On August 15, 2009, what had once been open, rolling green fields, was transformed into a mass of muddy, wet people all pulsing with the music of Crosby, Stills & Nash, Janis Joplin and many more. Today, 40 years later, those who attended the fair look back fondly, the feeling is still the same.
They had all come together to advocate peace in a nation drafted into war; and thus, the Woodstock nation was born.
“Woodstock was a gathering of a like-minded community, by which the unifying vehicle was music.” Said Chuck Doudna, the Special Achievement Services teacher here at Eaglecrest. The festival was held in Bethel, New York from August 15-18 and featured some of the most famous rock musicians of all time.
Bands including the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Sha-Na-Na, the Who, and more performed their most famous songs over the four, rainy days at Woodstock.
Although Woodstock is looked back on as a hippie movement, its goal was protest. They were all there to protest the war that raged on in Vietnam, trying to get their voices heard. That mentality has lived on throughout the years and is alive, even today. Although we know that the chances of an event like Woodstock happening again are slim, the feeling and ideals of the late 1960’s, are inspiring people of all ages today.
People gather to march on Washington in protest of what they truly believe is right; even teens in high school are becoming more and more politically active, and learning that it is okay to stand up for something that you believe in.
“Woodstock provided a platform for fringe sub cultures (most of whom were teenagers or slightly older) to come together and unite as one. Woodstock shows teenagers that the coming together of people is far more powerful then the divisiveness of people.” Said Doudna. Most of the more than half a million attendees were teenagers just out of high school, or just starting college.
In his testimony on discovery.net, Don Simmons said, “Just turned 18, just out of high school, just accepted to college, just waiting to get drafted and go to Vietnam, (never went), just went and had a great time.”
But the music is the most memorable.
The concert began with songs such as “Freedom,” “Hey Jude,” and others by Richie Havens, a musician noted for his guitar skills.
Even though none of the members performed, many Beatles’ songs were performed that we still listen to today, proving their lyrics to be timeless. As most of the performers were, and still are considered the greatest musicians of all time, we still listen to their rhythms and lyrics today.
“I really like Grateful Dead because they are one of the few bands who combine many different styles of music like blues, rock, and bluegrass to make a unique sound.” Said Junior Ashley Borchers, about one of her favorite bands who performed at Woodstock.
The music of Woodstock has also influenced countless musicians today, to write more politically active, and sometimes critical, songs; songs such as Pink’s “Dear Mr. President,” and Nick Cannon’s “Can I Live,” a pro-life song about abortion.
Forty years after Woodstock, celebrations around the country amassed and concerts are still taking place; San Francisco’s West Fest will be commemorating Woodstock this October 25. The release of the movie Taking Woodstock was also aired in honor of the anniversary.
As the festival drew to a close, the half a million people dispersed to head to their homes across the country to the sound of Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”; the muddy fields began to dry and the feeling of impact lingered in the air.
In 1990, a letter was found at the sight of Woodstock that was later published on discovery.net remembering what had been, more than 20 years before. “We were only looking for a party; we had no idea what we were in for. We got a taste of what the gathering was all about and it changed something inside us.”
Woodstock did not just apply to the 60’s and the Vietnam War, its ideals and music will carry on for years to come.