Skip to comments.The Woodstock Myth
Posted on 08/16/2004 1:17:29 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Who could forget the sitar-like harmonies of Crosby, Stills and Nash? The " better living through chemistry " pulsations of Sly and the Family Stone, the chanting of Country Joe and the Fish, and the wonderfully wacky Wavy Gravy? Woodstock - a place where people ("half a million people strong") gathered for peace, love, and music. An event that represented a generation of youth.
Well, not quite.
Contrary to the prevailing myths about Woodstock, it was not an altruistic event.
Woodstock was all about money.
John Roberts, the Ivy League heir to the Polident fortune, financed it. He and his partners were in it for profit. They never stated otherwise. Max Yasgur, whose farm was the site of the event and whose name was immortalized in song, was anything but a simple dairy farmer. He was an NYU graduate and one of the wealthiest farmers in the area. He also walked away with $75,000 or about $300,000 in current dollars not bad for the three-day rental of six hundred idle acres.
The Who was paid the then-unheard-of sum of $12,000 for their participation. Three groups refused to go on until they received cash in advance. The promoters had to get an advance from a local banker on a Saturday night in order to prevent a riot.
A ticket was approximately eighteen dollars. In an era when the minimum wage was $1.60/hour, a ticket was two days' pay. That does not count lost wages for taking off from work, travel expenses, and of course, the drugs closer to a week's pay. The boys and girls (not ladies and gentlemen) of Woodstock were not all that inclusive. Woodstock was not for the poor.
If there is any significance to Woodstock (and the point is debatable), it is the symbolic irony of it. The Woodstock audience was composed of enlightened and compassionate liberals at least that is what they thought of themselves. These were people who wanted to fed the poor and help the helpless. Yet promoters spent more than $2 million dollars staging Woodstock ($10 million in current dollars.) Ten million dollars, let alone the ticket receipts of that historic concert, could have bought many a breakfast in Appalachia or in the ghettoes its attendants allegedly cared so much about. These people are now part of the government's social welfare complex and self-indulgent leftist academic "culture," preaching "social justice" to their students.
Things quickly went haywire within the concert. "I remember building a fire one morning for breakfast. All we had was hot dogs and spaghetti," a Woodstock alumnus waxed nostalgically in a magazine article. Ironically, when Woodstock's well-to-do audience could not feed themselves (let alone the downtrodden), the hippies called on the very people they spurned to feed them: the National Guard. The Left needed those warmongering, baby killing, murdering monsters of the military establishment to drop food from helicopters to save them. The liberal Democrats, Naderites, and far-Leftists who planned this fiasco were dependent on the generosity of the "Military-Industrial Establishment." This is also the same National Guard that is now derided by liberal Democrats as "Chickenhawks." How ironic that the people who criticize President George W. Bushs National Guard service were probably saved from starvation by his brethren.
The very same people who want to plan every aspect of the economy and society could not even plan a rock concert.
Another myth is that Woodstock, though intended to be a moneymaking venture, became a free concert through the benevolence of the concert's producers. Although it was good PR, this was not true. The promoters had to make it a free concert. The Woodstock generation wants what they want - and they want it free. They wanted to go to the concert so they crashed the gate.
It was the promoters fault. In order to get local approval the promoters purposely furnished low attendance figures. However, they did not realize how effective their marketing would be. Twice as many people came as they expected - ten times the amount they had told the locals.
Good intentions did not make Woodstock a free concert; poor business planning did.
Woodstock exposed the hypocrisy of the Left. A half a million people either spent money that could have been donated to charity and depended on the military to serve them food. The performers also earned substantial sums for their appearances. The only money donated was to Abbie Hoffman's fanatics, and that only because he extorted it by stating he would disrupt the concert.
They did all of this while inveighing against the capitalist system.
Country Joe's lyrical lamentation asked why we were in Vietnam. His answer was found during the Seventies - in the re-education programs of communist Vietnam, in the boat people who fled Vietnam on anything that could float, and in the killing fields of Cambodia.
The "Boys in the Wood" later proclaimed themselves "veterans." In their characteristic hubris, they want to erect a "monument" to Woodstock. What is there to venerate? Woodstock was nothing more than pampered kids acting irresponsibly. These Woodstock veterans are now advocating the election of one of their fellow antiwar activists, John Kerry.
In Washington, D.C., the genuine monument to real veterans of that era bears some 50,000 names on it. The Vietnam Memorial lists the names of real veterans, kids who did their duty. They were the real altruists. Their concerts were in places like Bien Hoa and Ia Drang. They are the finest men their time had to offer and the ones who should define their generation.
How did Woodstock help to feed a hungry child?
John Kerry was at Woodstock over Christmas 1968.
John Kerry was there when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.
Ping from one of the 500,000 . More later ...
bump for later
The hallmark of the sixties was not Woodstock, but two later concert/debacles, Altamont and the Isle of Wight festival. Just watch "Gimme Shelter" to see it all unfold (at Altamont, that is). The peace loving hippies were giving the bands crap for charging money while the Hell's Angels beat the holy sh*t out of everyone. Things were so bad that the Grateful Dead refused to go on (there's some footage of hippies giving Jerry Garcia an earful for charging money to play). The Isle of Wight was ugly too, really gnarly hippies kicking down the fence erected around the festival grounds and threatening the promoters. Scary stuff.
Oh my God! Mom and Dad! ;-)
And how many port-a-potties were there?
Kerry brought his Swift Boat up the Hudson River, beached it and walked to get to Woodstock.
Yep. At Woodstock, the only violence was Pete Townshend decking Abbie Hoffman (hooray!) At Altamont, you had the Hell's Angels stabbing a fan to death, as well as beating up Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin. And who could forget Joni Mitchell, the woman who wrote the "Woodstock" song, pleading with the crowd to behave at the Isle of Wight show?
Smooth, complex -- maybe. Sitar-like?
Sheesh. Must be some good dope this author's smokin'...
Made no sense to me either. Droning?
We just suffered thru the last concert by the band Phish in our area this past weekend. They set up a similar venue. Seems to me, no one knows anything about their music, so my conclusion is that the attraction has to be the drugs.
Phish is not about the drugs. They are little known outside their large and very enthusiastic fan base. They are actually a talented "jam" band with a large amount of original material, but which is also given to imaginative covers of other bands' material (e.g., in November of 1999, they covered the entire album Dark Side of the Moon in one concert).
about four weeks after woodstock I heard Crosby Stills et al in Calif. they are not as good live as in studio. On top of that they complained that the audinence was not paying attention- they (the audience were having fun)- and CSNY could not get their message out. The paying customers said the same thing then "shut up and sing."
Nothing will benefit America better than these fvcking losers dying and getting planted in the ground. They've stood for nothing and fallen for everything and the only effect they have is to put the rest of us at peril. On some days, I think about the two hippies I beat the crap out of in Bezerkley. Ahhh, the GOOD ol days!
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