My fascination with Woodstock festival started after I read this piece of article on The Guardian. My knowledge on this topic was limited before this article because I d only known that it was a musical festival that happened in the 69s ( I was researching about Janis Joplin then). But I hadn’t known how the festival was once a center of Universe for three days! I started reading more and more about the festival and also watched a couple of major documentaries. And boy did I get hooked on to the cultural phenomenon!
I have always been an ardent fan of psychedelic music. A good 4 years ago I discovered a rolling stone “Greatest Albums” list on their site. One of the albums on the list was Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow. Once I listened to the album there was no going back. Psychedelic music had a major influence on me in the sense that I understood there’s beauty in being non-conventional, that there are somethings that most people don’t understand but that doesn’t mean there it is of no value that being different is a good thing. It was beautiful. Every song in the god damn album!
Next on my list was exploring The Beatles’ psychedelic songs. Of course it is debatable what the context was for Lenon’s “Lucy in the sky with Diamonds” but man! Oh man! John was a genius. What a masterpiece of a song. All the songs on Revolver (probably my most favorite Beatles’ album), Yellow Submarine and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club opened up a door for me into exploring life of this “different school of thought”. I d always enjoyed the genre but I hadn’t yet discovered that I was a closeted hippie. Who isn’t? Right?
What a glorious era the 60s was! Starting with The Beatles and ending with the all-pervasive Woodstock festival. Reading Elliot Tiber’s book “Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life” was such a cathartic process for me. I want to keep aside the obvious problems of the book and focus on the festival part of it. This whole shebang was done for peace. People came together in peace, love, happiness and mind-expansion with the help of psychedelic drugs. They smoked weed, wore looze clothing or no clothes at all, believed in freedom and hoped for a better world.
There were more than 500,000 people who witnessed this festival. They helped each other – they got each other food, they had first aid help, they had security they found in one another most of all they all had one common goal – to chill the fuck out ! It was a free concert for most of them damn it! They were all so damned lucky! And so bloody damned beautiful. Look at this man, just look –
Who doesn’t want to live like this? Why care about mortgage, why care about paying bills, why care about building a house, saving for tomorrow – just live in the moment! Such a Utopian concept it seems now doesn’t it? But this happened. These people – they effing slid down a muddy, damp ground because they could. They made best out of a bad situation. It rained for a day and hippies actually celebrated this.
So much soul. So much heart. These kids lived for a purpose man. I can’t believe I am born to a wrong generation (I am still mad at you for this god!). I can’t believe I live in a world with EDM shits taking over arenas of people in alcohol induced dance state. They call it techno trance for Christ s sake. I am not denying that techno shit can also help in trance but we all couldn’t witness Woodstock that s why we don’t have a reference point to argue how bad this shit is.
Woodstock was transcending, Janis Joplin’s voice was, Hendrix's Guitar playing was, smoking cannabis was, sharing psychedelic experience was, living without limits I guess was transcending.
I wish we all lived like that. I wish we had musicians like that now. I wish we could all go to meadows and farms and experience the love that comes along with a rainy summer and a feeling of freedom, while greats like The Who enlightened us about the generation. I wish we could all sit there, watch Ravi Shankar play, see stars, see colors amalgamate, get cozy in a single blanket, watch our dreams come true as we smoke, watch the dreams of a million others’ dream come true was we all sit together and witness strawberry fields coming to life, witness lucy shining bright in the sky withdiamonds, witness white rabbit running through the hole, witness people expanding their minds in translucent carriages, witness hippies dancing madly backwards, in orange and red beams coming out of the stadium, from David Brown and Santana’s guitars, witnessing people being comfortably numb in purple haze planning of moving to planet caravan and contemplating becoming walruses.
Wait! I haven’t paid rent yet for the month. Let me go be a realist now because I live in a world where hippie culture is a history. *Clutches chest and cries in pain.
_ All pics from the net.
_ All pics from the net.