Appreciating all that makes America special

Woodstock

Woodstock, www.greatamericanthings.net

Part of the crowd of c. 500,000 who braved the rain and the mud to hear an amazing array of performers. Uploaded by suedsauerlandmuseum.de.

While probably 500,000 people actually attended Woodstock, probably ten times that number of hippie/yuppie/boomers now tell folks they were there. And some who smoked too much grass or dropped too much acid probably believe they were there. And though we call it “Woodstock,” its official name was Woodstock Music & Art Fair Presents an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music. But hey, man, let’s just call it Woodstock!

Woodstock, www.greatamericanthings.net

Uploaded by wikipedia.org

I wasn’t there in 1969, but I saw the movie. And what I remember most is the mud. Because there was lots of rain, and Max Yasgur’s farm became the East Coast headquarters of mud. The concert had originally been planned as a money-making event, but became a free concert when hundreds of thousands of people without tickets converged on the site.

But let’s forget the mud, the lack of facilities and food, and the overdoses for a moment and just revel in what everyone talks most about: the music. Some of the acts were truly memorable – Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice,” Sly & The Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” Richie Havens’s “Freedom,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner still stand out. And what a lineup of performers in addition to these: John Sebastian, Canned Heat, Mountain, The Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, The Band, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

It was the high point of the sixties. “Well maybe it’s the time of year, or maybe it’s the time of man. I don’t know who I am but you know life is for learning. We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

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