So I’m a couple of days late, but this week (August 15-18) marked the 40th anniversary of what is now regarded as one of the most monumental events in music history, and an icon of the 1960’s hippie counterculture, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Billed as “3 Days of Peace & Music” – which ran over into a fourth day – the Woodstock festival lured over 400,000 concertgoers despite heat, rain and mud, to a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York (43 miles south of the actual town of Woodstock, New York) for a queue of 32 live acts from the likes of the Grateful Dead; Janis Joplin; Creedence Clearwater Revival; The Who; Jefferson Airplane; Joe Cocker; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; and Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few.
It was originally spawned as a fundraising effort by four young men (the oldest of whom was 27 in the summer of ’69) to raise money to build a recording studio in Woodstock, NY where artists like Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel already resided. Their idea began as a 2-day rock concert for 50,000 people or so in Wallkill, NY, with tickets ranging in price from $7 to $18. It would evolve into the free, 4-day, half a million people event in Bethel it became thanks to the citizens of Wallkill passing a last minute law banning the concert, early arrivals camping out before security gates were placed, and an ultimate decision to make the concert free instead of attempting to pool resources to improve fencing and security. Despite the challenges and changes, the crowds, the rain, the hour-long lines for the toilet, and the result of a $1 million debt and 70 filed lawsuits, Woodstock still produced an overall sense of success as, with the potential for riot and disaster, there was only social harmony and great music.
In honor of Woodstock’s anniversary, I have compiled a list of promotional products to help bring out the hippie that inevitably lies somewhere within us all, the part of our minds and souls where there is only room for peace, love and music.
An acid wash t-shirt – because actual acid was made illegal by the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.
A bandana – because you need something to cover up your greasy, dread-like locks.
Aviator-style sunglasses – because your eyes will need shade from the bright, summer sun.
And of course, a lighter – because legend claims that the practice of waving lighters at concerts began during Woodstock when candles were held aloft as the sun went down and Melanie took the stage.
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