From Prime Time News – CBC Television comes an Interview with Woodstock ’69 attendees. This interview brings together two individuals experienced Woodstock ’69: Jonathon Lipsin, record store owner, and Lorne Mitchell, a liquidator. In this article, Lipsin and Mitchell talk about their experiences they had at Woodstock ’69. From the article, Mitchell says, “We left earlier–and walked into the site. And it was just a stream of kids, of people, all going to the same place at the same time to ultimately turned out to be a city together–for a weekend.” The amount of people at this festival was huge. The number of people at the Woodstock music festival was more than the population of the city of Syracuse at any given time in history. Can the city of Syracuse grow with a festival intervention? Furthermore, Jonathon Lipsin then says, “And I think Woodstock holds a standard, nothing has equalled it. It might very well have only–it could only happen once in a lifetime, and that’s why regard it so well.” Maybe this was a once in a lifetime event. Clearly, Woodstock ’69 was not the same as Woodstock ’99–according to my previous blog post. Music can help express cultural and political dissent.
To get a sense of what was happening at the time Jonathon Lipsin says, “Well, it gave me a sense that we can do things also for the planet, because out of the ’60s came women’s liberation and came, the whole issue of gay rights. There’s a lot of issues that came out of that–ecology, environmental concerns–and these are all things that we’re dealing with now.” Furthermore almost half a century later, we are still dealing with these problems.
However, the bigger problem at the time was the Vietnam War. Lipsin states: “And that threat, I think, of Vietnam lay over the festival, in a sense, because these kids were 18 years old, and if they were in school, they were on their way to Vietnam or on their way to Canada. And I remember when the helicopters came in bringing food and medical supplies, a lot of people thought that the army was invading us, and this went around. And then I think it was Wavy Gravy came on and said, “No, it’s okay, they’re helping us,” and everyone relaxed. But there was a feeling of us versus them. And we realized that “us” was so great and big and that we were a tribe.” People could have been on their way to Canada and were side track by the festival. Individuals were afraid of the government–going to Vietnam. I agree that I would be afraid to go to Vietnam. However, these helicopters can to help. There was a shortage of food. There were individuals at risk of starving. There were coordinators liable for the festival outcomes. For some, this was their last time to have freedom before Vietnam.
From the full length documentary, Woodstock-1970, we see a lot of original footage from the festival. What I liked most about this documentary was all the different videos taken at the event. There were some parts of the movie that showed more than one video of what was happening at that specific time. For example, the video showed footage of the first act Richie Havens, who is a New York native from Brooklyn. However, the video also showed footage around 35 minutes of groups of individuals breaking down the fence during his performance to get into the concert.
While this documentary was three hours long, much of it was dedicated to the music of the performers.
Around 22 minutes into the film, an announcer informed the festival to stop taking “brown acid”. If an announcement was made, there was a drug problem at Woodstock. Furthermore, the announcement pointed out that someone has already died on the “brown acid”
During Joan Baez’s performance around 50 minutes into the film, she performed six-months pregnant.
About 85 minutes into the film, we saw how intense the rain was pouring. And how the equipment needed to be covered.
From above, we know that there was intervention by the U.S. However, these people were here to help. “They are with us!” There were 45+ doctors working at Woodstock without pay. While these medical individuals were not getting paid, they were helping out with a historical festival.
Before John Sebastian, another New York native from Greenwich, performed. There was a birth.
Around 140 minutes into the video, we saw interventions helping the individuals at the festival. Woodstock was running out of food and needed more. The groups that help provided this could relate to a modern day non-government organization.
Apparently the bathrooms at Woodstock were terrible. Around 150 minutes, people were complaining about the bathrooms. Then around 188 minutes, we get a look at a janitor cleaning the bathrooms. He adds by saying he has a son here [at Woodstock] and a son in Vietnam. Furthermore, an individual when asked about the bathrooms he says, “Beats using the woods”.
At the end of the documentary, it states: “Largest group in one place.”