cover story, "The Hippies: Philosophy of a Subculture." In August, CBS News broadcast a special report, “The Temptation of the Hippie.” The world discovered that Flower Power was often fueled by marijuana and LSD, bringing more crowds, and lots of unwanted attention from the law. By October, the Haight seemed played out, and a bunch of locals staged a mock “funeral for the Hippie” in Golden Gate Park. They declared the hippie dead, killed by greed, commercialism and media exposure.
They couldn't have been more wrong.
The media attention may have crushed the scene, but like Gallagher's sledgehammer on a watermelon, the blow also scattered seeds. Less than a month later, Eric Burdon & The Animals released “Monterey,” a single lionizing the festival, declaring that “religion was being born” there. The concert film that followed in 1968 helped nurture that new faith. The hippie's now-signature syncretic stew contained chemically-inspired mysticism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Transcendentalism, neo-Pagan Earth worship, and a tangle of the philosophies that would come to be called New Age, all wrapped in a famously unkempt, middle-class baiting anti-fashion.
Still, what's amazing about hippies isn’t how much they've changed. It's how much they haven't, especially as society has changed around them. Their musical tastes may be a bit broader, and there's undeniably a scary leap from smoking weed to snorting ketamine. But in terms of belief systems and the styles that represent them, there's a remarkable continuity from the first Flower Power crowd at Monterey and the third generation throngs who'll be at Phish's three-day Super Ball IX festival over 4th of July weekend. And, as the tie-dye wearing toddlers who'll also be in that crowd will demonstrate, the Millennials are already working on a Hippie 4G.
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