1967 was a landmark year bridging early ’60s pop sensibility with an emerging hippie culture. The "Summer of Love" brought young people and wannabes to San Francisco with their shared interest in Eastern religions, communal living, and immersive light shows. It was a banner year for music with Jimi Hendrix performing at the first Monterey Pop Festival, The Doors releasing their first album, and Aretha Franklin releasing the enduring hit “Respect.” To see more art of the ’60s music scene, go to Smithsonian Insider’s Snapshot featuring posters from the "Summer of Love" in the Smithsonian collections.
1967 was the first year of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Coming together on the National Mall from all over the U.S., 58 traditional craftspeople demonstrated their artistry and 32 musical and dance groups performed at the open-air event. Mountain banjo-pickers and ballad singers, Chinese lion dancers, Indian sand painters, basket and rug weavers, New Orleans jazz bands, and a Bohemian hammer dulcimer band from Texas combined with a host of participants from rural and urban areas of the country.
The summer of 1967 was also known as the "Long Hot Summer," witnessing racial unrest in American cities such as Detroit, Newark, and Cincinnati. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” brought awareness to the volatile subject of the U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.