Yesterday, the SF Recreation and Park Commission denied promoter Boots Hughston's appeal for a permit to host a free concert in Golden Gate Park to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.
Following lengthy public comment from the Council of Light—a volunteer-run nonprofit who had been working with Hughston to execute the concert—Rec and Park commissioners voted four to two after the event promoter had appealed an earlier rejection.
Among Hughston’s supporters on Thursday were Ann Cohen, widow of the late Allen Cohen, the founder of the The Oracle, the newspaper of the counterculture. Cohen, clearly upset as she approached the commissioners, pleaded that they approve Houston’s event before she bursted into tears and had to leave the podium to take a seat.
David Grace, a former theater manager at the Fillmore, was another Hughston supporter. Grace went so far as to accuse Rec and Park of being corrupt, citing “extortion” as the reason behind their repeated denials.
However, commissioner Larry Mazzola Jr., said that his vote to uphold the denial was due to issues of safety.
“I have no problem with the Summer of Love or the people who run it,” said commissioner Larry Mazzola, Jr. He also expressed his concern over potential overcrowding, pointing out that Hughston hadn't hired police and medical personnel for the proposed event.
Attorney Angela Alioto—who had volunteered her services pro bono to represent Hughston—vowed to reapply for a permit.
It has been a long and winding journey for Hughston. Earlier this year, he applied for a permit to hold a June 4th Summer of Love concert. His application was denied for what Rec and Park considered "numerous misrepresentations of material fact."
Then, last week, we reported that the city will hold its own concert: the Surrealistic Summer Solstice event. In addition to decking out the Conservatory of Flowers in psychedelic lighting—an event that had already been in the works—the Surrealistic Summer Solstice will feature performances from Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Chambers Brothers.
When we last spoke to Hughston a week ago, he was determined to put on a Summer of Love concert in the Bay Area despite the repeated denials. However, he would not disclose the location, although he hinted it would be around the outskirts of San Francisco, or possibly in East Bay.
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