Woodstock Movie Poster | Half Sheet (22x28) Original Vintage Movie Poster |  8231

2021 Movie Draft- Round 8- Pick 7- Hanspostcard selects- music/musical- Woodstock.

A couple years ago there was a lot of buzz about the 50th anniversary of a music concert- it just wasn’t any concert it was about the most famous concert ever- Woodstock. One of the most iconic moments of the 1960s I believe in 48 more years with the 100th anniversary it will still be remembered and celebrated even though there will most likely be no one around who will have been there that weekend in August 1969.

I was eight years old at the time. I have no memory of it. I’ve been asked before by students when I was a teacher- ‘We’re you at Woodstock?” I don’t know how old they thought I was but ‘No, I wasn’t there.” To be honest even if I had been a dozen years older I would not have gone. I would probably have regretted not going afterwards. I do not like being stuck in big crowds. I have gone to hundreds of baseball games but you have a seat there, there is spacing. Same thing with concerts. The concerts I have problems with are the standing room deals- where I get surrounded. Even if its just a few hundred folks that gets me nervous. Being in a crowd of half a million- no thanks. I see the footage from that weekend and the first thing that comes to mind- too many people in too small of a space.

I have always wanted to visit the concert site and although I do a lot of traveling it seemed I was never close enough to Bethel, New York to just made a quick stop. A year and a half ago while on a vacation to New York and then into New England we made the time to stop and I was glad I did.

One of the miracles of this concert- as compared to many of the other festivals from that era is- the lack of any violence there. Why? I think one of the key factors is- when things started to get out of hand as far as the crowds go- the promoters wisely made it a free concert. Also the security there- was not the Hell’s Angels- but Wavy Gravy and his laid back crew who called themselves the “Please Force.” Another major factor- after having visited the site- is the site itself and its setting. The reason I had never gone there before is- it is out in the middle of nowhere- very rural setting. Laid back- and the concert goers I think responded to the rural back drop. Also it has been noted that while a number of locals may have been less than thrilled- the attitude for the most part seemed to have been a ‘this is happening- it will last three days and let’s make the best of it.’ How the locals responded was a major factor in the success of the weekend- their contributing and help in feeding and getting water to the concert goers. No one had imagined that this festival would turn out as big as it did. This big a thing was never planned.

As soon as we approached what was then Max Yasgur’s farm it was immediately recognizable. I can see why the organizers went for this place to hold the concert- a huge field with a gradual upgrade- a natural amphitheater. As big as the field is I expected much bigger. Up at the top of the hill they have a fairly new museum- about the 1960’s. The museum was well worth going through. It wasn’t crowded = again this is an off the beaten path place. I doubt it’s ever too crowded. We walked around to get views from different places on the field and we saw a guy who was giving a tour to an elderly couple. We were listening in- and it turns out the guy giving the tour was the director of the place and the elderly man- was someone who had something to do with the concert. Carlos Santana. Just kidding- the man was one of the accountants who worked for the promoters. We had a great conversation with them and then continued to walk around the site. I am not saying I’d make the trip again- but it was worth doing at least once.

There was a lot of awful things going on in the 1960s- assassinations, riots in the cities of America, The Vietnam War- but to me at least two events in 1969 were extremely positive- Apollo 11 going to the Moon and Woodstock.

I haven’t written anything about the movie- but its a great documentary covering all the aspects of the Woodstock Festival. The performances that stand out to me as far as music- Richie Havens and Jimi Hendrix. The thing that sticks out most in my mind though is all the people who were there and how everyone was just getting along. Today people seem to have no patience. Can you imagine being there? You would have to have had great patience getting there- and getting out afterwards and for about anything you did in between. But everyone seemed pretty cool. The version of the movie I would recommend is the director’s cut which is over 4 hours long.


  1. I almost watched this yesterday, but opted for “Monterey Pop” instead.

    A former boyfriend of mine was at Woodstock as a toddler (not kidding). His earliest memory is of Jimi Hendrix playing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

  2. I remember when you went there last year but this I think is the first time you’ve talked about it. Did you feel any weird energy when you were there? It just seems like a place with that many people who co-existed peacefully for 3 days has to have generated some lasting energy that soaked into the terrain. Very awesome they have a museum there. It’s a place I hope to visit someday when able to travel safely again. Do you know how close it is to where Big Pink is/was?

    • I am not sure- maybe a couple hours- Bethel is very rural- Big Pink is near Woodstock which is a ways away..

  3. That many people would be hard to be in… the place to be it seems would be on the outskirts of the crowd near the water and trees… where you would have a little room…. just don’t try the brown acid!

  4. Thanks for sharing your visit. In August ’69, I was three. Growing up, I had no clue that it ever took place. It was never mentioned on either side of my family. I remember liking (I think I mentioned this) Matthew’s Southern Comfort’s version of the song but, had no idea it was about a concert. I think I was in college in the middle 80s when I learned what Woodstock actually was. My parents never once spoke of it.

    • I was eight- my parents were busy raising children- my sister was 2 1/2 and my brother was 1- we lived that year out in the country. That wasn’t on the radar as far as discussion etc… of course I learned of it a few years later.

    • I’m pretty sure my dad’s younger brother knew about it. They were eight years apart and he would have been just shy of his 16th birthday. The distance in ages meant their teen years had different music genres. My dad couldn’t stand most late 60s music and had an extreme dislike of the Beatles. His brother was just the opposite…Beatles, Clapton, Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane… I guarantee he wanted to go. My dad was the short-haired, “almost went to Vietnam” military type and my uncle was the long-haired hippy/biker looking teen that got a college deferment in the later years of Vietnam. Opposite ends of the spectrum…

  5. Family matters have me completely distracted from WordPress this week, but I’m glad I at least spotted this post. It’s great you got to the Woodstock site. I appreciate your mention of how small the area appears. That was one of the things that struck me on my visit. I used to hear that ‘200,000’ people were there, and somehow that bloomed to ‘half-a-million’, after being written into song lyrics by someone who wasn’t there. I think maybe it could have been 200k but that’s it. I’ve been to Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, and a few of the other ‘huge’ festivals, and I see the huge space consumed, and how densely people are packed in. To me the Woodstock setting would have held 200k, maybe. I also don’t buy the ‘no violence’ legend. There were no police or phones for reporting violence. A lack of official police reports due to the lack of police and a means to report crimes and investigate them, doesn’t mean there weren’t any assaults and robberies.

    It was a huge, historic festival for sure, and I’ve enjoyed watching the movie, and wow, several of the performances were truly amazing. Thank goodness we have the footage and recordings. But I’m ready for the ‘legend’ to reflect the reality.

  6. Probably the most iconic single event of the whole “Hippie/60s” movement I think. I actually had a poster of it – the bird on a guitar – on my wall as a kid, I think my mom got it me probably just liking the way it looked, since she wouldn’t have approved of that concert and I was only a couple of years old when it took place. Like you though, even if I had been of age and able to, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be there – too many people, too few facilities , too hard to leave quickly if you wanted to. But- love the music and am glad someone recorded it!
    I don’t know if I’ve been through Bethel but twice I drove through that area of New York and have to say it’s some of the nicest, most scenic country in the land.

    • i can’t imagine how long it took to get out afterwards- i guess the crowd left gradually…. i am with you- too many people..

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