FEBRUARY 9, 2008
My name's Harley Hansen and in 1970, the song that stuck in my memory
was "Let's Get Together," by the Youngbloods.
I was kind of at the state that's euphemistically known as "finding
yourself." I knew what I didn't want to do was join the Army and go
to the Vietnam War. I did not know what I wanted to do. Consequently,
I was going to school.
And when my first year of school ended, I did not want to go home to
my parents because they were not fond of long hair, so I went out to
Peterborough, N.H., where my sister, Karen, and my brother-in-law,
Andrew, lived. They were very nice to put me up over the summer.
When I was up there, I heard that they were having this rock festival
north of Toronto in Ontario, Strawberry Fields. And I took off
without a ticket. People would yell, "Get a job!" "Get a haircut!"
They were not fond of seeing people hitchhiking with backpacks and
long hair. I was at a rest stop and I saw a group of three cars, New
Hampshire license plates and I said, "Hey! Are you from
Peterborough?" We determined that we were going to the same place. So
there I was, I had a ride to the rock festival with these guys.
One of the people in the car was a kind of pretty girl. She had long
dark hair and dressed in the typical uniform of the day. She had the
jeans, the blue jeans, the little John Lennon shades. And of course,
I'm 19 and attracted to anything that moves.
We got as far a Buffalo and proceeded to cross the Peace Bridge
there. The Canadian authorities were not overly impressed with three
carloads of hippies. And they kinda grilled us. They asked: "How much
money do you have?" "Where are you going?" We told them we were going
to the rock festival up in Ontario. "Well, the rock festival doesn't
start until tomorrow."
Ok, so, back across the bridge. And when we got across the bridge,
welcome to the United States. Unroll your sleeping bag. Put all the
contents of your bag on this table. They searched us thoroughly.
Asked me for ID. Said, "Where's your draft card?" I didn't have my
draft card on me, since it had been destroyed in a very unfortunate
small fire earlier. And I'm sure they suspected I was evading the draft.
Finally they let me go and there were three or 400 hippies waiting to
get across the bridge. They had all been turned back as we had.
The next day, the rock festival started. Grand Funk Railroad was
there. And Canned Heat. And Sha Na Na. And the Youngbloods. And
anyway, I was wandering the festival site with this pretty girl and
we noticed that there was a carnival up at the back of the concert
site. And we decided for some reason that we wanted to ride the
Ferris wheel because you would be way up high and have a view of the
whole grounds and be able to see all around. So we get on the Ferris
wheel and it just happened to stop right on top and we're right on
the cat bird seat, overlooking the grounds of 50,000 people, and the
Youngbloods right at the second happen to launch into, "Let's Get Together."
And so I look over at this beautiful woman thinking, "Maybe I should
try to kiss her. No, I'll make a fool of myself." And then of course,
the Ferris wheel started up, the song ended and we wandered back to
our group and enjoyed the rest of the rock and roll event.
I saw her a time or two after that around town, but then, that was
it. And I always wondered over the years, you know, what happened to
Of course, now to this day, whenever I hear the Youngbloods play
"Let's Get Together," I close my eyes.
And I can feel the sun in my face and I'm back, a 19-year-old in
1970, on top of a Ferris wheel, stopped, overlooking the grounds of
50,000 hippies and the Youngbloods are on stage playing that song.
So, anybody from Peterborough, N.H., who went to the Strawberry
Fields Festival in late July or early August of 1970, if you were in
one of three cars, one of which was a Mustang, and you were in a
Ferris wheel while the Youngbloods were playing, you need to get in
touch with me.