We just completed the 39th Annual Bike Across Kansas. Last year was the 40th Walnut Valley Music Festival in Winfield. Music festivals, bike rides, and assorted fairs and unusual events all over the country are celebrating their 40th anniversaries this year, last year, or next year. Louise and I were married in 1971 and started our black and white photography business in 1973.
The question is what was it about the early 1970’s that spurred all this creative activity?
There were a large number of people who came through the counter-culture of the late 1960’s, or were on the fringe of that movement, who were and are committed to not living boring lives as they had seen their parents doing.
They wanted to ride bicycles long distances, hold days-long music festivals and have art fairs. Large numbers of these events started in 1972-1974 are still going and are bigger than ever, usually attended by the same people every year.
Which brings up the question, what are young people doing now? The obvious thing is paying off student debt. It is pretty hard to start a music festival when you owe $75K in student loans.
Student debt and the high cost of higher education are right up there with health care costs when it comes to national crisis. Both things have the potential to wreck our quality of life for generations by sapping resources that could and should go to more creative activities.