Stuck on 17B - Day OneLike the rest of the free world, I’m spending this weekend nostalgizing about Woodstock. Never mind that I was five years old at the time and lived at the opposite end of the country. I’m sure that, had I known about Woodstock, I would have said to my parents something along the line of, “Look, you know that bicycle I’ve been saying I wanted for my birthday? Well, I’ve got a different idea....”
Growing up in a time where there is a Fest this and a Fest that, it’s hard sometimes to understand the cultural significance of Woodstock. I’m not going to get into a whole dissertation, because that would be well beyond the realm of this blog. In 2001, Dr. Michael Doyle, at the time an assistant professor in the history department at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, published a 12-page paper titled “Statement on the Historical and Cultural Significance of the 1969 Woodstock Festival Site.” In that paper he wrote:
The myth of Woodstock is that in a time of military conflict abroad, racial and ethnic strife at home, when a deep social division known as the “generation gap” separated parents from children, a half a million mostly young people removed themselves from proximity to these conflicts and went “back to the garden” to “try and set [their] soul[s] free.” Attracted by the largest lineup of popular music talent ever showcased at one venue, these young people endured inclement weather, and critical shortages of food, water, shelter, dry clothing, and sanitation facilities; in sum, most of the basic necessities of life. Despite these hardships, for three days they lived peaceably in a state of harmony and love, sharing what limited resources they had with one another (my emphasis).The sharing, the community, the peace, the love; if anything, that would be the significance and the legacy of Woodstock. That people could come together and be together and get along. In a country reeling from an unpopular war and a generation gap never before seen, that was a powerful statement.
There are reams and reams of books, articles, Web pages, etc., on Woodstock, so I won’t go on any more about the history or whatever its significance was. For the next three or so days, I’m going to post some music from the bands and artists that performed at the festival. I won’t be able to post stuff from everyone, because I couldn’t find music from all of the bands. I drew from various sources, so in some instances the sound quality won’t be so great, but overall it’s mostly pretty good.
Day one kicked off at 5:07 p.m., with Richie Havens taking the stage. Sweetwater were supposed to be the opening act – and were supposed to have gone on at about 3:00 – but got waylaid in traffic. A very pregnant Joan Baez was the last act of the night, taking the stage at about 1 a.m.
Day One performances:
Richie Havens ~ Freedom.mp3
Swami Satchidananda ~ gave the invocation for the festival
The Incredible String Band
Tim Hardin ~ If I Were a Carpenter.mp3
Melanie ~ Beautiful People.mp3
Arlo Guthrie ~ Coming into Los Angeles.mp3
Joan Baez (w/Jeffrey Shurtleff) ~ Drug Store Drivin’ Man.mp3