A call for Woodstock memories

  • After Quill on Saturday, Country Joe performed and his Fish cheer got the crowd going. The next group was unknown to most, but their performance was one of the famous highlights of the festival. After one of the band's songs 400,000 gave a standing ovation. Wikimedia Commons/James M. Shelley—

  • Andy Castillo Staff Illustration/Andy Castillo

Published: 8/8/2019 9:38:27 AM

Next week — Aug. 15 through 17 — will mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1969 Woodstock music festival. Woodstock was more than a musical event. It was a cultural phenomenon that helped to mold the fabric of modern American life.

Coalescing from social aggrivation inflicted by the ongoing Vietnam War and the subversive free-love hippie movement, the festival channeled the frustration and angst of much of the nation into one weekend. Hundreds of thousands of concert-goers flocked from all corners of the United States to rural upstate New York. They were tempted by musical icons like Arlo Guthrie, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix (who performed his iconic version of the Star Spangled Banner), The Who, and Creedance Clearwater Revival.

The festival launched into stardom performers such as Richie Havens (who improvised the song “Freedom/Motherless Child”), Santana among others.

There will never be another Woodstock music festival, even though others have tried to replicate it. Notably, organizers tried and eventually failed for a host of reasons to put on an anniversary festival, Woodstock 50, which would have happened this weekend. 

In recognition of Woodstock, 1969, the hippie movement, the Vietnam War era and as a part of the Recorder’s weekly arts and culture coverage, I’m putting out a request for stories rooted in the festival — all of them, either short or long, good or bad. They can be sentences or chapters.

Send them along.

While there will never be another Woodstock festival, hopefully, we can compile a rich and intriguing list of memories recalled by those of us in this region who attended, to paint a vibrant picture of Woodstock’s landmark weekend and how it impacted Franklin County.

If you’d like to contribute vignettes or a longer article, please email your thoughts and memories, photographs, poetry (anything, really), to acastillo@recorder.com by Wednesday, Aug. 14, for publication next Thursday.


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