"Going down to old Woodstock, feel the cool night breeze. Going down to old Woodstock, give my child a squeeze." Van Morrison.
Even though I was too young to attend, I still remember Woodstock. I remember hearing about it on the news and watching the movie when it first came out to the theaters. I had to go with my older brother because I was too young to get in by myself, but I remember the couple of nude scenes that were in the movie more than anything else.
Three days of sex., drugs, and rock and roll. Woodstock
was an entire village of some half a million people cut off completely from the rest of the world. Some things that stand out about it in my mind include: Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm, the people crashing over the fence to get in free, and the folks liberating a hamburger stand. "Capitalism is not dead!"
But it came pretty close. Drugs were dispensed freely and shared by all. Marijuana was passed around and songs were sung about it, right along with the protest songs about Vietnam. One fellow described how pills were all dumped into a salad bowl one handful at a time and then passed around.
Then there was the less than perfect moments. People overdosing on brown acid tablets and the overflowing toilets. The thunderstorms that almost took out some of the musicians and all that mud. Who can forget that vision of Jimmy Hendrix playing the Start Spangled Banner at the end?
Woodstock was the end of an era. In the summer of '69, everything came crashing to a halt as the age of Nixon approached. We would never again see the political protest and the idealism of the sixties.
And the music. That's what Woodstock was really all bout. Never again would there be bands like The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash and Young among many others, who would mix protest with hard, solid rock and roll.
"Three days of peace and music." The poster said. And the festival certainly delivered on that promise. It may be years and years before the impact of Woodstock will be known, if it ever is.
Yes, there is a modern day Woodstock every year. A lot of good music is played there, but it just isn't the same as the original.
To paraphrase one writer from Rolling Stone Magazine: "During the sixties we came to the mountaintop, took a quick peek over and then hastily retreated."