Groovy SFO Airport celebrates 50th anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love’


Pretty much all of San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love’ with exhibits, festivals, tours and happenings.

And San Francisco International Airport – groovy as always – is no exception.

On Saturday, May 13, the city will be celebrating Flowers in your Hair Day” to honor the pop song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” that became a “flower-power anthem” for the hippie movement.

On that day, local radio stations will play the song at noon and flowers will be distributed at various spots throughout the city – including in Terminal 3 East at SFO.

At 11 a.m. United Airlines’ specially-numbered flight 1967 will arrive from Los Angeles – at Gate 67 – and  a path of flower decals will lead passengers to Madame Tussaud’s selfie-friendly figures of Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, and Jimi Hendrix.

The pups from the airport’s Wag Brigade will be on hand (wearing tie-dyed outfits) and, at 11:30 a.m., the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will perform the song of the day.

SFO’s Summer of Love celebration kicks off earlier, however, with the May 4 opening of SFO Museum’s exhibition of a dozen photographs taken by Elaine Mayes at the Monterey Pop Music Festival June 16-18, 1967. That festival helped launch the ‘Summer of Love’ and featured early performances by The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and others.

The exhibit “Elaine Mayes: It Happened in Monterey” is located post-security, near Gate 76 in Terminal 3, Boarding Area F through August 10, 2017.


Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey International Pop Festival, June 18, 1967. Photo: Elaine Mayes. Courtesy SFO Museum


Janis Joplin at Monterey Pop Festival. Photo by Elaine Mayes, Courtesy SFO Museum

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One thought on “Groovy SFO Airport celebrates 50th anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love’

  1. Rich McClear says:

    I have such strange feelings about the “summer of love.” While San Francisco was doing a love in I was working at WOR in New York. The summer of love started with the 6 day war and we were covering the fallout at the UN. Then Newark broke into riots and flames, with national guard and Browning Automatic Rifles. I spent hours cutting tape. Hard on its heels our sister station CKLW was sending reports of Detroit burning. In New York there were massive anti war demonstrations over Viet Nam. The left was split, there were the absolute pacifists against pro Israel lefties. And all through this we heard “Flowers in Their Hair.” I was engineering a Barry Farber show when a Zionist from Manhattan and a Hasidic Rabi from Brooklyn actually came to blows, the Zionist hitting the Hasidic Rabi over the head with a mic as I cleared the board and played a lot of commercials. in the next studio on the FM side Rosko Mercer was reading Gibran and trying to get a summer of love thing going in New York. Over on WBAI we had Neil Conan’s Viet Nam coverage, Bob Fass’ wonderful anarchy mixed with Steve Post’s and Larry Josephson’s wry irony. It was a summer, just not sure it was a summer of love. “The Summer of Love Experience?” It was an experience. I probably grew more in those three months than any other time in my life. Thanks for triggering these memories.

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