I wasn’t there. In 1969 I was fifteen. I didn’t hear about Woodstock until it was well along. When I saw the films coming out of the Catskills, I probably said something like, “Far out, man.!”
I was already tuning up for the hippie generation. I had black-light posters on my wall and the obligatory black-light to go with them. I was already digging the music of many of the groups playing the festival. One of my favorite albums at the time was the Who’s Tommy.
At a half-million attendees, Woodstock become a microcosm of the generation. It was like the collective consciousness of everyone between the ages of 16 and 26. Sure there were a lot of drugs, and sex, and music, but beyond that Woodstock was an ideal. The spirit of the generation lived on long after Yasgur’s field returned to lush green pasture. It was called Woodstock Nation.
It was the philosophy of the hippie movement, a bohemian lifestyle, a connection to the Earth, the environment. For many it was about radical social change at a time when change of some sort was really needed. This country was split right down the backbone with young boys by the daily dozens being killed in Vietnam and an industrial-political machine run awry.
In its own way the generation began to find its voice. Echoing the words of The Who, “We’re not going to take it,” Woodstock Nation began to flex its voice and the counter-culture went mainstream.
July of the next year saw Atlanta’s own version of Woodstock at a small town nearly 100 miles south. Byron became the focal point for the next major gathering of the Woodstock nation and once again well over 500,000 came calling.
There was no way I was missing that one… but that’s another story.
Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18 – Woodstock Lineup
- The Grease Band
- Joe Cocker
- Country Joe and the Fish
- Ten Years After
- The Band
- Blood, Sweat & Tears
- Johnny Winter featuring his brother, Edgar Winter
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
- Paul Butterfield Blues Band
- Jimi Hendrix