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Published: 2017/02/16

San Francisco’s Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Concert Canceled

Last month, a free concert was announced for June 4 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love “Human Be-In” that took place in 1967 and helped kick off the counterculture movement of the late ’60s, but now, the city’s Recreation and Park Department has announced the event’s permit has been denied, citing lack of preparedness on the part of concert organizers.

As SFGate reports, concert promoter Boots Hughston was officially notified of the denial earlier this week, although he had previously expressed he was under the impression the permit was “all but assured.” Rec and Park permit manager Diane Rea issued the denial letter, saying that not enough information about security and expected attendance was provided by Hughston in preparation for the event and that event medical providers cited by Hughston had not agreed to support the event as he had said.

Hughston, for his part, claims that he in fact did provide the necessary information but was ignored by the city department. “This is a character assassination on me all the way down the line,” the promoter tells SFGate. “I’ve been doing shows for 40 years, and they’re acting like I’ve never done anything,” Hughston said. Rock Medicine, the medical organization that Rea said wasn’t aware of the event, apparently was prepared to help out as Hughston claimed. “We support the Summer of Love 100 percent,” Rock Medicine director Gordon Oldham says, noting that when the city reached out they did not ask about them speaking with Hughston at all.

“The Summer of Love was a cultural event that changed the world,” Hughston says. “So for them to want to stop it blows my mind.” One of the acts Hughston had lined up for the concert, Country Joe McDonald, thinks the denial is a sign of the times in the concert industry. “It’s the Summer of Money,” McDonald says. “I’m sure if Boots could pay the amount of money that Outside Lands gives the city he would have the permit in his hands right now.”

Hughston says he will appeal the denial with the Recreation and Park Commission.

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