I wish I had the perspective of an actual person who experienced the miracle that was Woodstock to share with you. So if you're reading this and went, feel free to contribute. Musically speaking only Santana and Jimi Hendrix delivered on the big stage in a big way. Country Joe and the Fish and Crosby,Stills, Nash and Young also played great sets. Most of what we know about that weekend was captured in the movie made about the event. Richie Havens', for example, mesmerised the crowd all by himself up there. That was amazing.
Our lovable band (The Grateful Dead) was tripping too hard and demanded their own sound system. This led to a below average performance and a shit load of electrical shocks. It didn't help that as soon as they started playing, a storm started blowing the screen they put up for the light show like a sail and the stage was starting to slide in the mud. I'm sure Owsley's finest didn't help matters. It also didn't help that some guy started throwing PURPLE acid off the stage but in the dark it looked like the infamous "brown acid". That comment about the brown acid that we know about thanks to the movie is also directly responsible for RockMed and all the chillout tents at today's festivals,although at Woodstock it was handled by The Hog Farm and Wavy Gravy and some really kind souls.
One thing is for sure, If I had a time machine, I would set it for today in the magical year of 1969. The funny thing is they held it at Max Yasgur's Farm at Bethel,NY. They tried to get it setup in Woodstock so Bob Dylan would come out of hiding and play. Being the natural contrarian he was, coupled with the fact that random people were walking into/ breaking into his house, where his wife and kids were, only increased his desire to avoid it. He wasn't in Woodstock. He wasn't even in the country. He flew to the Isle of Wight fest to avoid the party thrown for him on his doorstep.
Did a music festival change the world? I seriously doubt it. Would Woodstock have changed my world? You goddamn right it would. Either way it puts a huge smile on my face to know this country was once so free that Woodstock even happened. Hell, most of the people got in for free and the promoters felt groovy about it because making money was not the goal. No police, no heavy handed security, just a bunch of people in the mud listening to incredible music. I doubt we'll ever see anything as genuine again.
Peace ✌️ By Kevin Long
edited by Greg Heffelfinger