What America Needs is Another Woodstock
What America needs another Woodstock. I mean it. I am far from having settled thoughts at 2:50 a.m., Dec. 16, 2017—I have drank as much black coffee one man should be allowed to drink at one sitting. I feel fine. I have that disturbing song, “Morning Has Broken,” by Cat Stevens running wild in my mind. Yukkk! Why couldn’t it be “Gimme Three Steps,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd?
Oh, man! Remember the (first) Woodstock Music & Art Fair— simply Woodstock music festival, August 15-17, 1969 when over 400,000 (plus)people converged on a dairy farm, owned by Max Yasgur, in the Catskills Mountains of southern New York State, northwest of New York City, pushing the 32 acts past the icon catch phrase, “and nothing but peace and music,” (Max Yasgur) over to Monday, Aug. 18? Two people died. One from a drug O.D. and the other who was ran over when he was sleeping underneath a tractor. I have just got to shorten my sentences. That’s all there is to it. Hardly anyone remembers the sloppy excuse for Woodstock II, and if they do, I would worry about them.
This event, I’m always in awe when I use that noun, was counterculture at its finest and what a glamorous dress “she” wore in her Coming Out Expose’ for those three days and nights—dancing, laughing, loving, binging, sleeping, going in and out of consciousness, yes, yes, yes, Woodstock became more than a Rock Festival. It became a fiber in the lasting landscape of our very lives. A more protagonist writer might pen: “Yes, Woodstock evolved from a mere foolish idea in someone’s darkened cafe corner sipping brew and doing “J” and someone with enough sense asked: Hey, man, I see us doing this gig, like in a big field with, like bands and stuff!” That’s the out there, protagonist’ way of putting history to some really warped tunes.
Hey, Rolling Stone listed it (Woodstock) as one of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll. And all Rockers know that Rolling Stone does not just hand out “Easy Candy” for the sake of their Corporate Tax Return.
Arlo Guthrie said (about Woodstock) it best: “yeah, it’s far out maaaan. (laughs), yeah, like, I was rappin’ to the fuzz, (more laughter) . . .New York Thru-Way is closed maaaan! Yeaah. There’s gonna be a million people here by tonight . . .” Wasn’t he cute? He probably did not remember one syllable of that great sound byte. But that is what made Woodstock great—the sound checks, stage announcements, and stage hands working in an ant-like frenzy to get the next act plugged up, tuned in and ready to sing. Those guys worked their guts out.
Even with the surprise rain and thunderstorms, the spirit of those hazy, dazed people reeling with enough adrenaline to start a Volkswagen could not be phased. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were watching a pure, raw, Miracle of Physics Meeting the Physical—unfolding without a word in front of our weary eyes. They only shouted, More! More! More! And that was prior John Fogerty and CCR showing up. But John and CCR did show-up and ended up playing their set behind the Grateful Dead in the middle of the night. Fogerty, (John), complained that the Dead’s set ran way too long for CCR to have adequate time. And if I had been there, and cocky enough, I would have said, who really cares? This is Woodstock!
Yes, America is “Jonesing” for another huge Rockfest and I ain’t yakking about the Techies and Laptop Society who ran the Woodstock ‘94 event—the music was decent, but the fans were “too” civilized as opposed to Woodstock ‘69’s crowds being mean enough to eat live rats and hold up the carcass as proof that these Veterans of the ‘69 Woodstock meant business. These crowds, honey. The ones who were pumped up so much that they could eat live farm animals and wipe the blood from their mouths. The crowds who thew out patience and just charged over the chain-link fence causing one of the Woodstock promoters (John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, and Mike Lang) to scamper up to the microphone and in a Baptist preacher’s tone said, “From now on, this is a Free concert! We are taxing the systems and well, all we ask is that you love one another.” That advice set the entire Woodstock tone. Love. Three days of Love, Peace, and Music, the iconic poster read.
But I cannot stay in this dream for much longer. I have bills to pay. I know. I sound so much like those very crowds at Woodstock ‘69 who later on wrote best-selling books; columns; theatre productions; screenplays; won cases in court; lost their minds; found Jesus and some even went to jail. Those soulsare what Woodstock produced. But if we are only going to use that old worn-out Judging Every Basket of Fruit With Blanket, then we might as well just go to the house. Not every kid who went to a Woodstock or a Monterey Pop Festival turned out to be a petty convict. Heck no. Some. No. A lot of those same kids turned out quite well. Go check the scratch in their checking accounts.
So what will be do about planning another Woodstock? I would love to know the where, who, and how much tickets will cost, before I sign on the dotted line. Yes. I sound mush like an old square who does know a little about rock festivals. And nothing about the economics of Rock Bands and Rock Festivals. It is a Maze of Money being channeled by bank accounts and credit cards—with very little money made to show any profit. Does this sound charming enough to promote another Woodstock?
Will Woodstock III directly-affect our American society?
Will Woodstock III produce new jobs in an Unemployment Figure that would stagger Muhammad Ali?
Will Woodstock III have enough classic Rockers to stay buzzed for three days and nights?
Sure. We did it once. We can do it again. Just make sure that I can get a great supply of my favorite brand of coffee. I have to be up early.
__Dec. 16, 2017
© 2018 Kenneth Avery