Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Hippie History

We hear about the major events of the 1960s, such as Woodstock and the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, but a lot of interesting events never made the national radar screen, because too many other events were competing for newspaper column inches. Here are some of the weirder, more obscure hippie happenings that developed out of the 60s and early 70s.

This one was a new one on me, but I just learned about a 1970 protest against the Red Barn hamburger chain in the Minneapolis, Minnesota neighborhood of Dinkytown. The protest was especially heated, because it occurred within such close proximity of the killings at Kent State. Hippies and politicos and Dinkytown were so twitchy that riot police were necessary to get protesters to vacate the site of a Red Barn. The whole affair later became known as "The Battle of Dinkytown." The protesters' "statement of purpose" even included a reference that linked Burger King to imperialism! At least it made sense to people at the time.

Another obscure hippie happening was the 1969 Zip to Zap in the small town of Zap, North Dakota. According to this article, it became the site of the only riot in the North Dakota history, when students who descended on the town for an impromptu spring festival discovered that the town's only two bars had run out of beer.

Then, there's this YouTube clip below from Vortex I, a rock festival from 1970 that was actually funded by Governor Tom McCall of Oregon in order to divert hippies from an appearance Richard Nixon would make at an American Legion convention. That's right! It was the only rock festival ever to be funded by a state government (although I think the city of Boston once used some petty cash to help simulcast a James Brown concert at Boston Garden to encourage people to stay off the streets after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.).

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