Hippies in the sun

In the late 60’s long-haired, beaded, and tie-dyed flower children brought their drugs, incense, guitars and peace symbols to the South Florida surf. The Hippie movement had finally reached Miami. Coconut Grove, known for its laid-back attitude,  became the gathering place for the counterculture. On any given day one could find Hippies smoking pot in Bayfront Park, exploring Indian religion at the Yoga Temple on Mary Street or listening to the Lovin’ Spoonful at the Gaslight on Grand Avenue. Greynolds Park in North Miami was the site for an Easter “love-in,” where 3,000 converged to protest the war in Vietnam and listen to Grateful Dead.  The Miami Pop Festival in 1968 event was touted as the first significant pop festival on the East Coast. Organized by Michael Lang, of Woodstock fame, the festival drew thousands of fans from all over the country. Jimmy Hendrix was the headliner.  Local police had their hands full during Miami’s Hippie heyday, dealing with complaints about befogged hippies who camped out uninvited in vacant lots, stole fruits from yards, littered parks, made love in public and urinated on trees. As the Vietnam war wound down so did the counterculture and the trappings of this very special yet brief cultural era have virtually disappeared from Miami.

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