Jul 24, 2019

August 6, 1967: Place Ville Marie, Montreal, Quebec

The Jefferson Airplane and Greatful Dead from the West Coast will be on the plaza of Place Ville Marie for a "Love In" hosted by Buddy Gee of CKGM tomorrow afternoon. 

(from "The Teen Beat" by Dave Gist, the Montreal Gazette, 5 August 1967)


After a day of confusion during which Expo's controversial Youth Day seemed ready to turn into a ripe old mess, it now appears that everything will go on as scheduled tomorrow...[including] the afternoon peace rally. [ . . . ]
[There was much confusion over the Youth Day schedule.] Schedules for tomorrow's events [are] not yet available [ . . . ] 
It was learned that radio station CKGM is holding a musical "love-in" on the plaza of Place Villa Marie tomorrow at the same time as the peace rally. 
The PVM affair is to feature two top recording groups in person - the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. There were some mutterings that the show was intended to draw youngsters away from the peace session. [ . . . ]
One high-ranking Expo official laid the blame [for the scheduling delays] squarely on the organization which emanates from the Youth Pavilion.
"The whole thing is running hog-wild," the official said. "The Youth Pavilion people have been off in a little world of their own, refusing to cooperate with corporation people through the usual channels. [ . . . ]
"Now they're trying to cram three days' worth of activities into one special day - no wonder they're running into problems." [ . . . ]
Youth Day festivities will begin at Place des Nations at 9:30 a.m. There will be singing by folksinger Gordon Lightfoot, a number of speakers...a minute's silence for the victims of all wars, and the unleashing of a flock of doves. Other entertainment also is scheduled. 

(from the Montreal Gazette, 5 August 1967)

* * * 

An estimated 25,000 hippies, teeny-boppers, adults and squares showed up at Place Ville Marie yesterday - and all had one thing in common - they were in the mood for love. It was Montreal's first large-scale love-in. Yesterday everything went off on a harmonious note - to the tunes of the San Francisco based bands, The Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. And while a good many of the crowd appeared passive, at least two decided that love-ins can be more than platonic affairs.
(Story, page 3.)

Flower Children Gather

The love message flooded the heart of Montreal yesterday.
And with it, North America's hippie movement, with its rallying cry of "Make Love Not War," firmly established itself here with the city's biggest-ever love-in.
The youthful hippies gathered at Place Ville Marie plaza where California bands called the Jefferson Airplane and the Greatful Dead provided participants with "music to love by."
Thousands of hip-for-the-day tourists and ordinary citizens joined the "flower children," swelling the crowd to about 25,000, according to one PVM official. One of the numerous policemen assigned to keep the peace at the love-in put the figure at 20,000.
Hundreds of young persons, wearing garlands of flowers in their hair and with flowers painted on their hands, feet, legs, and faces, listened passively as electronic music echoed through the plaza and the skyscraper canyon.
They wore beads, bangles, and bells while their shirts carried assorted slogans exhorting everyone to "Love."
Some danced with their reflections in the building windows, but for the most part they just stood around, tossing flowers and streamers. Conga lines wended their way through the huge throng at intervals.
"This is the strangest thing," one elderly gentleman commented. "What happened to the hysterical teenagers who used to storm the Beatles and Rolling Stones?"
The passivity of the crowd was remarkable, and one policeman appeared openly confused when a pretty teenaged girl offered him a flower.
Many of those at PVM yesterday participated in the Fletchers' Field love-in two months ago, which was broken up when mounted police charged into the crowd.
Police were roundly criticized at that time, but the hippies advocated "flower power" to win them over to the cause.

(by Nick Auf der Maur, from the Montreal Gazette, 7 August 1967)

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkQeOyyyKV8 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

1 comment:

  1. Taking a little break from 1971 today for a trip back to 1967...

    Like most of the Dead's free outdoor concerts, this one attracted mainstream newspaper coverage, including pictures of girls with 'Make Love Not War' signs and lovers in the crowd. And as usual, the music gets less attention than the large gathering of strange young hippies.
    The reporter seems puzzled by the "passivity" of the crowd who are just quietly listening to the music rather than, say, shrieking and storming the bands like the girls of yore.
    It's ironic to read about a peaceful Canadian love-in "which was broken up when mounted police charged into the crowd." This time the police seem to have had no trouble "keeping the peace," despite being confused by the flowers.

    Phil Lesh was struck by the sound "bouncing from the walls" as they played amidst the high-rises, and also by the "disproportionate number of stunning young women."
    Journalist Nick Auf der Maur later became a Montreal politician, and the father of musician Melissa Auf der Maur.

    The two bands would play another free show at Expo 67 later that day, but I didn't find any newspaper report of that appearance, or even any mention that they would play there. The Gazette announced, "Sunday is Youth Day at Expo 67 and organizers have promised that they'll cram 50 hours of non-stop action into 24... The Youth Pavilion...will be the focal point of the activities, and the events will run from a discussion of peace in the world to singing and dancing. The principal theme of the day is 'Youth, Happiness and Peace.'"
    Expo 67 was a months-long world's fair held in Montreal that year, with several pavilions holding multiple events each week. It's little wonder the Airplane/Dead show at the Youth Pavilion wasn't covered by the press, since there were literally dozens of talks, plays, performances, dances, ceremonies, and concerts taking place all weekend. The Gazette's coverage of the day on the 7th mainly focused on speeches and pageants and a peace march. Given the number of events scheduled just at the Youth Pavilion that day, the two San Francisco bands probably had very little time to play there.
    Coincidentally, that afternoon the Youth Pavilion hosted a forum on hippies; one of the speakers was Paul Krassner. "When asked what will happen to hippiedom in 20 years, Krassner envisaged hippy mayors, hippy ice cream, copyright 'hippy books,' and legalized marijuana."