Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson saw the ravages of the 1969 Santa Barbara, California oil spill. He saw the Cuyahoga River catch fire from pollutants in downtown Cleveland. The Los Angeles smog was thick enough to obscure the iconic Hollywood sign. 

So Nelson created the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, when 20 million mostly young Americans took to the streets to protest for a cleaner environment.

Fast forward 51 years, and more than a billion people will celebrate Earth Day in 192 countries and on every continent. The planet needs more help than everyone on it still needs this magical music era.

Peace and love from That Hippie Band. RALPH DE PALMA/Contributed

The 50th Earth Day in 2020 was the cleanest ever after COVID locked down the planet.  Emissions were down as much as 45%.  People in India could see the Himalayas for the first time, NASA satellites documented changes worldwide. The Grand Canal of Venice was crystal clear. 

On Thursday, April 22, a special celebration of the 51st Earth Day will feature a fugitive band of hippies from the ’60s who have been hanging out performing in Key West. They all used to have long hair, smoked weed, and could play any ’60s song anyone could remember.  

Gary Hempsey and “That Hippie Band,” will help you remember all those songs from the Age of Aquarius. The Beatles, Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Jefferson Starship, and some Crosby, Stills, & Nash will be rediscovered.  

This is a Rams Head Production at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2021. Doors open at 5 p.m. Music and fun begin at 6 p.m. 

Wear your coolest hippie clothes (oxymoron intended) and join the Earth Day celebration with Gary Hempsey and That Hippie Band. Reef Relief will be on display along with the Conch Republic Marine Army, and the Key West Parrot Heads will all help the celebration.

Gary Hempsey and That Hippie Band will take Key West back in time to the Age of Aquarius for an Earth Day jam at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 22 at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater in Key West. RALPH DE PALMA/Soul of Key West

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