New Year’s Wail (1967)

New Year's Wail (1967)

Just received this photo and made a high quality scan. It’s a UPI photo from 1967. The original caption states: “Frisco’s Hippies | For three hours, 2,000 ‘hippies’ had a wild time in Golden Gate Park recently. Folk and rock and roll music was played, poetry and speeches were read in the gathering referred to as a ‘Wail.’ There was wild attire, loud music and no real trouble. Credit (UPI Photo) 2/4/67”

Even though the photo doesn’t mention the Diggers, nor the Hells Angels, nor the exact date of the event, there are several internal clues that lead me to think this was taken at the New Year’s Wail event that the Hells Angels threw in gratitude to the Diggers (for raising bail money for Hairy Henry and Chocolate George at the Death of Money Parade the previous month.) Internal clues: this is obviously not Golden Gate Park, it’s the Panhandle. Also: the term “wail” was a Digger term first used at the New Year’s Wail. There is no evidence the term “wail” was used between the date of that first “Wail” (Jan. 1, 1967) and the date on the caption (Feb 4, 1967). So my conclusion is this is a photo of the event where Chester Anderson was inspired to start The Communication Company. (He always told me that seeing the Hells Angels and Diggers together blew his mind. See Chester’s letter to his archivist written soon after this event.)

One item of interest. Look at the attire of the participants. This is months before the “Summer of Love” and most of the onlookers appear to be wearing typical 1960s college attire. Compare this photo to ones several months later in the Panhandle. The man in “wild attire” with umbrella could be considered a cultural virus in this timeline of change.

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What a long strange trip it’s been …

Welcome to the fourth incarnation of the Digger Archives discussion forum, first begun in 1992 at the very beginning of the days of HTML and WWW. This incarnation is a spin-off of the Digger Bread blog, which is now closed—there were actually two spin-offs, the Free Family Union blog, and this, the newly named Digger Feed blog.

Why “Digger Feed?” The group of us who named it are a bunch of punsters and the idea of a blog that refers to the old-time Digger Free Feeds in the Panhandle, and at the same time refers to the idea of a news feed, well the double-entendre was too seductive to pass by. Why “watering hole”? That’s what the Digger Discussion Forums have been over the years. A place for like-minded folks to chat, to mingle, to wrangle, to commiserate, to celebrate.

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