Hippies in the 60’s

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The Hippy movement in the 1960’s

During the 1960’s a counterculture emerged again to take drugs, rebel against the establishment and to protest against the government. This counterculture was called the hippy movement; the hippy movement didn’t start in the 1960’s and can be traced back to the late 1800’s. The hippy movement attempted to bring change and its fashion, music and lifestyle moved around the world.

The catalyst for change happened in 1940 when America had seen two wars and a depression, people wanted to get out of the society and responsibilities placed on them and they let their frustration out in poetry. Then in the 1950s coffee houses started to open where these people could just hang out and share ideas. Beatniks were the first hippies and they came from these coffee houses they wore old and dirty clothes and sunglasses constantly. Beatniks used the phrase “I’m hip” so some people called them hipsters this name slowly changed to hippies.

The hippy culture in the sixties helped protest the war and support the black power, feminist and other movements. The hippies started their protests and tree hugging ways in Berkeley and they helped in the sit-ins for equality of rights for white and black people and other protest movements. The hippy movement let people get away from main stream society and let them protest issues that they agreed with. It showed people that they didn’t need to conform and they didn’t need to all fit into the same mould you could be an individual and share the love.

Some of the main musical events for the hippies during the 1960s were San Francisco’s summer of love (1967) and Woodstock (1969). San Francisco’s summer of love spread the fashion and culture of the hippies all over the country. Thousands of young people flocked to San Francisco and when they went home they took fashion and lifestyle ideas back with them spreading the culture even further. Woodstock was the other great musical event of the sixties for the hippies, it gathered over 500,000 people that came from all over the country to listen to music from great performers like Hendrix and The Who. Only four people died and they were all from accidents, this showed the country that a large number of people could get together in harmony.

Sadly though when you think of Hippies now you also think of drugs, Hippies brought the drugs with them when they travelled, they used drugs like LSD and marijuana and they teamed these drugs with psychedelic rock. The Hippies used harder drugs like heroin and amphetamines but the hippies condemned these drugs from their addictive and harmful properties. Ken Kesey was one person encouraging the recreational use of psychedelic drugs, he and his Merry Pranksters would travel the country in an old bus setting up things called “Acid Tests” which were just big parties that you would ingest a lot of LSD. These “Acid Tests” were set up in public places and at musical events; the people at the party would take LSD often without any knowledge of it. Ken Kesey called this an experiment and thought that People should encounter their worst fears while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.

Hippies travelled a lot and they learned to travel light, living out of a small bag with only a couple changes of clothes (if that). They didn’t care how they got from destination to destination and other Hippy homes where open to them staying the night. People in that decade were more cooperative in helping you get what you wanted or where you wanted. In 1963 Phyllis and Ron Patterson got the idea of going to Southern and Northern California during the summer and the fall, to a renaissance faire to sell home made goods. So in the fall and summer months families would truck or bus to renaissance fairs in their home crafted buses. One of the most famous Hippy buses was made by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, it was an old 1939 International Harvester school bus and they made it for a journey across America from La Honda to New York, for the release of Ken Kesey’s second book Sometimes a Great Notion. The Merry Pranksters and Kesey fitted the bus out for sleeping and eating, they even turned the roof into a stage and played music as they drove through towns. Then they painted some wild psychedelic art on it and named it “further”

The Hippy movement was great during the 1960’s because it showed people that change was good and the Hippy movement also helped other movements in protests and the like. The Hippy movement seems to have disappeared for the moment but I am wondering where it will pop up next.


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