We Got Your Woodstock Right Here

Love_and_peace_feels_cold_and_dirtyThey didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for the 40th anniversary of Woodstock this week. While celebrations are planned from east to west (later in the year), scant stories are available, whether by net, news or TV.
One we did find, however, tells the real story, second-hand, about the music, mud and mayhem that ensued. Check out writer Ed Ward’s article in the Boston Phoenix. It should be required class reading.

6 thoughts on “We Got Your Woodstock Right Here

  1. Haven’t read my old friend Ed’s piece yet…but wanted to add there was a pretty terrific two-hour documentary on VH1 Classic last night directed by Kathy Bigelow. I’m sure it’ll run again this weekend.

  2. Quite interesting to me to find Ed Ward so negative toward Woodstock in this piece, with backup from the ever-astute George Clinton, no less.

    Woodstock’s never appealed much to me, even in the beginning, but I was afraid maybe that was a sour-grapes response from me not having been there. Yet the more I thought about Woodstock over the years, the less it seemed like a true manifestation of The Sixties, even though it technically took place four-and-a-half months before the end of that decade. It somehow felt anticlimactic, even early on.

    I wasn’t in attendance at Monterey Pop (June 1967) either, but that festival has remained the archetypal celebration-of-the-Sixties event for me. There was a true sense of peace & love hopefulness (however naive) on board for that one — anything and everything seemed brand new and totally possible throughout 1967. Then it all went to hell in 1968 — Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, Andy Warhol was shot, Mayor Daley stomped on the antiwar protesters at the Democratic convention, and tricked-out Nixon was elected president, only to reveal that his “plan to end the war” somehow involved continuing it indefinitely. And also in 1968 (here’s where ye olde personal becomes political), four days after Warhol and Kennedy were shot, I graduated from college and promptly became 1-A Draft Bait.

    As it turned out, the summer of 1969 was the nadir of my struggle with my draft board to obtain a conscientious objector classification, so I wasn’t particularly excited about either the Moon Landing or Woodstock that season — hell, I might be in jail in a few months anyway, no more Sixties for you, bub!

    I did manage to stay out of the clink, finally won my 1-O classification on a “Presidential Appeal” [sic] in May 1970, but I never reconciled myself to Woodstock. It always seemed to me that Woodstock and Altamont were essentially the same muddy, druggy mess, except that more people got killed at the latter. And if George Clinton (who was at Woodstock) says so, I’m with him, brother. I’ll take his analogy just a bit further, though; I think Woodstock was, even more than the End of the Sixties, the BEGINNING of the 1970’s & that era’s rigid veneration of Classic Rock. Woodstock had tons of the coming decade’s macho-preening guitar solos and buckskin-hued country rock — the same blah stuff the punks worked so hard to overthrow throughout the ’70s. Yes, indeed.

  3. I guess you won’t be buying any of that Southern Healing either (a-wink).
    Seriously, I feel like much of today’s landscape is like the apathetical, gassy ’70s you described, only moreso due to the lack of demonstrations and civil protests. The general public is too anesthetized with the onset of (sur)reality programming, derivative excuses for music and the material rabble that comes along.
    It’s now taken for granted whereas back then fewer, those in the business, had the keys to the rock vehicle. And I’d say, consequently, the audience, as least, had less pop cult damage, hence the looks back at innocence.

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