When the story of the 1960s psychedelic music scene is told, San Francisco is usually where it begins, middles, and ends. But the scene had important roots, and blossomed, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in Marin and Sonoma counties.
From December 11, 2016, through April 2, 2017, the History Museum of Sonoma County in Santa Rosa explores this rich legacy with “The Beat Goes On: Peace, Love and Rock & Roll in the North Bay,” which features roughly 50 rock posters related to the North Bay, plus another 30 or so photographs by Herb Greene of the legendary parties at Olompali near Novato. To shine a light on that unique moment in rock history, the museum will host a lecture on January 19, 2017, entitled “Digging Olompali: The Archaeology of the Recent Past” by Breck Parkman, a Senior State Archaeologist with California State Parks, who will talk about what he found in the ruins of the former Burdell Mansion, which was inhabited by the Grateful Dead-affiliated Chosen Family commune until a fire destroyed the structure in 1969.
The musical exodus north began in 1966, when bands like Big Brother and the Holding Company left San Francisco for Marin. For some artists, though, the North Bay was home. The late Dan Hicks of the Charlatans grew up in Santa Rosa, while various incarnations of bands fronted by Bill Champlin were definitely Marin’s favorite sons. And even though San Francisco had the Fillmore and the Avalon, the North Bay had The Barn up in Rio Nido, the Lion’s Share in San Anselmo, the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati, and, of course, the Euphoria, which was later reborn as Pepperland, in San Rafael.