Following hot on the heels of the original Human Be-In staged in San Francisco on January 14th 1967 many promoters saw an opportunity and decided to follow suit. Be-Ins sprung up all across the U.S. West Coast and even as far north as Canada. The Vancouver Be-In held at Stanley Park was a central part of the Canadian counter-culture revolution from its first inception on the Easter weekend of 1967 through to the mid-Seventies when it finally closed its doors for the last time.
It was initially organised and promoted by a young 19 year-old local lad called Jerry Kruz. He had started off a few years earlier with a Vancouver club night called Afterthought, had booked a few local bands and then graduated on to hiring the Grateful Dead to perform in June 1966. After they played a couple of nights at Afterthought they stayed in Vancouver for a few days and having had a look around showed an interest in playing an outdoor gig in a bandstand on the outskirts of Stanley Park. The performance was a roaring success bringing traffic to a halt and grabbing headlines in the local press. This is reputed to be one of the first ever outdoor psychedelic gigs and set the blue-print for future concerts.
Using this experience and with a certain amount of youthful naivety Jerry Kruz hosted the first Canadian Be-In in a public park over the Easter weekend and somehow it worked. Country Joe & The Fish headlined in 1967 and being such a big name at the time ensured its success (good weather also helped!). The promotional poster’s strapline was: ‘Country Joe and the Fish bring music, bells, song and dance for six days’. The Stanley Park Be-In continued for another 8 years or so until, like muchof the counter-culture movement it fizzled out and moved on. Here we look at the latter days of the Be-In during 1970 & 73 and see the Canadian side of the counter-culture revolution.