Jul 6, 2015

July 2, 1967: El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA


The newly merged Free University of Palo Alto and the Experiment will climax a week-long registration drive Sunday with a Be-in festival.
The Be-in, scheduled for 1 p.m. at El Camino Park, across from the Stanford Shopping Center, will feature four bands, dancing, and possibly a free dinner.
The dinner may be provided by the Diggers, but no definite plans have been made.
The Grateful Dead, the Anonymous Artists of America, the New Delhi River Band, and the Good Word are among the bands expected to participate in the Sabbath fracas.
Be-in sponsors have promised group activities, including improvisational dancing and possible sensory awareness exercises. 
In addition, the seminar leaders of the various Experiment-Free University summer courses will be introduced.
The Experiment and the Free University merged last week due to their similar views of the radical community, according to the Experiment's coordinator, Barry Greenberg. Both groups are participating in the registration drive. The Free University was established about two years ago and The Experiment was established on campus last September.  [ . . .]
Sunday’s Be-in will be the second of the year for the Palo Alto area, following the one held during spring quarter. Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, has become famous during the past year for its Sunday afternoon Be-ins. 

(from the Stanford Daily, 30 June 1967) 

* * *  


Sunday the Free University and The Experiment staged their Mary Poppins Umbrella Festival and Be-In at Palo Alto Park from 1 to 6 p.m.
The action started promptly at 1:00 with four bands, the Anonymous Artists, the New Delhi River Band, the Solid State, and the Good Word supplying entertainment for the crowd. Gradually listeners grew from a few hundred to a few thousand.
Beads, flowers, headbands, bells, painted faces, and multi-colored clothing were in abundance on Be-In participants. Smiles and happy laughter came from all directions during the easy-going afternoon.
Free oranges and punch were provided by the Free University and The Experiment, while wandering participants also gladly surrendered their refreshments to those around them.
One incident which marred the pleasant atmosphere of the Festival occurred when a policeman found a young man with an American flag draped casually over his shoulder. He was beckoned aside by the policeman who took the flag away and inspected it for possible stains or tears. However, the flag-bearer ran away at the first opportunity, leaving the officer with the flag.
The highlight of the afternoon came at 4:30 when the Grateful Dead stepped on stage. As the group launched into "Dancing in the Street," the crowd of 4,000 moved closer to the stage.
After coaxing from the "Dead," some of the crowd started dancing in a large circle, holding hands and swirling around. Snake dance lines wound through the crowd while tambourines, maracas, kazoos, and bells kept the beat of the music.
The "Dead" kept up the performance for about a half hour, and then promised to come back for more. After they left the stage, the audience settled down and listened to some blues and more psychedelic music from the other bands.
At the Be-In, the Free University provided tables for class enrollment and sold copies of various underground publications.

(Picture caption: “The typical Be-In crowd was on hand Sunday at El Camino Park. The crowd includes those who are seriously involved in the aims of FUPA and The Experiment and the clean-cut teenagers who wish they had the guts and don’t.”)

(from the Stanford Daily, 4 July 1967) 

For more details & background, see: 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an exciting but short show in the park. As always in '67, the Dead played their anthem 'Dancing in the Street' to the delirious crowd:
    "After coaxing from the "Dead," some of the crowd started dancing in a large circle, holding hands and swirling around. Snake dance lines wound through the crowd while tambourines, maracas, kazoos, and bells kept the beat of the music."
    Another witness remembers 'Schoolgirl' being played too, but in any case the Dead only played for half an hour, as other bands were waiting to play "some blues and more psychedelic music." As the Dead left the stage around 5 pm, they "promised to come back for more."
    It's not known whether the event actually ended at 6, as the reporter says. Apparently some of the bands said here to have played before the Dead actually played afterwards - other unknown groups played first. The Anonymous Artists (a psychedelic band of former Stanford students & Prankster associates) followed the Dead. For this reporter, though, the Dead were the highlight of the afternoon.

    Playing this park show in Palo Alto must have been something like a family reunion for the Dead - Sara Ruppenthal Garcia, John Dawson, and David Nelson were all present, and perhaps the Dead spent the day revisiting their old haunts.