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Woodstock At 50

Woodstock.   One word that conjures up music and memories.  We can still hear the echoes of the festival five decades later.

Woodstock Poster

50 years ago, Woodstock happened.  “Happened” seems like a mild word for such a cultural watershed moment, doesn’t it?  Judging by the sheer number of articles and retrospectives in the last few weeks, we cannot get enough of it even now.  Woodstock has become a byword for the counterculture revolution.  A movement where the youth of America (and the world) said they were tired of war, BS politics, and restrictive and hurtful social mores.  A moment in time when sex, drugs, and rock n roll were less Mötley Crüe excess and more flower power love to free your mind and body.  A period of time which resonates strongly with us still as we look around at our current woes.

While there is room to debate how well the nostalgia represents the actual experience, it is safe to say that Woodstock stands as the defining moment of the entire movement.  It was a rainy, muddy three days in middle-of-nowhere New York State (not actually at the town of Woodstock!) where 400,000 people jammed to legendary artists like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Santana, and The Who.  Even those of us too young to have attended can summon up images of the festival and understand it’s significance as a cultural event.  All those people together, not entirely sober and definitely not hygienic, could have been a disaster.  The 1999 Woodstock, with very different artists and a very difference audience, ended up as a literal dumpster fire.  The attempted 2019 Woodstock fell apart before it happened.  But the original Woodstock was able bring together a small country’s worth of people and make a magic that continues to enchant us.

We can’t recapture what happened that incredible August weekend in 1969.  But we can take a moment and relish in the music that helped make it legendary.  While you enjoy a sampling of possibly the most incredible line-up in the history of rock, take a moment to consider how we can incorporate more Peace and Love into our lives.  We could all use a little more, couldn’t we?

To start, the one, the only, the amazing Janis Joplin.  I love the chit chat before they play. Music is about grooving…


Ok, it’s only part of “Purple Haze”, but hey, it’s still Jimi.  Excuse me while I kiss this guy the sky…


Some CCR.  Because summer requires some Creedence.  You can hear this was performed after midnight, can’t you?


Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice”.  Get ready to shake your hips!


Ok, more Janis.  Cuz it’s Janis!  My A/C has been on the fritz for the last several weeks and frankly my apartment is as hot as this performance…


Need more Woodstock?  It is the weekend, with plenty of time to turn on, tune in, and drop out. 😄


  • Most of these will require $$.  But they are still cheaper than a time machine!
  • Also note the R rating on all the videos, even the documentary.  Good times were definitely had!

First, there is the official documentary from 1970.

Taking Woodstock is the 2009 dramatization of the making of the legendary festival.  It’s a charming movie that helps put into perspective how improbable the whole thing was.

Set in the summer of 1969, A Walk on the Moon ties in both the Moon Landing and Woodstock with some very steamy moments between Viggo Mortensen and Diane Lane. And yes, both of these movies have Liev Schreiber.  Dude apparently loves 1969.

For audiophiles, the purveyors of nostalgia Rhino Records have put together a number of compilations celebrating the 50th anniversary.  The 38-disc monster set is sadly already sold out.

And lastly, for the readers among you (aka my people): the 50th Anniversary coffee table book.

Make love not war and keep on groovin’!