Woodstock – A 40th Year Celebration

It was 4o years ago this weekend the Woodstock Nation came to be, for at least a short period of time, an idyllic, utopian view of a world filled with music, love and peace……

Was Woodstock really that or was it a muddy rain filled festival filled mess as early news media first reported. Whatever your viewpoint, Woodstock has come to represent a time of utopian dreams in a world that seen plenty of horror in the past few years. The Vietnam War was still raging, racial riots in many cities throughout the U.S. and the horrific Charles Manson murders happened only a week before the festival.  A filmed documentary of the event was released in March of 1970 and in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, I have scanned some photos from a souvenir booklet of the movie. Also attached are some links on various articles and websites devoted to Woodstock including a link to Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock (the complete concert performance).  

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At the bottom of the following page is a list of credits to the film including one in the lower left hand portion of the page that says Edited by Martin Scorsese. Unfortunately, the scan is too small to read.

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Woodstock Festival on Wikipedia

New York Times article on Woodstock by Jon Pareles 

Woodstock 1969 website

Woodstock – IMDB Page

Jimi Hendrix LIVE at Woodstock ’69 (complete concert)

On August 28th Ang Lee’s film Taking Woodstock” will be released.

There has also been a series of new books celebrating the 40th Anniversary. Of them all, the one I am most interested to read is NYC disc jockey Pete Fornatale’s oral history “Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock”

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Below are some photos

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The final photo below is iconic and was used as the cover for the original 3 record LP soundtrack. Ever wonder what happened to this couple? Well, they happen to be on the nightly news the other night and they married, and are still married with a family. They still live near the site of the concert and recently went back for the first time in 40 years.

                                            All You Need is Love 

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12 comments on “Woodstock – A 40th Year Celebration

  1. Dave says:

    Awesome stuff, John. I too saw that report on the NBC News broadcast about the couple who are still married 40 years later — it’s like an incredible cap to an already incredible story!

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    • John Greco says:

      Dave – It is amazing to think about all the conincidences that happen in life that result in changing your life. For this couple it was pure serendipity.

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  2. Judy says:

    I loved seeing these pictures – I saw a report about Woodstock recently which included some bits about Scorsese’s involvement. Would love to see the whole original documentary. There is also a film about Woodstock directed by Ang Lee, ‘Taking Woodstock’, which is due out here in the UK in November – do you know anything about that one?

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  3. John Greco says:

    Judy – glad you enjoyed the photos. Yes, the Ang Lee film opens up here the last week of August.

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  4. Sam Juliano says:

    This is quite a lovefest to this incomparable cultural event, that like John I did live through, but didn’t take part in. But it’s resonanace has been felt all through the years, mainly of course with our passion for the music, which is still palpable. I loved this beautiful layout, the priceless photos and clippings and the comprehensive treatment. I am looking forward to the August 28th opening of the Ang Lee film and will be there will bells on.

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    • John Greco says:

      I am looking forward to the Ang Lee film also, Sam. My wife actually attempted to get to the concert with some friends but from what she said, it was so congested on the road, they found a place to turn around and left.

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  5. Judy says:

    A pity she didn’t get there, but good for her for trying! I’ll be interested to hear what you and Sam think of the Ang Lee movie.

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  6. Tom Degan says:

    The Woodstock Festival did not take place in Woodstock, New York but in the town of Bethel which is sixty-seven miles due west. The second day of that mythic, three-day concert coincided with my eleventh birthday (I am going to be fifty-one on Sunday. Yikes! Where did the time go?). I remember quite clearly my friend Tom Finkle and I riding our bikes up to the bridge on South Street that overlooks Route 17 – a four lane highway which snakes its way into Sullivan County where the great event took place. It looked like a long and narrow parking lot. The New York State Thruway had been shut down. To the best of my knowledge, that had never happened before and has not happened since.

    To say that it was an exciting time to be alive almost sounds redundant. Less than four weeks earlier, two human beings had walked on the surface of the moon, a technological feat that will probably out shine every other event of the twentieth century in the history books that will be written a thousand years from now. As future decades unwind, it is a certainty that the photographic image of half a million kids, partying and dancing in the mud, will not continue to sustain the cultural significance that it does for us today. The years will pass by, the people who were lucky enough to be there will one day be no more, and the Woodstock Festival will be erased from living memory; a mere footnote to a very crowded century. But what a freaking party, baby!

    This weekend I’ll be listening to my copy of the Woodstock Soundtrack LP – on vinyl, of course. The very thought of listening to it on a compact disc seems somehow sacrilegious. Although I could have done without Sha-Na-Na’s version of At The Hop, all in all it’s a pretty good collection of tunes. I have always envied my cousin, the noted falconer Tom Cullen, who was a witness to Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Can you imagine? Canned Heat’s performance of Going Up The Country is one of the great moments in rock history; and for the last forty years, whenever I heard Joan Baez singing Joe Hill, I have had to pause whatever I was doing at the moment and concentrate on it – It is one of the most moving pieces ever recorded on tape.

    “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

    Emma Goldman 1869-1940

    Dance with me, Emma!

    The last time I looked at my videocassette of Woodstock (which was well over a decade ago) I wondered about the fates of the half-a-million gathered on the fields of Max Yasgur’s farm in Sullivan County on that distant weekend. The passage of four decades decrees that a third or more of them have passed on. The average age of the attendees was about twenty-two. Today would find them approaching their mid-sixties; the age many of their grandparents were in 1969!

    There are many good people of that generation who have kept the spirit of the sixties alive – or have tried to anyway. America is not the same country it was forty years ago. 2009 finds us even more polarized than we were during the age of Richard Nixon.

    It is no longer merely a “generation gap” that is tearing America apart. The gaps today are almost too numerous to catalog: the political gap; the health insurance gap; the employment gap; the racial gap; the education gap; the class and income gaps. The world is a lot more troubled and sadder than it was in that long ago, magical summer of 1969. Sometimes I feel like a hostage to time. The truth is, for all the technological wonders of the twenty-first century, I just don’t like being here.

    NOTE TO MY FRIENDS:
    No, I’m not going to kill myself. Chill.

    Where I come from, Woodstock has a special meaning to people because it happened here – or close enough to count. From where I now sit, Bethel is a mere forty-two miles northwest. According to this morning’s local paper, seventy-five media outlets from all over the world will be covering the events commemorating the anniversary this weekend. That’s enough of a reason for me to stay the hell away. I’m not as crowd-friendly as I once was. Besides, I would have preferred to attend the real thing forty years ago. That would have been too cool for words!

    Nostalgia is a permanent human condition. Each generation is nostalgic for the last. It absolutely boggles the mind to think that the year 2049 will find those of us who survive looking back on these hideous times with tender longing. Given our silly human quirks, that will probably be the case. Still, it’s hard not to reflect on the hope that was prevalent in the summer of Woodstock. We want to believe that there is a magical future where, as John Lennon once imagined, there are no countries; nothing to kill or die for. Maybe we will one day arrive at that wondrous place.

    Maybe….

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

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    • John Greco says:

      Tom – Thank you for your thoughts and personal memories about Woodstock and all it stood for. We all look back on our youth and it times as nostalgic. Time colors the past a rosier shade. As I get older, I find myself more and more fondly looking back on “the good old days.”

      …and them music brings it all back so vividly.

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  7. maximumfiction says:

    You might get a kick out of my fictional rendering of the freaky events at Woodstock on Monday, August 18, 1969:

    http://maximumfiction.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/the-aliens-have-landed-and-theyre-wearing-gold-lame-monday-august-18-1969/

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