So 50 years ago on the weekend just passed was the, now famous, Woodstock Music Festival. So why was it so important, especially at a time when there were countless festivals and live music shows available?
As a young man when I heard about what happened there I was filled with a desire that one day I would time travel back there just to be in the crowd. Sadly I was only 5 and I lived in the UK when it happened.
I think that it was more than a music show that set it apart. The organisers hoped for 50,000 tickets to be sold, but in the end they run out of tickets and let people in for free. Estimates for the attendance range between 400,000 and 500,000. The show was scheduled for 3 days but went on for 4 days. The farmer whose land it was on was not a hippie supporter but supported free speech and wanted to give “young people” the chance to express themselves. He even gave away free water from his dams and free milk from his cows.
The greatest thing that happened over the 4 days was that there were very few incidents of crime and violence and there was no riot. All these were anticipated by the locals and the powers that be. “Young people” had proved that they could party and not cause trouble.
For me looking back at Woodstock today. I know that if someone tried to do Woodstock today they would not be able to. Woodstock broke every single rule that are so precious to us today. There were huge risks for injury, especially after the rain fell continuously. Health and safety would be pulling their hair out. They were licenced for 50,000 and 400,000+ turned up so they insurance would be invalid. There were 2 deaths so that would shut it down today. There were 2 births which would also shut it down. The message was free love, everywhere, with everyone. Now that is not my chosen lifestyle but it was theirs. The whole world of political correctness would be having heart attacks from the huge offense caused by the events of those 4 days.
But everything we, as a world, try to protect ourselves from was what made Woodstock great and I would go back in time to be there in a heartbeat.
Lastly, and most importantly the music was incredible. Days of amazing music from artists that shaped decades to come.
Go to You Tube and just type in Woodstock and the videos are awesome. The filming is not HD but just close your eyes and imagine that you are there. Enjoy.