New York – Woodstock
While in New York last month we decided to take a trip to the famous site of Woodstock.
The museum displays depicted some of the typical hippie culture…Rick standing at Haight and Ashbury.
Here he is standing next to the real Haight and Ashbury on a trip we made to San Francisco.
And her am I standing next to the Magic School Bus…though I never have taken a ride on the bus, I knew others who had.
And Since I used to drive a school bus, I couldn’t resist getting in the driver’s seat.
And who could pass up the vehicle of choice…the bug. Cars so easy to work on that even I was able to rebuild one when I was six months pregnant, having very little mechanical knowledge…being dirt poor with plenty of time I had an owners manual and the Idiot’s Guide to show me the way. Though mine was not as pretty as this one.
Besides the great displays and several excellent mini theaters I found the greatest way to get the full impact of the sixties was the following timeline of U.S. History. So much had happened during the first half of the decade…the equal rights protests had grown to a national high, the threat of actual nuclear war with Russia over the Bay if Pigs invasion resulting in the Cuban Missiles Crisis (later in 1962).
Kennedy announces that America will reach the moon by the end of the decade, thus beginning the Space Race. A few months later the Berlin Wall is constructed in the middle of the night.
In early 1962, John Glen orbits the earth. But, by the end of the year the US is dangerously close to nuclear war with Russia.
In 1963, 200,000 people March on Washington, in support of civil rights and later that year President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
In 1965 President Johnson increases the number of troops drafted to Vietnam. During the same year he signed the Voting Rights Act and established Medicare and Medicaid. During the summer of ’65 after a confrontation and fight between a black man and police…the Watts Riots broke out in Los Angeles. The conflict between the establishment and the younger generation and the blacks was in full swing.
Things only got worse from there during 1966. Johnson, once again, increased the draftees to Vietnam, the number was nearly doubled and is at 125,000. Women also began speaking up for themselves by establishing the National Organization for Women to lobby for women’s rights.
In ’67 we have the establishment of the counter culture in the Be-In, a precursor of the Summer of Love that occurred later that year…throwing the counterculture into the forefront of society. Just about the same time, the first black man – Thurgood Marshall, was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The year 1968 brought the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Later the Democratic National Convention erupted in violence as protesters clashed with police. The year ended with the election of Nixon for President.
Besides Woodstock, 1969 brought Nixon’s announcement – beginning of withdrawl of troops (25,000) from Vietnam. The Stonewall Inn riots mark the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement. Neil Armstrong walks on the moon and the New York and the Mets win the World Series.
As you can see the sixties was a tumultuous time for the U.S. The establishment and status quo no longer was favorable or desirable. This was especially expressed in music.
This was the sentiment of the younger generation.
Along come these two gentlemen…
What started out as a promotional idea turned into an iconic moment in American history.
There was a performance limit of $15,000 but many played for far less. Santana played for $750.00.
“Ticket sales were limited to record stores in the greater New York City area, or by mail via a post office box at the Radio City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan. Around 186,000 advance tickets were sold.” (Wikipedia)
Despite the fact that the venue had changed and there were no cell phones or computers, word got around and people came…in the hundred thousands. County on strangers and luck they headed to New York for three days of peace and music.
“By Wednesday, August 13, some 60,000 people had already arrived and set up camp. On Friday, the roads were so clogged with cars that performing artists had to arrive by helicopter. Though over 100,000 tickets were sold prior to the festival weekend, they became unnecessary as swarms of people descended on the concert grounds to take part in this historic and peaceful happening. Four days of music… half a million people… rain, and the rest is history.” ( Woodstock.com)
This is the Woodstock Memorial plaque overlooking the concert grounds. At the top is an outdoor concert venue, which I thought was quite appropriate for the future of Woodstock. The day we toured, Counting Crows was scheduled to play.
Today, you will see…
A peace sign symbolically etched into the grass…a reminder of a time and place.
The gravel is where the stage was set up…where all the bands performed. Below you can see the gradual upward slope of the land, making it an ideal theater for the concert.
Above is the original area for the concert. Below you can see how much further the crowd extended. The split rail fence above is in the same location as the wire one below.The towers sit about where the Peace sign in the grass is located.
Many people who have visited have shared their Woodstock experience in the recording booth. We weren’t there but if you were there in ’69, I’d love to hear your story.
Rick and I wish you Peace, Love and Happiness…and if you are ever in New York…stop on by…you won’t be disappointed.