In 1969, a small group of young men, women and children – refugees from campus riots, Vietnam War protests and police brutality – fled from the mainland to the island of Kauai. Soon they were arrested and sentenced to 90 days’ hard labor for having no money and no home. Island resident Howard Taylor, brother of actress Elizabeth, bailed them out of jail and invited them to camp on his vacant oceanfront property. Soon waves of hippies, surfers and troubled Vietnam vets found their way to this clothing-optional, pot-friendly tree house village at the end of the road on the island’s North Shore. Taylor Camp reveals a community that created order without rules, rejecting materialism for the healing power of nature. We come to understand the significance Taylor Camp’s eight-year existence through interviews made 30 years later after the filmmakers tracked down the campers, their neighbors and the government officials who finally got rid of them.
Through the late 60s and 70s, Taylor Camp was the epitome of the hippie dream, espousing free love, nudism, sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Kauai presented an idyllic tropical setting for a community that looked at the current value system of mainstream American culture with nothing but disdain. In 1977, the government condemned the village to make way for Ha’ena State Park. Within a few years the jungle reclaimed Taylor Camp, leaving little but memories of “the best days of our lives.”
If you lived through the 60s and 70s (remembering it or not), were a hippie, still are a hippie, surfer, Hawaiian or other local, Vietnam Vet, hated hippies, pot-smoker, vegetarian, nudist, or alternative lifestylist, there is something for you in Taylor Camp. No matter what you think of the hippie ethos, Taylor Camp is a film that provides fascinating insights into one of the most important cultural revolutions in modern times.
“Taylor Camp is the ultimate hippie fantasy retold three decades later in a moving and magical documentary. Don’t miss it!”
– Steven Petrow, The Huffington Post
Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes.