I went to Woodstock for a day and made a pretty groovy video of it. But before we skip to that, let’s get some background info, shall we?
It was August, 1969. Hundreds of thousands of peace-loving, war-hating, music-adoring hippies were traveling from all over the USA to witness the biggest music festival known to the counterculture pop movement. And quite frankly, known to history.
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Grateful Dead…
Ring a bell? The biggest names in breakthrough rock music were heading to small town farm country in upstate New York to change the world of music as we know it.
But it didn’t exactly go as planned.
Produced by Woodstock Ventures, the concert was originally intended on taking place in the 6,000 person town of Woodstock, or at least as close as possible. However, as the popularity of the concert grew like a wildfire, there was no venue big enough to fit the hundreds of thousands of weed-smokin’, bell bottom-wearin’, bra burnin’ hippies.
400,000 of them, to be exact.
Yea. That’s a lot of peace, love and rock n’ roll for a small town. Struggling to find a venue that could fit the massive audience, the producers found a local dairy farmer Max Yasgur, who agreed to let them host Woodstock on his farm land in Bethel, New York, about an hour away from Woodstock.
And just like that, on a farm in “cowville” USA, American music would never be the same.
Although the town of Woodstock didn’t actually end up hosting the festival, it became an eternal symbol of the 1960s-70s counterculture era, of rebellion against the Vietnam War, and the fight for peace, love, community, acceptance, drugs, rock and roll, tie dye…you know, all things hippie.
Fast forward to 2017. What’s Woodstock like today?
I was dying to know! Growing up as a child with parents who were thriving teenagers in the hippie era, I’ve heard endless tales of the time. In fact, my Guacamomma, who was 14 at the time, was earshot away from Woodstock! She ran away from her summer camp to try and get as close as possible to the concert. Badass. Ya’ wonder where I got it from?
Anyway, in light of my return home to the USA this summer, I wanted to go and explore modern-day Woodstock. And of course, it was only fitting that I went with the original Woodstocker, Gucamomma! And my dog Bradey, of course.
Our discovery? Well, it hasn’t changed too much since 1969! Watch the video of our adventure:
As I mentioned in the video, many of the town’s residents are original Woodstockers who fell in love with the laid back, groovy vibes and never left! Or, they made it their mission to retire there, hence the overwhelming number of 60 and 70-year-olds jamming out to classic rock on the streets.
My advice is to go to Woodstock and get in a conversation with someone. Take Rhoney Stanley, for instance! You’ll be floored at the crazy, eccentric stories from “back in the day”.
Planning on visiting? Here’s some (very groovy) practical info:
Mower’s Flea Market: Every Saturday & Sunday through November. One street behind the center of town (Maple Lane, behind Bread Alone)
Bread Alone: An awesome little lunch spot! Homemade bread, great sandwiches and salads. (22 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY)
*Oh, and to check out more on Rhoney Stanley (as featured in the video), read her book! “Owsley and Me: My LSD Family“.
Peace and love, ya’ll! Do you know anybody who went to the original Woodstock concert? Would you want to spend a day in Woodstock now?!