FLASHBACK: The Detroit Love-In at Belle Isle, 1967
It was April 30, 1967.
The Beatles' “Sgt. Pepper” album was to be released in just one month, celebrating love, peace, and flowers. But beating it to the punch was Detroit's Belle Isle Love-In, kicking off the infamous 1967 “Summer of Love”.
News media at the time described it with very uncomplimentary words.
It was, in reality, very peaceful. At least for six hours.
So what defines a love-in?
Dancing, colorful clothing, all races getting along, music, painted faces, meditating, gifts, beads, artwork, loving, balloons, food, long robes, chanting, flowers, bare feet, candy, touching, and yeah, some recreational intake here and there.
The 1967 love-in was arranged by members of the Detroit Artists Workshop, who were granted a permit by the police to hold the event. Of course, the police sent their own troops in to make sure everything didn't get too out of control. Thousands of kids – hippies, non-hippies, bikers, straights, you-name-it...all began arriving that morning...approximately 8,000 of 'em. Traffic was backed up for miles and it took drivers over an hour just to get across the bridge. Compared with the 2000s, it seems so amazing that all these different kids got along. Yup.....bikers, hippies, and kids of all races got along together just fine.
Plus, music was being provided by The MC5.
Hours later, as night began to fall, the police brought out the shotguns and riot gear to get everyone off the island. This was the only blot on an otherwise peaceful, pleasant day for those involved.
Take a look at some shots of this historic event in the photo gallery below.
PHOTO GALLERY, THE 1967 BELLE ISLE LOVE-IN
Old Michigan Musicians: 1865-1952
Grand Haven Musical Fountain
Musicians' Plane Crashes, 1959-2001
The Metro Times
Detroit Artists Workshop