Of Woodstock’s peaceful way. (a sort of book review)

I have been reading Michael Lang’s lively book the road to Woodstock, over the past few weeks, and have enjoyed it enormously. I have seen the 2 Woodstock films 21 times since the original came out in 1970, when I was 13. I got such joy from reading this book and all that went into the creation of this incredible event, that i am keen to see the film yet again, to cement the true build up of events in my mind. Lang also organized the earlier and successful Miami pop festival that was also peaceful and had some incredible performances, but was also plagued by rain. After moving to the town of Woodstock and experiencing the soundouts (little music get- to- gethers by local musicians, and there were lots including the Band, Bob Dylan, Van Morison) he started to put together the best possible team to produce the show, carefully making sure about security without uniform wearing police, and plenty of food, and went out of his way to create a happy family atmosphere, which was achieved against all the odds. This is a worthwhile and fascinating read.

It ends with a poem written by Jimi Hendrix after the festival, which I had never read before and loved, so here it is:

500,000 halos

outshined the mud

and history.

We washed and drank

in God’s tears of joy:

And for once,

and for everyone,

the truth was not

still a mystery.

Lang was roped in at the last moment to help with the Stones concert at Altamont, and did so in an attempt to save what he saw as a festering problem, he warned all involved days in advance that it was descending towards a disaster, and did what he could in the short time to avert the disaster, but unfortunately had very little support from the rest of the team. This was all that the youth culture was not about, and still down to this day we have probaly never come close to achieving and living the Woodstock loving peaceful way.


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