Please make yourself at home! Check some tags, do some reading, leave a comment.

Monday, December 28, 2009

GD: ca. December 27, 1970, canyon east of Laguna Beach, CA

It seems that a rather loosely organized hippie gathering took place in a Canyon (presumably Laguna Canyon) east of Laguna Beach, CA starting on Christmas in 1970 and ending on Monday, 12/28. It was broken up by city police, who in good Orange Curtain fashion sang "Here Comes Santa Clause" as they rousted sleeping hippies and dropped them off at the city limits.

According to the report (1), the Grateful Dead came to play, but were "not permitted through the barricades, which were set up to halt the heavy flow of traffic into Laguna Beach." The report isn't clear about the day on which this occurred. The GD were playing Legion Stadium in El Monte, about 60 miles away, from 12/26-28, so whatever day it was --I'll assume Sunday, 12/27-- they presumably came out during the day time. I bet it would have been a good ol' time, but, alas, it was not to be.


Gordon Grant and William Endicott, "Stragglers Sound Final Notes at Laguna Beach Rock Festival," Los Angeles Times, December 29, 1970, pp. A1, A3.


  1. Did this gathering have anything to do with the Brotherhood Of Eternal Love, a notorious surfer/hippie/LSD distribution commune? There's a whole book about it, but I don't have the patience to search for it. Supposedly the BOEL were sort of Owsley's successors.

  2. That didn't come up.

    There were two names mentioned as folks who were loosely involved with organizing the thing, insofar as it was organized. Part of the MO seems to have been for everyone to maintain plausible deniability so that there was no-one for officials to go to to pull the plug. I'll check back on the article and post the names ... perhaps they'll ring a bell.

  3. If you have a lot of time--a lot--like a holiday where the weather was bad, you can google Brotherhood of Eternal Love and read all the material. There's no question that they were connected to both massive distribution of Orange Sunshine (paid and free) and big Dead Heads. Also, they were the big wheels in the counterculture in Laguna Canyon, so there's definitely a connection, but it would probably be denied by most parties.

    This sort of thing is one of the strange byways of Grateful Dead history that's permanently lost.

  4. Patrick Lundborg has done an incredible job piecing together the details of the Laguna Seca Christmas Happening, which definitely was directly connected to the Brotherhood:

    The Brotherhood had much to do with funding the event, and dropped tabs of Orange Sunshine, each attached to a holiday card, from a plane.

    There's an extremely rare LP of music recorded there, too. Mostly/all local bands.

    Nicholas Schou, in his excellent book "Orange Sunshine," says that the band sent a "team of roadies to investigate." There's a quote from one of the organizers about the Dead not being able to get in because of police barricades.

    A friend who attended the Dead New Year's show a few days later said that he was given a similar card with Orange Sunshine attached.

    Incidentally, a bunch of Brotherhood guys were eventually busted at Winterland on New Year's '72.

  5. Jesse, thanks for the great link. It seems like the era in which the Dead could just drop in on a festival had passed, but they were clearly more than casual bystanders.

  6. Cross reference 12/27/70 interview:

  7. I was there, it was wet and cold but the bands kept playing, a helicopter brought in a musician or two, it was on "private land" the cops woke us up at day break hitting our sleeping bags, I didn't see anyone getting a ride out of the area, we were running!
    It was one of the best concerts I had ever attended

    1. Thanks for the info! What bands performed?


!Thank you for joining the conversation!