There is a great article about the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in The New York Times today. It is a sweet love letter to a time gone by… and it made me cry. I was yay close to going to Woodstock, though only 13 years old at the time, because my family summered in the Catskills, nearby Bethel. We were en route that particular weekend, but the news reports kept us sequestered in New Jersey. I watched the news with yearning sadness all weekend, knowing that my spirit was with the Woodstock Nation. It was that defining moment when my spirit left my body and it would not be until years later that we would reunite. My spirit no longer wanted to be cooped up in my chubby, four-eyed life in New Jersey. Can you blame it? I say “it” because my spirit knows no sexual limitations, is not bound by religious constraints, and is free to transcend conventional wisdom…as were the hundreds of thousands of people descending on Yasgur’s Farm. The Summer of ’69 was a critical turning point for the nation…and myself. With innocence lost and the yearning for a deeper meaning of life kicking in, our perspectives and perceptions changed forever.
We may never know the beauty and spontaneity of a Woodstock ever again. As our society evolved and the Baby Boomers retreated into a life of pretension, that which brought unending joy and creative expression became taboo and a protective shield kept the benefits of a Woodstock Nation far away from their offspring. Now we have hyper-marketing, over zealous vendors, virtual social networking, less meaningful lyrics and apathy. All the lovely elements needed to create a true happening have been castrated. Sure life is good, but it is far less interesting.