SKY RIVER ROCK FESTIVAL AND LIGHTER THAN AIR FAIR - III
By Robert L. Garland
The late 1960's were a turbulent time for our nation. Strong issues such as the war in Viet Nam, students rights, human rights, the ecology, women's lib, and black power, polarized most American's thinking and views. It was a time when many people began to examine our society and the way it was headed, and to say, "this ain't right, we need to make some changes." Some activists formed lasting bonds and worked within the framework of the law to effect social change. Others, grew their hair long, burned their draft cards, burned their bras, or just turned on, tuned in and dropped out. Protests, marches, and demonstrations brought about, sometimes bloody confrontations with "The Establishment." But along with activism came a vision of a better way of life for all, where people could come together and live and love and enjoy the basic freedoms of the Constitution, the rights to own land, to assemble on that land, and to celebrate life in the manner they saw fit.
In 1967, many "hip" people, gathered in the park in San Francisco, perhaps looking for a "new land", a place to belong that was more in tune with their beliefs. After "Haight Ashbury" and the "Summer of Love", some groups branched out and formed communes in which to try to live together under the principles they were expounding. One such group, "The Hog Farm Collective" settled in New Mexico and later founded communes all across the country and in Mexico and Canada. They helped to initiate an experiment of buying back the Earth and deeding it to itself. Later they purchased 590 acres in northern Vermont and called it Peoples Earth Park.
In 1969, the Woodstock Festival showed the world that 300,000 people could come together for "3 days of peace and music". Thus the large, outdoor festival had become a vehicle to showcase the lifestyles and politics of the counter culture to the world. But "The Establishment" was to fight back by making laws and ordinances to prohibit or severely limit these large gatherings.
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