On August 14, 1969 my buddy Henry and I ate a hearty breakfast in a Monticello, New York diner at dawn to prepare for our trip to the Woodstock festival.
A pickup truck hauling a hay cart, stopped at a traffic light outside the diner. One of us asked, “Are you going to Woodstock?”
We sat in the bed of the truck, while our intrepid driver created a third lane on Route 17B, by following the center line.
The gates were open. We did not need our tickets, or ID. Henry and I were 15. I do not recall an age restriction.
Frankly, I don’t recall lots of stuff.
Greatest Radio Show of All Time
The nice people at WXPN FM, Public Radio from the University of Pennsylvania, jogged my memory with #XPNStock.
They broadcast the greatest radio show of all the time: The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in real time — 50 years later.
I am staying at my daughter’s Maxine house today (August 15, 2019), to watch her little dog. Memories flooded my brain after Maxine connected WXPN on my iPhone to her awesome Bluetooth speakers.
A World Without Cell Phones
Maxine has never lived in a world without cell phones. Chip Monck’s personal announcements like, “John Smith. Your brother is in a hospital,” shocked Maxine.
Chip Monck broadcast real news. Mainstream media reduced attendance, with reports of the worst traffic jam in New York State history.
After Maxine left on her adventure, I listened to Santana and John Sebastian on WXPN while I looked at Woodstock photos on Twitter.
Woodstock was successful, because we lacked harmful items that are expected in 2019.
I celebrated Woodstock’s anniversary at Yasgur’s farm with my family in 1990. The only annoyances were loud drunks with loud portable radios.
What Didn’t We Have at Woodstock?
- I did not see liquor or raving drunks. Some people brought wine. Beer supplies were limited.
- hard drugs
- I saw lots of marijuana and LSD. Did not see pills, snorting, injecting. Crack was not invented.
- Holy AR-15 Batman! I did not see anything more dangerous than a pocket knife.
- I saw one bare knuckle fight. It was broken up by bystanders.
- The Proud Boys, MS-13 and Antifa did not attend. Motorcycle gangs wearing decorated denim jackets were part of peaceful crowd.
- cell phones / laptops
- They would have been lost and stolen. Imagine the line and fights, if there was one charging station.
- The top photo shows the late Swami Satchidananda starting the event with a short speech and chanting. Warring religious sects skipped this event.
- All we needed was 1, 2, 3, what are we fighting for? from Country Joe McDonald.
Woodstock Is History
It is simple to understand. You cannot bring a half million together today, without the items in my list.
The dream is over.