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'You can still sense the love': Baby boomers revel at Woodstock 50 years on

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'You can still sense the love': Baby boomers revel at Woodstock 50 years on

By Gabriella Borter

 

2019-08-17T120439Z_1_LYNXNPEF7G07O_RTROPTP_4_MUSIC-WOODSTOCK.JPG

People listen to a band during a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival on Max Yasgur's original homestead in Bethel, New York, U.S., August 16, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

 

BETHEL, N.Y. (Reuters) - Baby boomers dressed in tie-dye, rolling wheelchairs and chasing a memory of peace and love flocked to Bethel, New York, for the weekend to mark the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the music festival that defined 1960s counterculture.

 

Thousands of flower-crowned visitors made the journey to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which now owns the original festival site, to hear some of the same musicians including Arlo Guthrie, attend a planned Saturday concert by Santana, and feel the spirit of community that the 1969 festival produced.

 

"Even though I'm seeing the site 50 years later, I feel like I'm there at the first concert," said Peter Hadley, 63, who arrived on Thursday. "Everybody greets us, talks to us. It's the love that started back in '69 and it's present here, now."

 

Woodstock, which was held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in upstate New York from Aug. 15-18 and featured about 30 acts, became a logistical nightmare when more than 400,000 people showed up, causing traffic gridlock for miles.

 

This weekend, in stark contrast to 1969, attendees found metal detectors, indoor plumbing and abundant food vendors at the Bethel Woods Center, which is hosting several concerts to mark the anniversary.

 

But those making the return trip said they had been unfazed by the chaos and unsanitary conditions in 1969, and instead remembered the kindness of locals, law enforcement and other concert-goers who offered food and medical aid.

 

"Everything that could go wrong went wrong. But everything went right," said Duke Devlin, 77, who hitchhiked to Woodstock from Texas and has lived near the festival venue ever since. "We were bombarded with bliss."

 

Arlene Seymour, 69, arrived for the weekend wearing the same tie-dye shirt she bought on her way to the 1969 concert.

She fondly recalled sharing food with people she had just met and sleeping in the trunk of a stranger's car to avoid the rain.

 

"It just wouldn't happen like that today," she said. "Because of the environment in the world, people would be worried to have it so loose."

 

The anniversary attracted not just baby boomers. Younger people, dressed in throwback bell-bottoms and fringes, came to experience the atmosphere they missed in 1969.

 

Down the road from Bethel, a more informal reunion with music was taking place to mark the weekend in a style reminiscent of 50 years ago.

 

"You can still sense the love," said Michelle Lecuyer, a 53-year-old sales director from New Hampshire, who described standing on the field where rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker and Janis Joplin performed as experiencing "a slice of heaven."

 

Previous Woodstock anniversaries have not fostered such harmony. People threw mud at performers at a rain-drenched Woodstock '94 in Saugerties, New York. A fire broke out at the 30th reunion in Rome, New York, and the event devolved into violence.

 

Last month, original Woodstock producer Michael Lang's plans for a 50th anniversary festival fell through when the organizers failed to secure a venue and headliners including Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus dropped out.

 

But the gray-haired crowds gathered in Bethel were determined to have peace. Ignoring the rain on Thursday and Friday and the omens of Woodstock reunions past, they held hands in a circle around a peace sign on the lawn, smoked blunts while singing along to Arlo Guthrie, and swayed to the rhythm of their generation.

 

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; editing by Jill Serjeant and Richard Chang)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-08-17
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50 years ago, there was hope and confidence.

Now, there is only despair.

 

 

 

 

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On ‎8‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 2:26 AM, rooster59 said:

Younger people, dressed in throwback bell-bottoms and fringes, came to experience the atmosphere they missed in 1969.

They wouldn't have found it though. That was a one time thing, and most of the hippies have sold out.

It wasn't even a world wide thing, as I didn't see anything different where I lived.

Happily, some good music came out of it.

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inherent

On 8/18/2019 at 4:25 AM, oldhippy said:

50 years ago, there was hope and confidence.

Now, there is only despair.

 

 

 

 

There has always been despair in this world....the "hope" & "confidence" was/is a bliss-ninny pipe-dream.

No matter how 'real' it may appear it's only a thin veil over the inherent horror that this world really is.

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1 hour ago, HaleySabai said:

inherent

There has always been despair in this world....the "hope" & "confidence" was/is a bliss-ninny pipe-dream.

No matter how 'real' it may appear it's only a thin veil over the inherent horror that this world really is.

At least we had this thin veil, that's more than young people have nowadays.

 

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27 minutes ago, Damrongsak said:

It's interesting to see how much each act was paid at Woodstock.  Considering the entourage, equipment and all, seems like Joan Baez made out like a bandit. (I met her in BKK one time in 1979, rode in her van one day in Loei into the refugee camp. I still have an autographed picture.) 

 

$750 for Santana and their brilliant performance ?!!!  Must have still been wetbacks at the time.

 

01. Jimi Hendrix – $18,000
02. Blood, Sweat and Tears – $15,000
03. Joan Baez – $10,000
04. Creedence Clearwater Revival – $10,000
05. The Band – $7,500
06. Janis Joplin – $7,500
07. Jefferson Airplane – $7,500
08. Sly and the Family Stone – $7,000
09. Canned Heat – $6,500
10. The Who – $6,250
11. Richie Havens – $6,000
12. Arlo Guthrie – $5,000
13. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – $5,000
14. Ravi Shankar – $4,500
15. Johnny Winter – $3,750
16. Ten Years After – $3,250
17. Country Joe and the Fish – $2,500
18. Grateful Dead – $2,500
19. The Incredible String Band – $2,250
20. Mountain – $2,000
21. Tim Hardin – $2,000
22. Joe Cocker – $1,375
23. Sweetwater – $1,250
24. John B. Sebastian – $1,000
25. Melanie – $750
26. Santana – $750
27. Sha Na Na – $700
28. Keef Hartley – $500
29. Quill – $375

Cool.  Interesting list.  I wonder what the numbers (and rankings) would be today with all the same artists*

 

*yeah...I know that’s impossible, but still...would Hendrix be #1 or would it be someone like The Who?  I’m sure the Grateful Dead would be much higher on the list.

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On ‎8‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 3:17 AM, HaleySabai said:

inherent

There has always been despair in this world....the "hope" & "confidence" was/is a bliss-ninny pipe-dream.

No matter how 'real' it may appear it's only a thin veil over the inherent horror that this world really is.

Good topic for the Farang Pub.

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On 8/24/2019 at 1:47 AM, Damrongsak said:

$750 for Santana and their brilliant performance ?!!! 

Ditto $1375 for Joe Cocker - one of THE most memorable performances, that really put him on the map, as did others.

Thanx for the list.

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