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woodstock 50 years on - a glimpse of utopia or a load of hippy wank?

Kaka Tim

Crush the Saboteurs!
lots of stuff in the news cos 50 years. and lots of backslapping.

i definitely via towards the "hippy wank" perspective - the self styled counter culture indulging itself - but very white and no real connection with a shit load of stuff going down in america - other than saying "peace and love" a lot as a way of zoning out riots, bitter divisions, brutal racism and an increasingly violent backlash against the anti-war movement.
And - lets face it - most of the music was pretty dire - overwhelmingly mid paced west coast country rock or white boy blues stodge. Also - terrible organisation, woefully inadequate facilities, shit sound - id have paid good money not to be there.
Rather than a new dawn - it was the hippies reaching the limits of what could be achieved by "turning on, tuning in and dropping out" - but its entered american cultural folklore as some sort of watershed - but its legacy is ... well what exactly?
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
Article here comparing Woodstock to the Harlem music festival that was taking place at the same time, and drew very little media attention.

The Harlem concerts, which also included speeches by activists such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, drew a combined audience that nearly equaled Woodstock's — about 300,000 people. The festival also featured a lineup that was essentially an all-star team of African-American performers: Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Fifth Dimension. Only one band that played in Harlem — Sly and the Family Stone — also performed in Bethel. Not unexpectedly, photos from the Harlem concerts and those from Woodstock show a divided nation — blacks in Harlem; whites at Woodstock.
 

littlebabyjesus

one of Maxwell's demons
That's a hell of a lineup.
Yep. I tend to agree with butchers about the Woodstock lineup. The Harlem one appeals more.

The article touches on one of the key differences, I think. At Harlem there were families and even church groups. This wasn't a countercultural event per se, merely a cultural event. Black people were forced to the margins of society by racism. They didn't choose that position, it was chosen for them. While white hippies were making a choice to 'drop out'. That's not meant to be a criticism particularly - I suspect that I'd have been a hippie if I'd been young in the 60s – but there is a fundamental difference in the construction of the two groups.
 

Spandex

A crazy bulbous punchbag of sound
I'd have loved to have been there. I think that, despite it's many problems, it'd be an amazing experience. Yes it was hippy wank, but what hippy wank...Hendrix, Joplin, Cocker, Baez...
The rain. The mud. The sound was shit unless you were close to the stage. Barely any food and not much to drink. Too few toilets and they quickly overflowed. The music scheduling was a mess. "Don't take the brown acid". And that's if you even managed to get there.

No thanks.

I've seen the film and the only act I really enjoyed was Sha Na Na.
 

Sprocket.

There’s comfort in melancholy.....
Middle class kids rebelling against their parents. A background of civil rights marches and anti war protests have the hippies a cause to hang their kaftans and cheesecloth shirts on.
Couple of decent bands, seen the film and been bored each time.
 

Kaka Tim

Crush the Saboteurs!
pete townshend wasn't a woodstock fan -

“All those hippies wandering about thinking the world was going to be different from that day. As a cynical English arsehole I walked through it all and felt like spitting on the lot of them and shaking them and trying to make them realise that nothing had changed and nothing was going to change. Not only that, what they thought was an alternative society was basically a field full of six-foot-deep mud and laced with LSD. If that was the world they wanted to live in, then f**k the lot of them.”
 

Humberto

If the Son makes you free, ye shall be free indeed
Isle of Wight 2 in 1970 was Hendrix. Starting to get the hang of this googling.
 

Nanker Phelge

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
I imagine it was a load of shit for most of the crowd.

I enjoy bits of the Film as a youngster, but not as much as Monterey Pop.

I'm not a big fan of Ten Years After, but the footage of them is great. Santana were boring as fuck. Ritchie Havens was a bit of a legend. Joe Cocker, well, he was Joe Cocker. The Who didn't get on until 4am after having a row about getting paid. Daltrey has a fonder memories of it then Townshend.

It was big, messy and historic, but I am not certain it was as important as it is made out to be.
 

Nanker Phelge

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
I would like to have been there. A proper, non commercial festival, just peace, love n rock n roll

Woodstock - Three Days that Defined a Generation: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0007n24 via @bbciplayer
It didn't define a generation though. It was part of the end of the hippy dream.

Sharon Tate murder was the same month, Stones at Altamont a couple of months later.

The dark heart of the hippy ideal was bleeding out.
 

hash tag

chillin
The Hell's Angels took the security at Altamont and it got a little out of hand. As I wasn't there, I can only assume that Woodstock was the pinnacle of the hippy dream. On a brighter note, it coincided with anti Nam protests.
 

brixtonscot

Well-Known Member
USA was/is very segregated country , so maybe not surprising Woodstock was predominantly white , Harlem festival predominantly black.
Quote from Mark Fisher......

The concept of acid communism is a provocation and a promise. It is a joke of sorts, but one with a very serious purpose..... the convergence of class consciousness, socialist-feminist consciousness-raising, and psychedelic consciousness, the fusion of new social movements with a communist project...the sixties and early seventies had seen the left fail to connect with the 'collective euphoria' of the counterculture, leaving its embrace of freedom and pleasure to be colonised by the right. "

Mark Fisher
More Acid Than Communism
 

seeformiles

Lost in the wood
Joe Cocker's performance was charged with emotion. Also liked Canned Heat and Mountain.
I’m in the hippy camp here - and I love the film. About 25 years ago they showed 3 hrs of extra footage so got 2 VCRs and re-edited every act in order of appearance to make a monster 4 and a half hour version that included Canned Heat, The Band, Quiver, Incredible String Band and Mountain (great performance with Leslie “22 stone of glory” West) plus expanded sets from The Who, Joe Cocker, Sha Na Na and Santana. The idea was that you could drop a tab at the opening credits and have it kick in just when the Brown Acid warning happens. Worked rather well as I recall. (I appreciate that is probably circle of hell for many on here...:eek: but fuck it, I have no shame ;))

Thinking about it, given that more footage has come to light in the intervening years, I could probably expand it even more - and this time on dvd.....:thumbs:
 
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