The Festival Of Growing Things July 1967, Marin County, California

The Festival Of Growing Things July 1967, Marin County, California
Authored By John Nicholson

Held on Sat Jul 01, 1967 - Sun Jul 02, 1967 at Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County California, this sounds like such a lovely event, held across a weekend in the Summer Of Love, in beautiful Marin County.

The festival was a celebration of marijuana. The poster actually features stylized marijuana leaves and the event advertised “Free Seeds,” and “barefoot dancing on the grass.” Can you imagine any festival now being advertised on this basis? Barefoot dancing, you say? Where do I get my ticket? It speaks to more innocent times. 

The music was all west coast bands, all of whom were in their first year or two of existence. 

The headlining band was Quicksilver on Saturday and Big Brother on Sunday. The full line-up was Ace of Cups, Big Brother and The Holding Company, Blue Cheer, Congress of Wonders, Country Joe & The Fish, Hugh Masekela, Mt. Rushmore, Phoenix, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Sandy Bull, Steve Miller Band, The Charlatans, The Wilde Flowers

The artwork for the poster was done by Alan Terk, also known as “Gut.” Gut was an interesting character; he was the manager of Blue Cheer (some say the inventors of what became heavy metal) and also a Hells Angel (and one-time President of the San Bernardino Chapter) as well as a poster artist. He produced several posters for the San Francisco dance halls as well as some for Hells Angel events.

The Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre is a natural amphitheater located high on Mt. Tamalpais just north of San Francisco which was fitted with carved stone seating in 1933. How groovy is that? 

Ace Of Cups (a really interesting all-female band worthy of investigation) patron Ambrose Hollingsworth was the man behind the festival. ‘Thunderheaven’ was his production company. Everyone who attended received a packet of flower seeds. Aw. Peace, love and flowers, baby.

Just a few weeks before this festival, Mt. Tam played host to what is generally considered the first outdoor rock festival, the Magic Mountain Festival on June 10 and 11, 1967, which was attended by more than 36,000 people, one week before the Monterey Pop Festival. And in fact, this festival took place just a few weeks after Monterey Pop. 

This was relatively early in the flowering of what we’d come to know as the counterculture. They were very innocent times. The idea that the authorities saw such gatherings as a threat to decency was always crazy, that they were a threat to The American Way (whatever that might have meant) was probably nearer the truth even if they didn’t know where they were going, they were at least searching for something other than the prescribed materialistic solutions for happiness and contentment. And they wanted to grow flowers which, as every gardener knows, is one of the best uses of your time on this spinning rock. 

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