In April 1969 thousands of “hippies” came to the Palm Springs area for spring break and the Palm Springs Pop Festival. After hundreds of misdemeanor arrests, mostly for drunkenness, drug possession and indecent exposure, two people were shot and wounded in a melee outside the stadium concert. The city called for police reinforcements.
Fifty San Diego sheriff’s deputies joined the show of force to help run the kids out of town.
From The San Diego Union, Friday, April 4, 1969:
KIDS, HIPPIES LEAVING
Lawmen Rout Youth Invasion At Palm SpringsBy Homer Clance, San Diego Union Staff Writer
PALM SPRINGS — Lawmen yesterday routed the youth invasions that had engulfed this normally placid desert resort.
Hundreds of youths and hippies were ousted from their camps in rugged, rocky Tahquitz Canyon, where they had settled earlier in the week. They were among the 20,000 young persons who flooded the town for the Easter vacation.
A city ordinance prohibits camping or campfires in the beautiful canyon, which has a waterfall and stream. City regulations prohibit anyone in the area after dark.
Copter Orders Youths Out
A helicopter on loan from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office circled the area yesterday and ordered the invaders to leave. A sergeant notified them they were violating the law and would be arrested if they did not move on.
Very few moved. So 200 officers, armed with riot guns, carbines, tear-gas guns, night sticks and revolvers, formed a skirmish line over the rocky terrain.
As the officers moved out, the youths began to play hide and seek with them.
One urged the group to resist. Sheriff’s Capt. Quentin Cash of San Diego quickly took him into custody on a charge of inciting to riot. That apparently broke the heart of any concerted resistance, officials said.
Officers Spread Over Canyon
The officers slowly spread through the two-mile long canyon, then began moving the youths out before them.
There was no violence from then on — from the youths or anyone else. As they passed into the area of Palm Canyon Drive and Ramon Road, California Highway Patrolmen ordered them to leave town.
Ten the exodus of the hippies and thousands of high school and college students from Palm Springs began in earnest.
Hitchhikers, some carrying signs indicating such diverse destinations as New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, stood along the highway leading from town. Vehicles ranging from dune buggies to campers and packed with young people retreated from the spa.
The skirmishers included 50 San Diego sheriff’s deputies, led by Chief Deputy Warren Kangy, who were part of the 250-man force called in from other cities Tuesday, to augment Palm Springs’ 48-man force.
Kanagy, who took a tour of the area in the helicopter, said most of the youths were living out of tin cans and cracker boxes and sleeping in blankets, sleeping bags or their vehicles.
Many, during the days before the crackdown, sunned themselves and bathed in the stream in the nude, officials said.
This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.