Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation

I saw the best minds of my generation shrivel to irrelevance, forced to rely on Wall Street, lawyers, the American military and upstate New York Republicans to salvage a poorly planned, shoddily executed mud pit of delusion on par with Guyana. With roads blocked from what was expected to be 20,000 attendees but turned out to be 400,000, the bands scheduled to play had to be shuttled in by helicopter (another unexpected expense). There was no plan to feed people other than a hippie sandwich stand, no place for the crowd to sleep, no effort made to provide healthcare services for anything other than ODs and sunburns. “We thought we could change the world!” Nowadays they’d be lucky to change their own diapers.

When Wall Street broker John Roberts inherited a quarter million dollars from Polident, it became the seed money for him and friend Joel Rosenman to build a recording studio. On the way they met Michael Lange, a head shop proprietor who had concert experience for producing the Miami Pop Festival. Together they envisioned an Aquarian Arts Expo where kids could mingle around the world as hippiedom had dreamt it to be!  Everything that could go wrong happened, but the producers claimed, “we weren’t looking for answers.” No, like their politics would later reveal, they were looking to find safety in numbers (“I couldn’t believe there were so many people like me!”) and a safe space to party!

What we’re left with is a nostalgic reminder that these very people and what they represented signified a declaration that this generation would impose themselves and their ideology on anyone without any concern for how it jeopardized the rights and freedoms of local residents, just so long as they had their fun and passed the expense off on others. When it became obvious that people who could not get their insulin would die or that pregnancy waits for no one, the harsh reality was that absolutes really do exist and so the Army had to send in 45 medical personnel to administer services. The same Army that all these people resented and hated.

And make no mistake: at its core, Woodstock was a political statement. The anti-war movement nourished the crowd. The bands (which are briefly mentioned in this documentary) had lyrical content claiming “nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong” and “please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand…” which falls on deaf ears with today’s activist malignancy.

Max Yasgur, who permitted his property to be used for the festival, was a Republican who recognized freedom of expression and individuality. He was willing to sacrifice his dairy farm for the benefit of their good time! “We’ve gone from civilization to a place with no rules!” They called it freedom, I call it prison, like in Escape From New York!