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”[to crowd] This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place, and I think you people have proven something to the world: that a half a million kids can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing *but* fun and music, and I God bless you for it!” – Max Yagsur
The Woodstock Music Festival was held on August 1969 in New York State. At this time the stress levels in America were at a record high! A new president was just elected, the Vietnam War was still taking place, and protests were on the rise! It seemed like there was no escape from the negativity, like there was no hope. Finally, four men decided to create an event that would create peace through freedom, love, and music. This event would not only change the lives of the 400,000 concert attendees and the 32 acts, but it would change Rock & Roll music forever.
The Impact on Music
First of all, I must say that Woodstock wasn’t the drug infested, chaotic, violent party that the media portrayed it to be in 1969. The intended purpose of Woodstock played out just as the creators hoped; it demonstrated peace and a place for the world to get away from their problems for a few days.
Big names, such as Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana, and Janis Joplin, performed at the festival. With 32 amazing and popular bands, with the rainy weather, and the thousands of people, it is a wonder how violence and chaos did not erupt. This was proof that love could conquer everything. This was what America needed to prove that Rock & Roll didn’t promote violence, as many say. Rock & Roll could bring peace and comfort through live music. As Mr. Miller said (2013, 01), “It had become a market that the music industry had yet to fully tap.”
Woodstock was the start to a large array of music festivals across the United States. Other than the recreation (or attempt to) of Woodstock, there are a ton of music festivals held each year in areas like the 600-acre dairy farm that Woodstock took place at. I happened to attend one of the three-day festivals that took place this year in Delaware, called The Firefly Music Festival. While I can’t fully compare it to Woodstock because the festivals are too commercialized these days, I would like to think that I was able to feel at least an ounce of what people did 44 years ago at Woodstock. I felt the peace, the joy, and the love around me. Woodstock taught America that we could unify ourselves with music.
I think that the most important thing that Woodstock left us with was the will power people had afterward to spread love, equality, and environmentalism. Woodstock was a pivotal moment for many young people. It was the moment they knew what they wanted to give to the world, whether that was their music, their voice, or their vote.
My Thoughts on Woodstock
It’s been over 40 years and Woodstock is still a well-known topic in the Music Industry. I know that 5 years from now, I will still be studying this event. The procedures for setting the event up will be pertinent in my future musical endeavors. I know that no matter what our country is going through, a little bit of music can create some sort of freedom for everyone. Woodstock taught me that a music festival is the perfect way to introduce new artists. Carlos Santana, for example, wasn’t well known until he attended Woodstock (2008, 08)! Being that he performed with the other big names, at a large festival, developed a good reputation for him!
Woodstock made it possible for young adults, like myself, to come together in a wild and free atmosphere and just relax. There is so much criticism that surrounds the story of Woodstock, but I believe that it was a beautiful and powerful event. Woodstock was a treat to those who attended. I could never be get tired of hearing stories about Woodstock because it’s history has impacted me so deeply.
R.I.P to the recently deceased Joe Cocker