Music and the Rebirth of the American Counterculture

by Jennifer Seifert via Sensible Reason

It began as a movement in the ‘60s and transformed into a generation-defining ideology into the ‘70s, finally losing momentum in the ‘80s and ‘90s. But in the new millennium, over the last several years, there has been a rebirth of the American counterculture. Some call it the new-age hippie movement while others call it flippant and rebellious.

Historically, when the world is gripped by turmoil – political or otherwise – there has been a rise of a subculture that defies societal standards and glorifies peace, love and music. A generation that does not live by the rules of their leaders but by their own rules they establish for themselves; rules that promote harmony and discourage chaotic violence.

In recent years there has been an extreme rise in the amount of music festivals, not only in the United States, but also the world. It seems that when one ends, another one begins. Summer has been dubbed “festival season” by many festivalgoers around the United States. When people feel that the only way to escape is through music, this suddenly becomes the epicenter of their lives and has the power to define their outlook on the world and current events.

Music has the ability to bring people together because it affects us on such a metaphysical level. When we are at events where music is the focus, we can take the focus off of the outrageous injustices that we see taking place in our communities and countries. We see others enjoying the same harmonious atmosphere as ourselves and immediately have that synchronous connection with a complete stranger.

In the ‘60s, it was about revolting against the carnage of war and promoting peace. Today, it is about individuals completely cutting themselves off from the outside world and experiencing life for what it should be instead of what it is; a complete surrender of all things material and utter submersion in the spiritual experience that music creates.

We are completely consumed by information being hurled our direction on a daily basis that it has become overwhelming. Information overload from the Internet has made it almost impossible to escape from the chokehold of fear that the mainstream media has on us. People seek solace and sanctuary, and music provides this for many individuals.

The counterculture is a movement. It is not an idea and it is not a fad. It is the direct result of people waking up and realizing that something is wrong. History repeats itself, and we are in the midst of a social awakening in which music is the catalyst, providing solace and sanctuary as a way to break free from the chains of negativity into a more positive mindset.

In the ’60s it was bands like The DoorsJim Morrison urging people to wake up and not let their lives be controlled by outside forces via his poetry. Today, it is artists like Bassnectar, who incorporates messages into his songs about a revolutionary mindset, fighting against the injustices of the elite, urging people to think for themselves. The method has changed but the message has not.

The one common denominator that joins these eras together is the state of unrest and unease that people feel in their lives and the chaos they see in the world around them. The driving force is the internal urge to do something to change the situation. And when people cannot figure out how to change the world, they seek out ways to change themselves and discover truths that no one else will reveal to them.

They find these truths in the music.


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