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What do you remember about Woodstock?

Were you there? Or, maybe you just experienced the spirit from afar. Share your stories of what you remember and how the festival affected you.

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I remember not knowing a thing about it happening!  I had just graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, left the main gate there on my Honda 350 motorcycle, and took off on a SW U.S. solo journey to flush out of my system some not-so-pleasant memories of my cadet years.  Gradually, over the ensuing years, I came to enjoy the Woodstock music, choosing in 1999 to attend the 30th anniversary event at the original site, with my oldest daughter Anala.  She grew up loving the 60's music.  At that event, we enjoyed  Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Leslie West (Mountain), Rick Danko (The Band), Melanie, Country Joe, and finally, David Crosby, leaving after he sang just one song from Woodstock, instead doing lots of tunes that he and his son had composed together.  Not the same as the 60's!   We left--about 1 a.m.--as I had to work that day.  We missed seeing Johnny Winter, who performed last.  It was a treat to hear so many original acts at a single event like that.  It drew about 12,000, not quite the half a million who came to the 1969 event.

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Lee Augustine August 2, 2015  Someone asked for people’s memories of the Woodstock festival: Oh yes, I remember Woodstock. I got there Friday afternoon or was it Saturday? Richie Havens was playing or maybe it was John Sebastian. I found some friends from home and we stayed together for most of the next two or three days. The first night it began raining and poring while Joan Baez was playing or perhaps it was Melanie. I hooked up with a girl named Mary or Marie I think. We went back to my car but I forget exactly what it was that we did. We made some coffee or tea and some instant oatmeal or pop tarts on a fire and went back to the site. The music was great that much is certain. I will never forget it. I went home a little early to see the first Jets-Giants football game or did I stay and watch Hendrix? I'm not sure, but it was great. I wonder if Marie or Mary remembers it as well as I do? She was terrific though.

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Corwin Croy Lee...I am glad you cleared that up!

Carol Bollin Donnelly I'm too young to hear this

Beth A Orwig-Bowe Ahahahaha..... I'm still crying!!!! 😂😂😂😂

Beth A Orwig-Bowe Abd I took a pic of your post..... I'm keeping it forever.... For 2 reasons.... Whenever I need a good laugh I can read this anytime.... And.... This is the closest I will ever have been to Woodstock! 😊

Benjamin Johnson Good clear solid memories Lee lol

Rebecca Augustine DAD this i did not know all of

Dee Oliver Thanks for those precise lost memories

Mildred Heyward Funny Lee. Lmbo

Lee Augustine Let me tell you Poochie, Marie or Mary remembers me well.

Alex Anastasiadis Is it age that robbed you of those fond memories, or was it the tea?

Ellen Schebilski La Plante I would have gone but I was in kindergarten,LOL!

Suzanne Shelly Eveland What could you have been doing that so clouded your memories??? The "tea"? 😀

