"We've got to get ourselves back to the garden..."
The famous Woodstock Festival of August 15th - 18th happened exactly fifty years ago. Some might say that it crowned the nineteen sixties. Three days of love and music. So much changed in that decade.
Like me, Joni Mitchell didn't make it to Woodstock but the festival touched her as it did me in my obscure village somewhere in northern England. I learnt to sing and play her song and performed it on several stages in my late teens and later played it weekly at a bar in Chagrin Falls, Ohio when I was summer camp counselling nearby.
For some of us the hippy dreams of Woodstock never died. Dreams of peace and love, brotherhood and sisterhood, kindness to our planet, humanity towards others, delight in simple things like flowers and rainbows and poetry.
Lord knows that the world could do with more of what Woodstock represented right now.
The magical weekend began with Richie Havens up on the stage singing "Freedom" and finished with Jimi Hendrix playing "Hey Joe". In between Joan Baez sang Pete Seeger's stirring anthem for the people - "We Shall Overcome":-
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day
I have so many feelings about this but a writer from Miami wrote a beautiful column about Woodstock and what it meant a few days ago that I think you would like. You can find it here: https://www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/leonard-pitts-jr-column-woodstock-s-th-anniversary/article_f6993379-a458-5b9c-a5fc-21ca0232f857.htmlReplyDelete
Thanks for the link Ms Moon. I will go there later.Delete
I thought I would go there but from England it is "Unavailable due to legal reasons".Delete
Sadly I wasn't born until 2 years later but I would've loved to have been there.ReplyDelete
Maybe you were there in spirit Amy - waiting to be born.Delete
Woodstock was such a highlight of the 60s. I was 17 at the time and it was too far away for me to get there but two years later I rode over 300 miles on the back of a motorcycle to take part in another three day rock festival. We camped out among hundreds of others, listened to music and loved every minute of it. I spent a couple of years in something of a "hippie" phase and even made it to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. Many people did not understand that time in life but it sure had a lot more good going for it than what we see today.ReplyDelete
You were an easy rider Bonnie. Where was that memorable festival at and were there any "known" acts up on stage?Delete
It was the Grapevine Rock Fest outside Dallas, Texas. If you look it up you will only see a totally different kind of festival that is held there now. For a few years after Woodstock there were several smaller type rock festivals held in many places around the US. My memory is that the music brought the people together but the highlight was the people as much as the music. I moved to California for two years after that weekend where I continued to see many big groups at the popular Winterland and other places. There were known acts at the Texas Festival but I am sorry to say I can not name them for certain because all the groups I saw run together in my memory and I don't remember which ones I saw where! That is sad I guess, but such were the times!Delete
You mentioned easy rider. I just read that Peter Fonda died today.Delete
I also noted that co-incidence Bonnie.Delete
When Woodstock happened, I was 1 1/2 years old and had no idea yet of what the world was like - and what it could be like. My world consisted of Mum and Dad and my big sister (14 months older than I). I had begun to walk a while ago and was just beginning to explore where my two little feet could carry me and my hands could reach.ReplyDelete
Temporally, your relationship with Woodstock is like my relationship with the Korean War.Delete
I suppose cynically one can call the hopes and aspirations of the young people as naive. But surely it was better to dream of a good world. Where it went wrong Christ only knows!ReplyDelete
Naivety can often be a conduit to better understanding.Delete
I know as we age we tend to think that the old day were better but I think in my case and for people of around my age it really was. I despair at people's attitude to most everything these days.ReplyDelete
Some things are better these days Briony. For example less people are cigarette smokers and we don't use "Izal" toilet paper any more... I can't think of anything else right now.Delete
I think I saw you perform - weren't you The Joni Mitchell Experience? It was impressive the way you matched her extensive vocal range.ReplyDelete
They were right up in my abdominal cavity.Delete
I was only 12 then so was not really aware of the festival, although I was aware of the hippy culture around that time. I do remember that we had a young priest taking us for geography lessons at that time as part of his teacher training programme. For one lesson, he showed us a short film of the San Francisco hippies. I am not too sure what we learned from that in terms of geography but it made a change from the usual text book lesson.ReplyDelete
I hope that the hippies were making love in that short film and not war like their brothers in Vietnam.Delete
Joni Mitchell was one of my and Greg's favourite singers. You probably saw I quoted her on my last blog post and the Circle Game was played at Greg's funeral. The 60s and 70s were certainly iconic in musical terms.ReplyDelete
"The Circle Game" is a very appropriate song for a funeral. I may ask for it at my funeral along with "Wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom!" (i.e. Tutti Frutti).Delete
Those were the days !ReplyDelete
You are right YP, so much changed in that decade, so many boundaries crossed, and so much more freedom for the young to enjoy themselves. So many thought-provoking songs. It's almost impossible for this generation to appreciate just how life-changing events like Woodstock were.
