The Elysian Park Love-In Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary This Sunday
Beginning at 4:30 a.m. this Sunday, a commemorative celebration will be held at the Section 9 picnic area of Elysian Park to remember the Easter Sunday "Love-In" that took place there 50 years ago.
"The ceremony will be carefully prepared in accordance with the movements of the sun and the metaphysical doctrines of the Spring equinox," the Los Angeles Free Press wrote ahead of the original event in 1967. "As the morning turns to afternoon, the parkgrounds will become alive with thousands of beautiful people exchanging simple gifts (apples, oranges, incense, etc.), listening to music, moving around ceremonial tents, breathing deeply, digging life, and loving each other."
Almost sounds like that other festival happening this weekend.
“What I remember most—the picture that remains most vivid in this then-ten-year-old’s mind—was a sea of candlelight,” said Benjamin Kidwell Lein, who attended the 1967 love-in as a 10-year-old, reports The Eastsider. “An ocean of light as the few hundred early arrivals filled the fields at sunrise.” Lein is organizing this year's event.
“There was, as you can imagine, a lot of candles and incense and music and dancing," he continued. "And weed. The Vietnam war was escalating, so there were a lot of stalwart anti-war activists like the venerable General Hershey Bar. Hoyt Axton sat under a tree playing his guitar and singing. There were a couple of Monkees around. That’s the band, by the way. ...There was a 20’ tall ankh. There were Mandalas. The Strawberry Alarm Clock played. People had their faces painted. Lots of people got high. And then went home…Given the daily dose of seemingly insurmountable political and cultural violence heaped upon us on a daily basis, maybe a little peace and love wouldn’t be such a bad thing.”
True to the spirit of the Free Love era, the event doesn't have a Facebook page or any kind of social media promo page. We're assuming the event is free—as Lein noted to the Eastsider, the public and "fellow travelers" are both welcomed.
Documentarian Les Blank captured footage of the 1967 event in his documentary God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance. Here's a clip of that documentary along with other clips from that day.