Rare Footage Of 1967's Human Be-In Festival In Golden Gate Park

Rare Footage Of 1967's Human Be-In Festival In Golden Gate Park
Image: still from Human Be-In
By Amy Stephenson - Published on September 29, 2014.
Before there was Outside Lands, before Hardly Strictly, yes, even before 420 celebrations became annual fetes, people still found reasons to congregate in Golden Gate Park to do drugs and have drum circles.

We found this incredible and rare footage on openculture.com of an event called The Human Be-In that is cited as having inspired typical counter-culture gatherings of the time. They credit local journalist Steve Silberman with digging it up. It's long but worth it: 

The Be-In is also credited with designating the Haight as the defacto epicenter of the hippie movement during the summer of love. You can read all about the Be-In over here, but basically, about 30,000 people gathered, the guy responsible for the Grateful Dead's dancing bears distributed LSD en masse (really), The Diggers provided food, and all the regular suspects were present and accounted for: Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, the Grateful Dead, Jerry Ruben, Ram Dass, and more. It sort of laid the groundwork for the neighborhood to be what it is today, so it's worth a watch. 

But just in case, highlights include:

  • Sweeping panoramas of the Polo Grounds literally covered in human beings
  • People toting around actual toddlers
  • At about 6:45, a child finds himself onstage, and Allen Ginsberg politely asks for his parents to step forward and "come and take him"
  • Toward the end, the litter and general detritus rivals any festival we'd have today
  • And finally, in what feels like an appropriate place to end, about 8:30, you can watch Allen Ginsberg (he starts about about 5:00) chant over and over again, "this is really it and it is all perfect." Amen.