Lee Augustine Ok now it’s time to fess up. I was using poetic or editorial license (one of those) in the above in an effort to be funny. I forgot that there are those out there, like faux news treats Obama, eager to see the worst in people (like my cousins Alex and Suzanne). 
I remember my attendance at Woodstock very well. I took only one puff from a joint (of many) that was being passed around, and decided I wouldn’t take any more puffs. Why would you have to get high? Janis Joplin, Grace Slick (drop dead gorgeous Grace Slick for god’s sake), Sly & the Family Stone, the Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Joe Cocker – the list went on and on. So why get high? And I didn’t. 
I did get there Friday afternoon and I’m not sure who was playing because we were so far back you couldn’t hear much. Fortunately for me the two friends I came with gave up and went home allowing me to wade through the bodies alone to get closer to about a football field away where I set up my air mattress, sleeping bag, pillow etc. I was a Boy Scout and was maybe the only one prepared with a toothbrush and clean underwear for the next day. I remember Joan Baez was the last act of the first day (which focused on folk music) when it started to rain. She told the crowd to stay safe & dry and I covered up with the head to toe tarps that I had and went to sleep. 
I woke up the next morning dry and rested. When I looked around there was a sea of mud and maybe 20 people between me and the stage. (a slight exaggeration). Everyone had retreated to the woods and their cars so I was able to walk down to about 30 feet from the stage where I set up again. I walked up to the top of the hill where I did find some friends from home - Penny Waruch, Juergen Wende, Jim Cadenhead and others. I have pictures of some of the Ellenville crowd. We stayed together for most of the next two days. Penny and I did go back to my car where I made a fire and made some instant coffee and instant oatmeal and that was it – I swear (she was cute though). Then we went back to the site. The music was great that much is certain. Different bands played intermittently all day when the rain allowed. That second evening bands played all night straight through. We didn’t sleep – who could? I remember the Who, and Jefferson Airplane at dawn. There were some more bands Sunday and more rain. I will never forget it. I do forget exactly when I left to go home. I had had enough of the rain and wanted to see the first Jets-Giants football game. It was right after the merger of the two leagues with Joe Namath and Fran Tarkington to face off. Yes, I was a fool to leave and miss Hendrix on Monday morning. If anyone knows how to find out when that stupid game was played, let me know, I’d appreciate it. That will tell when I stupidly left the festival. The Woodstock festival was the event of a lifetime – a wonderful experience. It was everything they say and more. It was, in my eyes, a gigantic peace demonstration, with the Viet Nam war raging and all of us against it and many of the bands referring to it and singing about stopping the war (If you want to end war and stuff you gotta sing loud – Arlo Guthrie). The downside, though, was the drugs and all the performers and audience members that died and/or suffered from drugs. I went to a “reunion” concert at Bethel in 1994. I met a guy Keith, who went to the original concert with three friends all doing drugs. He told me that since then due to drugs, one friend had died, one was in jail, one was still on drugs and unemployed and Keith himself was a drug rehab administrator. We wanted to change the world and we tried. We but were not too successful. The war raged on till 1975 with nearly 59.000 dead American soldiers and countless Vietnamese. One of “ours” was chosen president in 2000 and started yet another unjust, needless war. In Iraq he repeated and compounded the mistakes of the 60’s. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. He didn’t learn a thing from Woodstock (he wasn’t there) and he didn’t learn a thing from Viet Nam (he wasn’t there either) I still hope that someday “The bombers flying shotgun in the sky (will) turn into butterflies above our nation.” Marie was pretty terrific though.

Suzanne Shelly Eveland Hope you know I was just teasing you about your funny post! Your real story is quite something. It must have been an incredible experience.

Lee Augustine Yes and I was just teasing you and Alex, a cousin from the other side of my family.

                  

 

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My husband Jim Landry drove from Mt. Vernon, Virginia to Woodstock with his brother Bill and girlfriend Paula in his VW Beetle. In Trenton, New Jersey, they picked up his cousin Tom. They abandoned the car when they hit the traffic jam and walked the last ten miles. They stayed till Sunday but left due to rain and mud before Jimi played. 

With Jim's permission, I borrowed my husband's story for the August chapter on Woodstock in my new novel, ADAMSON'S 1969. If you'd enjoy reading more about that year, here's the synopsis: 

Written as an adventure tale, Nicole Burton's novel Adamson's 1969 is a frolic through the year 1969 as seen through the eyes of a guileless young Englishman, Adamson Henry. Like the characters in the movies Forrest Gump and Zelig, Adamson finds himself caught up in 1969's major historic moments including the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Woodstock, and the massive anti-war protests. Welcome to Adamson's 1969.

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I was born in Catskill when my family lived in Cairo.  I grew up in Albany and had graduated from High School in June of 1969.  I turned 18 a couple of weeks before the Woodstock event and had bought tickets for each of the scheduled days.  I did not attend on Friday but drove down from Albany on Saturday and was amazed at all of the abandoned vehicles on both sides of the roads on my way to Yasgur's farm.  I found a parking space and there was nobody collecting tickets by that time.  A guy was taking a piss on the path to the concert hillside.  Sort of surprised me.  I found a place on the upper right side of the hill and sat there until mid afternoon and enjoyed the music.  Have bought both the triple and double LP records of the performances since then.  When I returned to Albany I tuned into WRPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) which was the most progressive station in the Capital District at that time.  They were dissing the festival because of the reported drug usage.  I called the station and said if you didn't want to do the drugs nobody was forcing you to.  If you were willing to accept drugs from strangers, that was your choice and responsibility.  There was so much weed being smoked that all you had to do was inhale second hand fumes from those sitting around you.  I never got a buzz on from that environment.  I was there for the performers and their music and I enjoyed it.  Will never forget it.  It was an incredible experience.

