Monday, June 23, 2008
I've always been a little embarrassed about my going to Woodstock in 69. When I tell people I was there, everyone wants to hear my story. Unfortunately, it really isn't a story worth telling except for the fact that I somehow got there, saw a handful of acts and came home. That alone though makes me bigger than a rock star to my kids and their friends. This weekend I went to Woodstock - the site of the actual concert in Bethel Woods. It has been almost 40 years and being it was covered with half a million people and I was dodging rain a lot, I remembered little of the actual topography of the farm . I was nowhere near the stage and spent most of the time hanging out with people I had met, keeping dry. (See my post from August 17, 2007). But I wanted to go to Woodstock and see the site and new museum. I bought tickets for the Ringo Starr concert that was to take place this past Saturday. In 69, I was in a VW bus with 3 girls and the guy driver. This time, I’m with our two good friends who own a beach front home in Newport and my husband in our E-Class Mercedes. :-). The concert, although I looked forward to it, was secondary. It was the site and museum that was the draw for me. As we exited off the highway, a neon sign revealed that the concert was canceled. The truck carrying the equipment broke down at the Canadian border - they said. Well okay now. Sometimes life works out. The museum was very well done. It took you through the early 60s leading up to the Woodstock weekend with memorabilia and photos of the festival, and then progressed to how the festival influenced life afterwards. The artifacts included the 3-day tickets, like the ones I still have, with their price of $6 per day. There was a copy of the programs that never got distributed. There was a list of the original line up that changed last minute when the first act got stuck in traffic forcing Richie Havens to open the festival. Towards the end of the museum, a little booth with a computer was set up to allow Woodstock alumni to relate their experience. I clicked on a couple of the stories and found I wasn’t the only one who didn’t see many of the acts, swim naked in the lake or get stoned on acid. There were others, just like me, who were there with people, they may never see again, at what turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. Aside from the great, overpriced T-shirt I bought in the gift shop (click on the picture above to get a good look at it), I left with a renewed feeling that I really was lucky to have been part of something good that embodied my generation and will never happen again. When we left, we went to the spot where a monument was placed where the stage was to have been. A woman offered to take the picture of the four of us in front of the plaque. She said she overheard us talking and realized I was at the concert. She wanted to hear my story. So I told her, although I didn't know it then, I know now, it was far out!