It was the cultural touchstone of my generation — three days of peace, love, and, of course, music, mud, and skinny-dipping.
Somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 young people somehow made their way to Max Yasgur’s farm in New York’s Catskills, drawn by almost mysterious forces that seemed to transcend even the lure of hearing Jimi, Janis, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Country Joe and the Fish, and Jefferson Airplane perform at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, as it was formally known.
Fifty years later, the joke goes, at least ten times that many aging baby boomers swear they were at Woodstock, too — perhaps aided by memories of watching the movie and listening to the soundtracks while engulfed in a smoky haze appropriate to the occasion.
This weekend marks the 44th anniversary of 1969’s Woodstock Festival, one of the iconic events of the 1960s, when hundreds of thousands of mostly then-young baby boomers poured onto Max Yasgur’s Farm near the small town of Bethel in the Sullivan County Catskills, New York.
(As I’ve written about previously in this blog, the festival was moved from Woodstock, NY, to Bethel, some 60 miles west, due to various snafus.)
And as always happens on this anniversary weekend, thousands of folks high on music, nostalgia and perhaps a few other things descend on Bethel to honor the memory of the festival, which marked the height of the peace and love era. Many camp out around Hector’s Inn in Bethel, where volunteers are dishing out free meals to the tie-dyed visitors, or at what’s now called… Continue reading
Quick quiz: Where was the 1969 Woodstock Festival held?
If you said, “uh, Woodstock?” you’d be…wrong.
Due to various snafus, Woodstock — one of the seminal events of the baby boomer era, which brought many of the top musical performers of the day onto a rain-drenched stage before hundreds of thousands of mud-soaked, tie-dyed and oddly mellow spectators — was actually held in Bethel, New York, some 60 miles away from its original venue.
Bethel happens to be just 13 miles from where I now live.
Recently I took a friend over there to see the memorial monument at the site — now located on the grounds of the beautiful Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which itself has hosted the likes of Bob Dylan, Elton John and the Dave Matthews Band to… Continue reading