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Kudos button isn't working - I agree with you on the drugs & music. Music was the most important to me and the anti-war theme that I felt. 

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Retired Community Manager

@LeeA58905,

 

Are you signed in when you're trying to use the kudos button? Are you still having problems? If so, is it for just this thread, or in any forum? It seems fine for me now. Maybe just a temporary issue over the weekend?

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I was there, after Led Zeppelin in Central Park, Moon landing and then walk miles after leaving car, arrived with tickets, but did not need ( wonder where they went?). Then three days of crowds, rain storms, mud and the best music ever made...Do not remember too much more except lots of napping, music, people, first time skinny dipping. The big problem is that once you had a ten foot square for three to four people, you did not dare leave it unless you could find your way back, not easy! But this concert formed my life, hopefully for the best! Peace & Love, Gary

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Neil and I were probably one of the oldest couples at the evernt,both  in our thirties! We arrived late and had to leave early because of jobs and other responsibilities. Our drive from Woodstock, NY (where we lived) to the festival was easy  as we were a day late. It was a beautiful experience. Music in the rain, then making breakfast in a grassy field, far from the crowd.

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I was 16 yrs old and wanted so bad to go to Woodstock but I knew my parents would kill me. I still regret not going! I watch the movie all the time and still listen to those great bands! Now that was Music!

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I was a 22 year old 3rd Engineer and a Lt. jg in the USNR working on Vietnam bound ammuniton ships at Port Chicago, California when Woodstock happened. I was living in Oakland at the time, working to pay off my student loan. I did attend the disaster that was Altamont. What a cluster-fugg. Summer of luv!

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I was only 12 at the time but my parents took me to see the movie and of course I had the album and when the radio plays those songs it reminds me what took place. I live in the Villages, FL and they printed a whole large section and interviewed a number of residents that were there. Also, they brought in a Jimi Hendrix movie to play the whole week, as well as another movie highlighting the festival and musical groups to play some of the music from that era. What a hoot and a great job from the entertainment group for this community to enjoy and relieve 3 days of peace and love. It's so sad that something like that can't be relived.

I was 7, so I obviously didn’t go, but my brother did. He was 22 and the only one in our family entrusted to drive our mom’s car.  He was definitely the golden child. Our grandmother lived in Callicoon, which was a stone’s throw from the venue. He told our parents he was going upstate to visit Grandma, a stop he included in the trip, but it was certainly not his primary destination. To my knowledge our parents never found out. Moral of the story: if you’re going to lie to your parents and implicate sweet little Grandma, make it worth the effort and do something spectacular like Woodstock!

Contributor

While I didn't attend Woodstock, my best friend did. Since she's no longer alive to tell her story, I'm happy to tell it for her.

 

Mara was only 14 when her summer camp decided that a field trip to a 3-day music festival at Woodstock was a good idea. It only took one day there, however, for the camp to change its mind. But during that one day, my friend told me, she had one of the most memorable times of her young life.

 

Despite the hardships while there, she said it was a magical experience when the audience took out their lighters and held the flames up to the night sky in a show of support and appreciation for the artists performing on stage.

 

Hearing her tell her story, I was envious; I wished at the time I could have been there, too.

My husband, Tim, was one of those naked toddlers running aroung the festival grounds!! He really doesn't remember much unfortunately!

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I was a junior in a Schenectady high school when my best friend heard about the Woodstock Music Festival and suggested at the last moment we head down there for the weekend. Despite some misgivings from my mother and a massive traffic snarl we made it to the big event. It’s a myth that everyone at Woodstock was on drugs and having wild sex that certainly was not true for us. What I do remember was how kind and patient everyone was, I did not witness a single act of violence or even rudeness. Many of the townspeople in Bethel had even graciously extended their garden hoses to the sidewalks giving festival walkers a source of fresh water.

