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We're going to San Francisco . . .

[updated August 2012] The 40th IVU World Congress/Vegfest will be in California, October 2012 - starting in San Francisco, October 5-8, then on to Los Angeles Oct 12-14.

The first IVU Congress was in Dresden, Germany, in 1908 and they've been held every 2 or 3 years since then. They will now be every year and California 2012 is the first of our new-style events which are as much Vegfest as Congress.

At the 1913 event, in the Netherlands, a visitor from San Francisco invited the delegates to hold the Congress in conjuction with the SF World's Fair in 1915. But the Europeans thought it was too far to go and voted for Paris, France, in 1916 . . . which of course was cancelled due to the first world war.

So almost 100 years later we are finally going to San Francisco, and as Scott McKenzie sang about the hippies in 1967:

If You're Going... To San Francisco... Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair If You're Going... To San Francsico... You're gonna meet some gentle people there

Appropriately enough the 2012 IVU Congress/Vegfest will begin next to the botanical gardens, at the San Francisco County Fair Building in the Golden Gate Park.

dixie1968, the year after that song was #1, saw the founding of the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, which has been a member of IVU from the outset. The SFVS president, Dixie Mahy was a speaker at the 1975 IVU Congress in Maine, so they go back a long way with all this. [photo right is Dixie at the 1975 Congress]

This year we begin with a reception dinner at The Millennium, one of the world's leading vegan restaurants, on Friday Oct 5. Over the weekend there will be a wide range of events in the park, with all-vegan catering, including:

Children’s Corner
Green Lifestyle Film Festival
Healthy Food Demos with Recipes & Samples
International Speakers & Workshops
Live Entertainment
Vegan Cuisine to sample or buy
Veghealth Awards Ceremony by Vegetarian Health Institute
Catered Vegan Dinners: Saturday & Sunday, 6:30 p.m

We conclude the SF sessions on Monday, Oct 8, with a rooftop reception at the VegNews office.

Above: my photo of cable-cars heading out of Union Square, Feb 2010:

We will then move down to Los Angeles for an equally exciting few days, joining the VegSource Healthy Lifestyle Expo. That starts with a bus tour to Hollywood and and more on Thursday 11, and a day with even more global contributors on Friday 12, and culminating in the great Expo over the weekend.

More info about the San Francisco events at - see the link to the 'four day package' for more details. More will be added soon.

For IVU in Los Angeles see - click on 'home' for more about the Expo weekend.

For a general overview of all of it see:

1967Meanwhile, as this is a personal blog, something about my own journey to San Francisco which might amuse those who know me (everyone else feel free to hit the back button now!)

When Scott McKenzie had his #1 hit in 1967 I was 18, and playing in a rock band in England. Which would have been great if we were in 'Swinging London', but out in the provinces the only hippies we ever saw were on TV, so we were years behind the action. The photo right is me on the left, with my mate Ken on bass, in September 1967. I cropped out the rest of the band as they looked even worse:

The clothes look more like 1960 than '67...  that was a Mod band, but out-of-date for even that too. During that summer we played an outdoor gig and some girls came up and put flowers in our hair, not quite fitting with our style. But we did begin to catch up - later that month we all went to see Jimi Hendrix at a small local theatre, he wasn't too famous yet as it was soon after his infamous guitar burning appearance at Monterey - so we were up close, and it was LOUD.1972

In 1972 I spent three months working on a summer camp upstate New York, with kids from the Bronx, and was now looking a little more in tune with the times:

By 1973, back in England, I could have been auditioning for a part in the musical 'Hair':


At that time I was teaching, mostly classical guitar, in various schools and colleges, and the local university. I wrote my own book on how to play guitar and the photo left was in the studio of a pro-photographer who was one of my students. It was used to illustrate the book, but I can't think now what anyone was supposed to learn from the picture... (the shirt was very green and flowery).

In 1974 I was still on the hairy-hippie trail. Three of us spent that summer driving across Europe, with a month sleeping on the beaches in Greece. I'm on the left in this one on the Acropolis in Athens.


But I never did get to San Francisco until February 2010, when my wife Hazel and I went to California for a couple of weeks. Naturally I had to go to Haight-Ashbury to see where it all began, and the photo below is from the Red Victorian on Haight St. I gave a talk there for some members of SFVS - that's Dixie chairing the meeting and keeping an eye on me.

So I finally made it to SF when I was a lot older, a little wiser and a little heavier, but the haircut helps to keep the weight down a bit...

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