We could only watch, and wonder, from afar.
You think of what life was like for the young in 1960 and what it was like for them in 1969 - just nine short years. Peace and Love CG. Peace and Love...Delete
Oh, I have sooooo many thoughts about Woodstock. I was a brand new bride to a rather conservative, foreign born young man (opposites DO attract) and did not go to New York State that week-end. But, the memories of what we heard and saw on the news are no less potent. I remember that it poured rain and yet there were no people angry with one another because they could not find a dry spot. I remember that there were no arrests, no fighting, no thefts. Only peace. While the dreadful war continued, there was peace and love and order in upstate New York. And, the music! My god, what music! I remember, most of all, Joe Cocker! Nobody had ever heard of him and all of a sudden, his message was pure gold. And Janis!!! Wow! Gone too soon, she was.ReplyDelete
This was when people my age were beginning to grow up and we would soon come to realize that our government was lying to us, we could not trust them and they were sending our friends to be killed and maimed for no good reason. We were angry and looking desperately for direction to our lives and our way of life in the face of destruction. We unknowingly were trying to teach about peace and harmony and love.
It was all over too quickly and we returned to war and protest marches and struggle for equality with great hope for a better future.
Thank you for this very interesting comment Donna. Even though you were not physically present at Woodstock you were there in spirit and you remain a member of the Woodstock generation.Delete
I will be a hippy until die!!!! I will always stand for all that "term" stood for! Magnificent!! Peace, love and joy!! Could anyone ask for more?Delete
Such a memorable time. A generation that gave the world memorable, long-lasting music. The hopes of one day peace reigning supreme still remain, but I fear, unfortunately, they are false hopes.ReplyDelete
I remember the time well...so many, many memories....
They may be futile hopes Lee but I don't think they were false.Delete
I believe you know the meaning of what I wrote, Yorkie.Delete
Not having the tertiary education others may have had, I ask to be excused for my erroneous use of the word "false" in my effort to express my thoughts. I should have used a word better suited...one relevant to the true meaning I wished to imply.
I live in hope all the time. My desires and hopes for a better world...for better human behaviour; respect for our fellowman; consideration for, and acknowledgement of the feelings of our fellow humans...are not false
I stand corrected...but not in the "naughty corner".
Oh! Woe is me! I deleted what I had originally written in response because, upon re-reading it, I discovered a typo. Such an error just wouldn't do!
I was there. I was just 17 and was with my new boyfriend who later became and still is my husband of 49 years. We lived an hour away and we drove his 1947 plymouth. It rained a lot and I don't remember it as a 'great time' but it was historic. If you go over to my blog, I have a picture of our original ticket.ReplyDelete
You were there! Wow! ..I guess that every single person who was there has a different perspective on what they witnessed.Delete
I have always lamented that I wasn't old enough for (and lived too far away from) Woodstock. But I love the 1970 documentary film, which does a pretty good job of capturing the atmosphere, I think. Joni always said that she regretted not going -- as I recall she was invited, but her managers convinced her to stay in New York for an appearance on the Dick Cavett show instead. They were afraid she couldn't get there and get back in time given the transportation gridlock.ReplyDelete
She talks about that in the video clip I included with this post.Delete