Woodstock Essay, Research Paper
Many large concerts occurred throughout America in the summer of 1969, but none were as well known and symbolic as Woodstock. Its impact on America?s culture and society as well as its youth will not be forgotten for many years to come.
Four men named Michael Lang, Artie Kornfield, John Roberts, and Joel Rosenman originally established Woodstock. The men?s initial idea for the festival was to promote the idea of a new recording studio in Bethel, New York, which is where the event actually took place. Because of the extensive amount of rain that fell before and during Woodstock, the site was changed twice. This resulted in the loss of preparation time. The stage had not been entirely put up and the sound system was dangerously assembled. There were many other problems that occurred as a result of the mud produced during the rain. Most of the gates and fences were not put up which allowed many people to enter the festival for free. The mud also created a major cleanup project after the festival ended.
Woodstock gathered an unexpectedly large attendance. Only 50,000 to 100,000 people were expected to arrive at the site. These numbers seemed small compared to the 400,000 to 500,000 people who converged on the area on August 15, 16, and 17 of 1969. Many expected singers and bands could not arrive due to traffic backed up for miles along all the roads leading to the area. It was said that nearly one million people could have attended the concert if it had lasted longer. Many recognized musicians preformed at the concert such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and many others. Truly by the first day, as the musicians looked out upon the vast crowd, they must have known that Woodstock was not going to be just another concert that would be forgotten.
On the outside Woodstock could just be considered another concert for the youth of the time to hear their favorite music, but it can be seen that it was much more than that. Although the music was a large part of the festival, there would be no reason for it to be remembered this long if that were the extent of its significance. It displayed a significant message to the world around it by showing that the youth of the time could come together in such bad conditions and discover a common purpose, which was that of peace and love. Although police were brought into Woodstock, for fear of rioting they overlooked drug laws. The crowd stayed peaceful throughout the duration of the festival despite the heavy use of marijuana and LSD. Not one fight was reported and the only death occurred as a result of a tractor running over a man. The entire concert was a time of peace and happiness.
Many of the people attending Woodstock were given a ray of hope in a world that didn?t accept them. Through all the drugs and mud etched in their minds, the desire for love and acceptance made its way to the surface. The mood created by this is what made Woodstock so memorable. Had it not been for this prevalent feeling many people would have dismissed this festival as just another excuse to get high and listen to music. Examples of this new feeling were given during the concert itself. Small things that made such a difference included the fact that there was no destruction of property reported during the duration of the event. Also, although there was a large amount of trash left at the end, the 600-acre cleanup project was completed within five days with the help of fans and crewmembers.
For many people the impact of Woodstock lasted much further on into their life. Men and women were given the confidence to go out into the world and make a difference despite what a few people may have thought about them. These are the people that made such an impact on America?s society as they lived out their lives. They were cultural pioneers with their alternate feelings toward the definition of art, music, and the structure of society.
The impact left on the rest of the country by Woodstock may have been just as great on the people observing it as the ones who were actually there. The men and women who attended the concert showed nearly everyone around them that they could come together and make a difference if they desired to. This came at a time when most of the youth of America was looked down upon for their ideas of peace and harmony despite their differences. Because of Woodstock, many people were inspired to go on and create music of their own. There were also new artists that made their debut at the festival. Carlos Santana was one of these people. Much of this music was heartfelt and became a way of letting its listeners find a common ground on which to discuss the events in the world around them. This feeling has lasted for many years and to this day music often will have a much more powerful and intense affect on the people that listen to it. It can be seen that without music festivals such as Woodstock music would not be where it is today.
Attempts at recreating Woodstock could never be mastered due to one key factor. This was simply that there was no deep purpose to the replications. The second festival entitled ?Woodstock 94?? was no more than a large promotion. Despite Woodstock 69?s original purpose of promotion of a studio, it became much more than that because it occurred during a time when people were looking for answers not just empty thoughts and speeches. With Woodstock 94?s overexposure to the media, it lost all hope of becoming what the original stood for.
Over-commercialization of Woodstock 99? was not an issue, but everything else that could be thought of had taken its place. Hopes were up for the final attempt at another symbolic Woodstock before the end of the millennium. These hopes were destroyed just as quickly as the site of the new Woodstock in Rome, New York. The concert?s attendants consisted of a small percentage of patriot Woodstock fans that made the trip to all three festivals bearing the ?Woodstock? name. It seemed that the other men and women that made up the rest of the audience were nearly all there to get drunk and destroy anything they could get their hands on. By the end of the concert, nearly all of the stage and equipment was destroyed. Women were raped and all souvenirs such as shirts and posters were stolen. The acts displayed at Woodstock 99? could be summed up in three words: a destructive force. It went beyond misguided violence to such a point as to bring down some of the original Woodstock?s glory. Unfortunately now when people think of Woodstock they will also think of the destruction that occurred during its latest attempt at recreation.
Despite people?s desire to bring back the feeling of the original Woodstock, all that can remain is its affect on the people who experienced it and the affect on the culture they lived in. Its stories will be told, some good, some bad, but the desire that people feel to experience it firsthand will never be lost.