From January 21-23, 1966, the open-minded from all over converged at San Francisco's Longshoremen's Hall for a continuous loop of sensory overload that was advertised, promoted and managed like one might push a county fair. The Festival gave the word 'experience' a whole new meaning as music, readings, light shows, dancing, dress up, and dress optional took over briefly in the Bay area. Bill Graham, who was just beginning to gain steam as a promoter, signed on as de facto organizer and almost lost his mind over the reigning chaos of the first 24 hours. The Trips Festival, however, proved to be Graham's 'initiation rite' into the emerging world of the dance concert which then became the rock concert.
Thousands of people flocked to the corner of Haight and Ashbury during the Summer of Love, but few saw the unfolding phenomenon as clearly as Gene Anthony did. From his apartment one block up the hill, he witnessed the extraordinary pilgrimage of young people from across the country as they trooped to San Francisco in search of answers, approval and love, and he captured the compelling vignettes through his telling lens. Anthony's photographic talent, subjects and well-deserved acclaim extend far beyond the psychedelic period, but his ability to capture a mood on a face or the essence of an era from a simple street sign was recognized and refined during that time. His photographs have, in turn, become the myriad faces of the Summer of Love.