 

What might surprise today’s generation was the total lack of cell phones. There were plenty of pay-telephones at the festival but ironically they were all so jam full of dimes that they were inoperable! 

Recognized Social Butterfly

Max Yasgur:

"The important thing that you've proven to the world is that a half a million kids--and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you--a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God bless you for it!

 

August 17, 1969

FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY


Merely OneTokeOTL
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Actually, it's pretty much a blur ... but I do remember deciding to go on the way to Canada for a brief getaway before my husband was to ship out on active duty wth the Navy. Fortunately, we had a few blankets, a plastic dropcloth and a cooler filled with drinks plus a box of food, because supplies at the festival dried up quickly. (Girl Scout experience paid off, ha!) We found a spot under trees, which proved the right idea once the rain started, and that's where we stayed. The Mustang was parked, oh, I'm not sure how far down the road. The music, well, when it started the atmosphere changed: the mood grew more mellow and people  were actually happy ... dancing and lots of laughter and sharing stuff and not sleeping very much because bands were not following the schedule and we didn't want to miss anything. Sure it was dirty and muggy and wet, but still, I can't even now remember feeling more at peace or safer than I did then. Yes, it could've been the herb (a LOT of herb) but there was no fighting, anger, etc. People shared, people helped one another and the farmers were kind and generous. Listen to the soundtrack of the film ~ the music speaks for itself and pulled us together for a brief time. I remember Jimi, Janis, CSN ("We're scared **bleep**less, man!") and all the others. When we somehow left, we were caked with mud, very hungry and ecstatic. Once we got to the car and on the road, I drifted off ... when I woke up we were in a motel outside of Toronto. To this day I have absolutely no idea how we got there or how I got across the border ... groovy. PS:I still have the bellbottoms and fringed leather vest I wore ...9ba4dabebd05de5383771816ca2d6174.jpg2af2c7fda927b5dc6153870a0f552362.jpg

Gold Conversationalist

STD!

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In 1969, I wanted to go to Woodstock with my older brother but he got shipped out, so I did the next best thing- daydreaming and catapulted myself there.

I listened to Jimi on his awesome guitar, the man could make you feel somewhere else in a heartbeat.

Then, Janis came on, a most unusual voice that sang over the fields and beyond.  Sad, that she was plagued in drugs.

I listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival, that were a Mecca band for me, getting me thru the high school jail mode.  I always felt I was in jail with high school, so many stupid rules!

I love Jefferson Airplane, loved the singer with another unusual voice!

Santana, a man, on a mission, spreading love and compassion with his guitar.

Joe Cocker, which I loved intensely!  Still have a CD of him.  He sang so beautifully, lots of passion in his voice- You are so Beautiful to Me- can't you seeee!  Your everything to me!  I cry everytime I hear that song, since my husband has gone.

Crosby, Still, Nash and Young, a harmonious group that ever was.  Crosby is on its own with his family still singing and Neil Young with his wild band as well.  Neil Young has another unusual voice and is so talented with many instruments, one of my favorites- the harmonica- it makes me so alive and full of happiness! 

My parents hated their music- it was too loud and noisy, they said.  I told my Dad, like your marching bands, Tchaikovsky, and Frank Sinatra?  They sighed.

 

Silver Conversationalist

I was just 7 years old at the time and my family were on the New York State Thruway going on vacation to the Adirondack mountains and to see all these massive amounts of people walking to the area was a sight to see!!! Love peace music people were friendly my dad at the time a police officer and I asked him what is going on he said a big concert and I am glad that I am not patrolling !!!! Lol but hopefully that everyone will be on best behavior and no problems!! Tie die flower child looks wow everyone made peace signs to everyone on the road!!!! 

Contributor

I wanted to go to The Woodstock Concert but my college roommate was getting married that weekend. He had gotten wounded in Vietnam Nam. So my young wife & I went to his wedding. But I loved the music from the concert so much that my wife & I moved to Woodstock, NY a year later. We also lived on a commune in Woodstock where many musicians lived. We had a great time being there!

