Monday, January 21, 2008

Peace, Love and Woodstock

Where were you in the Summer of '69? Did you make it to Woodstock? The closest I got to the Woodstock Festival of Music & Art: I can boast that I once slept in a sleeping bag that was at Woodstock. It belonged to a room-mate who had loaned it to a friend who went to the festival and actually remembered to bring the sleeping bag home! For those too young to remember Woodstock, here's your background info.

Over this past weekend spent in New York state, I eagerly accepted an invitation to head for Bethel Woods to see the site of the original concert. I was visiting a fellow U of Akron theatre alum with whom I did a lot of work back in the times just after Woodstock. We took a long drive through the beautiful Hudson Valley, catching up on our latest theatrical adventures on the way.

It was a very cold day, but the views were spectacular. Above, you see Ron beside the monument pointing down the hillside toward the actual 1969 concert site. The monument lists the participants, a most impressive list indeed:

Ron told me Woodstock the concert did not take place in Woodstock, the artist colony, but rather in this remote location known as Bethel Woods. The site, happily, was never sold for development of McMansions and starter castles. Instead, it has been transformed into the Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts. During the summer, the outdoor pavilion Blossom-style venue attracts thousands of patrons.

Along the drive bordering the site, I was pleased to notice solar powered street lights. Why can't we have them in Akron, was my immediate thought?

A museum about the concert and its historical significance within the context of the times is going to open this spring. They are seeking first hand accounts and artifacts:

The Museum at Bethel Woods
Do you have a Woodstock experience/artifact to contribute?
Phone: (845) 295-2443


microdot said...

Oh, yeah I got photos, I just got a bunch from the friend who I donated blood to for open heart surgery a few weeks after Woodstock, but we were "busted" on the way back from Woodstock in Waterloo, NY...a very complicated story...I ended up spending a week in the Seneca County jail, then a week in the Lucas County Jail for possesion of a miniscule quantity of a hallucengenic substance....It wasn't even my hallucenegenic substance, but well...actually I was on probation because of a conviction of posession of pot, and I wasn't actually supposed to leave the state of Ohio, I had told my probation officer that I was going
"camping" in Upstate NY.
If you'd like, I could send you some photos...actually in the 25th anniversary photo that was in the NY Times...unbelievable there was a random crowd shot...and it was me, my buddies, gary, rick and mike...
If you look at the Woodstock Movie, there is a scene after the torrential rain...and people coming up a hill and I get a camera stuck in my face..I think I fell over...
I have a stack of ten of the original very nicely printed programs which I have saved.....
Is this too much info?
I know when I was a "punk rocker" in NYC, this was a period of my life I didn't even want to acknowlege....

Village Green said...

You need to contact the museum about all those valuable artifacts!

I've got to go to the library and get the movie out now, just so I can look for you. You are one lucky dude, dude!

viola black said...

Incredibly nostalgic! Terribly historic. Never will be duplicated.
Those of us who marched against Johnson and Nixon but didn't get to Woodstock (because we were too old even then!) salute it.
Lovely pictures.