Hippie culture burst onto the scene in the 1960s, a time of intense change and upheaval in America. It was a fascinating subculture that embraced peace, love, and a laid-back lifestyle, and its impact on American society is still felt today. So, let’s dive into 12 little-known facts about hippie culture:
Hippie equals Hipster: The term “hippie” originated in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco in the mid-1960s. It was a playful nod to the “hipster” term popularized in the 1940s, and it was used to describe the counterculture youth who frequented the area.
Flower Power: Hippies were known for their distinctive fashion choices, which included bell-bottoms, tie-dye shirts, and sandals. They also sported flowers in their hair, which became a symbol of the flower power movement.
Woodstock wasn’t in Woodstock: The Woodstock music festival in upstate New York was a pivotal moment for the hippie movement. Over 400,000 people flocked to the festival in 1969, where they enjoyed performances from iconic musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who. Interestingly enough, the concert did not take place in the town of Woodstock, NY, but 50 miles down the road near the town of Bethel, NY, where a cattle farmer allowed the organisers to use a large piece of his farm land.
Make Love Not War: The Vietnam War was a significant catalyst for the hippie movement. Many young people were opposed to the war and became involved in anti-war protests and demonstrations, which helped fuel the counterculture movement.
San Fransico: The Summer of Love, which occurred in 1967, was a cultural phenomenon that drew thousands of hippies to San Francisco. The atmosphere was one of experimentation, with many people exploring drugs like LSD and marijuana.
Tripping with The Greatful Dead: The Grateful Dead, a band that formed in San Francisco in 1965, became synonymous with the hippie movement. Their music and concerts were renowned for their trippy visuals and improvisational style.
All You Need is Love: The Beatles were also influential in the hippie movement. Their music and message of peace and love resonated with young people around the world and became a defining part of the era’s soundtrack.
The VW Mini bus: The Volkswagen Type 2, also known as the “hippie van,” was a popular mode of transportation for hippies. The van’s spacious interior made it perfect for road trips and camping, and its distinctive look became a symbol of the movement.
Drug fuelled roadtrip: The Merry Pranksters, led by author Ken Kesey, embarked on a wild cross-country bus trip in 1964. The trip, documented in Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, involved LSD-fueled parties and impromptu performances and became a defining moment of the era.
Let’s go to Afghanistan!: The Hippie Trail was a popular route for young people traveling from Europe to Asia in the 1960s and 1970s. The trail went through countries like Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and India, and was a way for hippies to experience new cultures and spiritual practices.
Free Speech: The Free Speech Movement, which emerged at the University of California, Berkeley in the mid-1960s, was a precursor to the hippie movement. It was a protest against the university’s restrictions on political speech and became a rallying cry for civil rights and free speech.
Political Hippies: The Yippies, or Youth International Party, were a political group that emerged in the late 1960s. They were known for their theatrical protests, which often involved street theater and performance art, and helped push for political change during the era.
In conclusion, the hippie movement was a dynamic and transformative subculture that emerged during a pivotal moment in American history. The impact of the movement on American society was profound. It paved the way for a more liberal and tolerant culture, and its influence can still be seen today in music, fashion, art and our society at large. The movement’s message of peace, love, and acceptance still resonates with people around the world today, and its legacy continues to influence the cultural landscape in myriad ways. Whether you’re a fan of tie-dye shirts or just appreciate the art and music that came out of the era, there’s no denying that hippie culture was a defining moment in American history.