A Time article about Woodstock.
The original plan was for an outdoor rock festival, “three days of peace and music” in the Catskill village of Woodstock. What the young promoters got was the third largest city in New York state, population 400,000 (give or take 100,000), location Max Yasgur’s dairy farm near the town of White Lake.
So began LIFE magazine’s description, in its August 29, 1969 issue, of what has come to be seen as one of the defining events of the 1960s. Forty-four years later, LIFE.com presents a gallery of pictures — many of which never ran in the magazine — from those heady, rain-soaked days and nights.
Lured by music [the story in LIFE continued] and some strange kind of magic (“Woodstock? Doesn’t Bob Dylan live in Woodstock?”), young people from all over the U.S. descended on the rented 600-acre farm.
It was a real city, with life and death and babies — two were born during the gathering — and all the urban problems of water supply, food, sanitation and health. Drugs, too, certainly, because so many of its inhabitants belong to the drug culture. Counting on only 50,000 customers a day, the organizer had set up a fragile, unauthoritarian system to deal with them. Overrun, strained to its limits, the system somehow, amazingly, didn’t break. For three days nearly half a million people lived elbow to elbow in the most exposed, crowded, rain-drenched, uncomfortable kind of community and there wasn’t so much as a fist fight.
For those who passed through it, Woodstock was less a music festival than a total experience, a phenomenon, a happening, high adventure, a near disaster and, in s a small way, a struggle for survival. Casting an apprehensive eye over the huge throng on opening day, Friday afternoon, a festival official announced, “There are a hell of a lot of us here. If we are going to make it, you had better remember that the guy next to you is your brother.” Everybody remembered. Woodstock made it.
Read more: http://life.time.com/culture/woodstock-photos-from-the-legendary-1969-rock-festival/#ixzz2c4HB3FwH
Slice off the music or whatever you want to label it, there was another part to the event. That was culture, or counterculture. It was culture to itself, an experiment. Here one could go way off to make all kinds of judgements, and I often do. So it wasn’t just the music. In reading that piece, it makes clear it was a fishbowl look at a moment in time of a society ripe with problems, but for a moment gave us a front row seat to the very culture spawned in part by those problems.
No one has to agree, just my contemporary view of it…in retrospect of course — which is the way most people see it. There formed a mini-society, if only for days, and predictions would go out the window. It may have remained passive or “peaceful”, as they always refer to it, but it could have gone the other way too.
Between all the things that converged on the site, that nothing “happened” is seen as a good thing. Of course, there was the mounds of garbage left behind and amounts of drugs used. Sure there were probably friendships formed, and innocence lost. Sure it showed the world “something”. (exactly what is still debatable) It may have proved something to people about people — open to interpretation including my own — but it also asked some things and highlighted some not so good things about youth, culture or counter culture, society at large, and what anyone’s view o f it is at a given time. Questions unanswered. It’s all subjective, so they say, there are no absolutes… except in protests.
It may have worked out okay, if you mean did not end in complete disaster. It may have proved a possibility, that the experiment survived. According to some beliefs, the stars aligned and auras merged under the banner of peace and love. It could have gone the other way as well. Since it did not, some will believe it went according to plan. What plan?
They insist it shows this is the way it works, can work….though not always and doesn’t have to. So they can be proud, but for what, that it didn’t go over the edge? The name was not even original. Necessities demanded a premium. Then it turned into commercialization. Some never made it but later claimed to be there.
Then, finally, as with everything else history related, it needs to be put in context – the real one, not the pretend fantasy. It is no good to ignore the context.
While the article is a good primer on Woodstock, that was then this is now. Since they (radicals and utopian ideologues) are now in some of the highest offices, its time for a different look at society.
That signage above could fit in DC, or maybe on the South Lawn. The underwriting sponsor could be the “progressives” or the DNC, or Democrats by generic name. It’s a great symbol for Leftists in the Capitol. They’ve seized it and politics now are the means, not the disease. Of course, it’s a lot of symbolism but what isn’t these days? Being slain by nostalgia is no substitute for facing reality.