Sunday, August 16, 2009

Woostock at 40

Forty years ago this weekend, young people from all over the country gathered on a farm in Upstate New York for what would become the seminal event of 60's counter culture. News reports at the time put the crowd estimate at 300,000. Today some estimates go as high as 400,000 attendees.

For three days in the summer of '69, just two months after the Stonewall Riots, thousands of young people endured rain, mud and a lack of food, dry clothing, clean water and bathroom facilities in order to celebrate music and peace.

Crowds tuned in and turned on to the sounds of 32 musical acts, including Jimmy Hendrix, Santana, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane (later called Jefferson Starship, then just Starship) and many more legends of Rock and Roll. Woodstock set the standard by which all other music festivals are now measured. Although the festival lost money, the release of the film "Woodstock" in 1970, more than made up for it at the box office.

Here's a clip of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit", featuring the incomparable Grace Slick.

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