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The Inanity Of Woodstock, Revisited

The idea of Woodstock as counterculture was dug up, chopped in a blender and sold as a high protein smoothie today by the USA Today, which published a fawning review of a $600.00 book of Woodstock concert photographs. The photographs are, like most others, of teenagers hanging around, looking bored/stoned. In the review, “rock journalist” Rona Elliot says of Woodstock “To say it was mellow is an understatement. You could just sit there and watch and be entertained. No texting, no immediate gratification.”

Yes, no immediate gratification, just a place where you could just sit and be entertained. You have to remember, this was the 60s. They didn’t know about the dangerous effects of turning your brain off back then.

5 thoughts on “The Inanity Of Woodstock, Revisited”

  1. ReMarker says:

    But au contrare my friend!!! Woodstock is THE icon of a time when national and international events converged with the baby-boomer generation. “Enlightenment” took place and “movements” were born.

    Let’s get this blog’s “Woodstock issues” out of the way and then I will give my personal account of those times. Issue #1 – Woodstock’s inanity or insignificance. As subjective as Woodstock’s inanity is, good or bad, history shows Woodstock to be highly significant (no pun intended) to; the peace movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, the “responsibility in government” movement, the “social conscience” movement, the sexual rights movement, the “healthy living” movement, the environmental movement to mention a few. BTW the music was incredible (also subjective). Issue #2 – turned off brains. Actually brains were turned on, admittedly chemically and potentially harmful, but ON just the same.

    OK, My personal account:
    1945 – I was born. (The first baby-boomer year. People born from 1945-1950 are considered baby-boomers.) Baby-boomers are the biggest American “age group” demographic to date.

    1957ish+ (age 12) – Muscle cars and rock and roll.

    1959 (age 14) – Viet Nam starts.

    1963 (age 18) – Kennedy was assassinated. Baby boomers started graduating from high school. Males were destined to go to Viet Nam. The military draft (2 years) existed with no lottery. Only well connected people or concientious objectors could avoid going to war. If you refused, you went to jail.

    1965 (age 20) – I was drafted into the Army. The lawful drinking age in most states was 21. I could kill but I couldn’t have a beer.

    1967 (age 22) – I started work for music distributers. Friends were at the Monterey Intl. Pop Festival, Monterey Calif. Performers: Jimi Hendrix, Janet Joplin, The Who, Otis Redding, and Ravi Shankar.

    1968 ( age 23) – Nixon elected.

    1968 – Miami Music Festival. Friends were there. Performers: Hose Filiciano, Country Joe and the Fish, Buffy Sainte Marie, Chuck Berry, John Mayall, Booker T and the MGs, Fleetwood Mac, Steppenwolf, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, The Boxtops, Richie Havens, Canned Heat, The Turtles, The Grateful Dead, and others.

    1968 – Newport Pop Festival. Friends were there. Performers: Albert King, Edwin Hawkin Singers, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Spirit, Southwind, Taj Mahal, Creedence Clearwater, Eric Burton, Jethro Tull, Lee Michaels, Steppenwolf, Booker T and the MGs, Chambers Bros., Johnny Winter, Marvin Gaye, Buddy Miles, Poco, The Byrds, The Rascals, Three Dog Nite, and others.

    1969 (age 24) – Woodstock. Friends were there. Performers: Joan Baez, The Band, Blood Sweat and Tears, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker, Country Joe and the Fish, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby – Stills & Nash, The Grateful Dead, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Melanie, Mountain, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Sweetwater, Ten Years After, The Who, Johnny Winter, Neil Young, and others.

    1969 – Texas Intl. Pop Festival. Friends were there. Performers: Canned Heat, Chicago Transit Authority, James Cotton Blues Band, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, Herbie Mann, Rotary Connection, Sam & Dave, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, Incredible String Band, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Johnny Winter, Sly and the Family Stone, Spirit, Sweetwater, Ten Years After, and Tony Joe White.

    1969 – Atlanta Pop Festival. I was there with friends. Performers: Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, Johnny Rivers, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Canned Heat, Spirit, Ten Wheel Drive, Joe Cocker, Chicago Transit Authority, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, Sweetwater, Al Kooper, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Pacific Gas & Electric, Dave Brubeck, and Led Zeppelin.

    1970 (age 25) – Atlanta Pop Festival. I was there with friends. Performers: The Allman Brothers Band, Terry Reid, B.B. King, Procol Harum, Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Ravi Shankar, 10 Years After, Johnny Winter, John Sebastian, Mountain, Spirit, Chambers Brothers, Poco, and Grand Funk Railroad.

    1972 (age 27) – Nixon busted. Mar Y Sol Pop Festival, Puerto Rico. I was there with friends. Performers: The J. Geils Band, The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin, Dr. John, B. B. King, Osibisa, Cactus, The Allman Brothers Band, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Nitzinger, Jonathan Edwards, John Baldry, Herbie Mann, Dave Brewbeck, Rod Stewart, and Alice Cooper.

    1973 (age 28) – Watkins Glen Pop Festival. I was there with friends. Performers: The Band, The Grateful Dead, and The Allman Bros.

    1974 – Nixon resigns.

    That is only a partial list of the “Woodstock type” music events. How to see those music makers and/or get 1st hand accounts of the music events, at a young and impressionable age, and not be fazed? Much of the music was “music of conscience” that told stories about the times and events, like America’s National Guard killing 4 Kent State students on the Kent State campass.

    Woodstock freaked Nixon and his crocks out, because they didn’t know what they could do if 500,000 people decided to do the same thing at the same time.

    However, virtually all of the people that went to Woodstock type events seemed determined to be positive contributors to our country, America.

    A book called “The Cambridge companion to modern American culture” By C. W. E. Bigsby, is a more comprehensive description of America’s culture during those years.

    The page with much about the Woodstock effect on America is here:

    1. Jim says:

      Those social movements you mention were not “born” at Woodstock. They significantly predated Woodstock.

      1. ReMarker says:

        I know, I know. My mind got turned ON by the memories and I blasted through the “set-up” info so I could languish in the memory of those days as I searched for the lists of performers.

        However, it is true that festivals, like Woodstock, were a defining experience for many of us that energized many of the movements mentioned. Actually, “and movements were energized” would have been much more accurate, even if many socially impacting things had their genesis at Woodstock type festivals.

        Thanks for keeping me straight.

  2. RFWoodstock says:

    Win a Woodstock special edition Stratocaster guitar (like the one Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock, only 40 made by Fender) and Collector’s Edition Woodstock DVD and listen to RADIO WOODSTOCK 69 with music from the original Woodstock era. Join our Woodstock online community. Go to for details.

    Peace, love, music,

    1. ReMarker says:

      Who are you really RFWoodstock? I was in the music business in Atlanta, back in the day and worked with Alex Cooley on several music projects.

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