Trusted Contributor

I didn't go, and have regretted it ever since, despite the negatives that we've all heard over the years (the mud, the drugs, the fact that often one was NO WHERE NEAR the actual stage...!).  So, when it came up, I did have a chance to go-but with this big guy I'd just met. He seemed nice enough, but, no.  Didn't seem like something I'd want to do, esp. since was sure there was a price..somewhere down the line, IF you atch my drift....  Still, I wish I had gone just for that unique experience...

Conversationalist

While I didn't get to go to Woodstock, I remember how amazing that all these people assembled there to listen to all those great musical acts, and how there were no problems.  Remarkable because 1968, the year before Woodstock, was so tumultuous with the assassinations of RFK and Martin Luther King, as well as the Chicago 7 at the Democratic Convention later in the year.  I felt we had turned a corner and the world was looking  somewhat better!

Newbie

Late July of 1969 my boyfriend and I heard about this amazing concert that was to take place in New York in mid-August.  We lived in Minneapolis so it was quite far for us.  As we discussed thoughts about going, we also were making plans for our wedding in October.  We decided we should not spend the money to attend the concert, plus getting time off work would be a problem with additional time off for our wedding.  We really wanted to attend and reflecting back it would have been amazing.  Much more fun than my wedding.  I had friends who were able to go and was able to listen to their stories about Woodstock.

Honored Social Butterfly

I remember watching the news accounts and various film clips of the traffic jams, the rain and mud, people playing in the mud like children, people looking stoned, and others just hanging out taking it all in. It looked like they were all having fun. They were also reporting some of the difficulties that organizers were having to get performing acts in and out, sometimes shuffling schedules, but the artists were all cool about it. And then there was the Jimi Hendrix moment. That one got played a lot! 

"Music can change the world because it can change people." - Bono
Periodic Contributor

We left Hartford on Thursday afternoon. Ran into a lengthy traffic jam/party.

I had my mother’s '64 Tempest convertible, with a large cooler full of beer in the back seat (very cool for 19 y/o's) 

We camped in a pasture about a mile away from the festival site, or so it seemed.

Most vivid memories are listening to Jefferson Airplane around a camp fire and Joe Cocker in the rain & the mud. There are snippets that occasionally pop up, but the rest is pretty much a haze, purple I’d guess.

I recall walking to the festival grounds Saturday morning and getting a festival printed newspaper, explaining what was going on and declaring the festival to be the 3rd largest city in New York! That would have been something to save.

My mom knew we were going to a music festival, but totally freaked watching the news about Woodstock. She would frequently mention that I took her beautiful car to Woodstock! My brother totaled it the next year.

I still have my tickets and stay in touch with the guys I went with.

Contributor

In August 1969, I was 15 years old living in New Jersey.  My parents sent me to an overnight camp in New York state.  Two of my friends came too.  It was a camp for the performing arts; I was into theater at the time.  One of the planned field trips was to Woodstock!  My parents didn't have a clue what it was all about but I was totally excited.  So that's how I got there.  On a bus with chaperones and everything.  I remember nothing about chaperones once we arrived but at this point some of my memories are rather hazy.  I had a great seat in front of the tall speaker tower to the right of the stage.  I was glued there--the music was absolutely incredible.  Best music memories:  Joan Baez singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Santana because I'd never heard anything like them before; Sly & The Family Stone; Janis Joplin.  We left on the morning of the third day, having had enough of the mud and rain.  I love that I was there, treasure the memories, and feel very fortunate to have had the experience of a lifetime there.  And I'm so glad I wasn't my parents, who were terrified reading about it all in the New York Times!

Honored Social Butterfly

I wasn’t allowed to go to Woodstock. Not by my parents, but by the Army, who insisted (after drafting me out of law school) that I attend Basic Training instead. So I spent those 3 days (and many others) doing soldier things in the 180° heat of Fort Gordon, GA. Surprisingly, about a year later I saw Woodstock (the movie) at a movie theater at Fort Riley, KS. I guess the Army liked good music...

Social Butterfly

I don't remember Woodstock at all. I was only 4 years old 😉

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