Welcome to the Woodstock - Preservation Archives
Dedicated to the Historic Preservation of the Site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival

Hurd & West Shore Rds
Sullivan County
Bethel  NY

Woodstock Remembered - Forty Years Later

Like most of America's youth of the sixties, the search for personal identity that varied from the traditional "family values" and aspirations of our parents was the priority of the day. Amidst the backdrop of "The Golden Age" of "rock n, roll", the advent of psychedelica and the turmoil of the most violent, decadent and hedonistic epoch in American History, the migration to Woodstock in Sullivan County was a gathering of "The Rainbow Warriors". We were communal, cultural diverse and in search of universal peace through the music and musicians that defined an entire generation. With politics and Vietnam raging and shown daily on television and front page of every known newspaper in the world, cultural acceptance with music as the universal elixir seemed imminent.

After I was discharged from the military, the sights and sounds of the west coast and the allure of "hippiedom" seemed more viable than the death and destruction of Southeast Asia. In early 1969, I was indirectly implicated in a civil rights riot in downtown Louisville, Kentucky and struck in the face with a six pound pipe. Fourteen days in a coma, little chance of recovery and return to normalcy was the basic prognosis but a few months later, although restricted from massive crowds and exposure to sunlight predicated on facial reconstruction, off to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the assumed 25,000 participants of The Woodstock Music & Arts Festival. The lengthy sojourn seemed more of an excursion to the tropical Rain Forest but the burgeoning crowd adjacent to Yasgur's farm and the 500,000 raging "flower children" would become a beacon in a sea of despair for a universe that seemed at odds with everything other than the "peace & love" connotations that brought the youth of America together for those few days in August of 1969 and the world to it's knees in a humbling display of confusion as to how a gathering of that magnitude could co-exist without the trivial confrontations of the "mainstream".

Pundits of The Counter Culture, i.e., Cultural Revolution and the denizens of Haight- Ashbury and those who attended this historical event are also those who coined the phrase, "Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but foot prints". If a myriad of baby-boomers were asked if they were at Woodstock in 1969, most concur that they were in the masses sitting on the west bank but the reality is, they probably were not. For those of us who experienced those damp and cloudy days long ago, we represent the majority of today's population and we remain as a community of collective souls who embrace the old and look forward to the new. Perhaps it's true that all good things come to a conclusion and that last day of Woodstock with trash piled everywhere, bleak weather conditions and the departure from a temporary Utopia was now harkening us back to the reality of the world.

The memories remain, as do most of us and for all those naysayers who know little about what we represented during those fleeting days so long ago, we are The Woodstock generation and on this brisk and windy day, thirty-nine years later, a toast to the most sensationalized event in the annals of contemporary history, a toast to those who orchestrated the Herculean festival and subsequent entertainment and most of all, "cheers" to all of us. May we forever be the torchbearers for universal acceptance and "Rock In Peace".

Don Aters - 3/20/2008

Don Aters - Editor
Haight Street Music News
Fillmore-East.com (artifact/image provider)
Music Historian / Photo-Journalist / MLA / Indiana University
Holding Together Fanzine (England)

Used with Permission
Edited for this website