Ancestral Spirits Festival, California Hall, San Francisco 1967

Ancestral Spirits Festival, California Hall, San Francisco 1967
Authored By John Nicholson

The idea, so commonplace now, of putting on gigs to raise money for local causes really got going in the late 60s. This one held in San Francisco at California Hall on Polk Street (long a gathering place for people who didn’t fit the mainstream) was a benefit for Haight-Ashbury Karmic Ball Fund and the Church of ONE. Far out man. Who doesn’t love a Karmic Ball?

The Haight-Ashbury Karmic Bail Fund provided financial bail assistance primarily for those arrested under the marijuana and LSD possession laws. How cool. They’d send someone with a fistful of green to spring you from chokey. 

The Church of ONE (the capitals are important, I think) wanted to buy damaged (dunno what that means in this context) rural land in order to provide a free facility for people to relearn to live on and under the human relationship to the earth in the manner of the original inhabitants. That all seems very ahead of its time. 

I can’t find any references to this Church of ONE and they don’t seem to have existed for long. Maybe only one person belonged to it! 

But anyway, these were the sort of organisations that had noble, forward-thinking notions at their core. Good intentions, if a little naive by our modern cynical standards. You’ve gotta dig ‘em. They were fighting for ways to live that didn’t fit the plastic world we were brought up to think of as normal, decent and good. 

The bands that played were all local outfits, the most well-known of which The Loading Zone, regulars on the west coast scene from 66 - 71. It also featured an out called The Orkustra who claimed to be the first psychedelic electric symphony orchestra. They were originally known as "The Electric Chamber Orchestra". 

The band, who counted Bobby Beausoleil amongst their number, existed a little more than a year before splitting in the summer of 1967. Beausoleil soon became one of Manson’s murderous cult and is still in jail now aged 73 for the appalling murder of Gary Hinman.

However, David LaFlamme was also in the band and went on to more beautiful things, forming It’s A Beautiful Day and creating some of the most definitive west coast music of the era, especially on their first two albums.

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