There is no doubt the music of Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969 and its web of influences has played a vital role in our society—these influences include: civil rights, Vietnam involvement, women’s liberation, LGBT movement, and so on. I wanted to explore more into the topic of music; however, I was surprised by all the cultural threads attached to the Woodstock Festival and its music. My original plan was to research the political threads attached to the Woodstock music festival; and furthermore, investigate ideas of cultural hegemony. Following my initial interview with Roger McCabe, bass player for Jumpin Jax and local musician, I wanted to try and pull a different thread for the project—and try a biography of a local musician.
The magazine advertisement of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair (to the left, Figure 1) was one of the first things that I found while conducting my initial research. I have seen this specific advertisement in many different searches. I found this advertisement as part of an online journal, Journal of Michael Baum | Travels of an Artist, written by Michael Baum, who studied Fine Arts at Wright State University . This advertisement illustrates what was planned to happen at the festival. We can see that Woodstock in 1969 was far from what was expected and planned. Michael Baum commented on the musician line-up on the advertisement did not include the famous Jimi Hendrix . Figure 2 (to the right), is an updated advertisement of the Woodstock Festival . Comparing the two figures, we see The Who was moved from Sunday to Saturday; as well as, an addition of Mountain on Saturday and Jimi Hendrix on Sunday. Furthermore, we cannot forget the es and a planned location. Furthermore, we cannot forget the musicians who performed and were not on the advertisement: Melanie, Bert Sommer, Quill, John Sebastian, Sly
and the Family Stone, Country Joe and the Fish, Ten Years After, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Sha Na Na; likewise, we cannot forget the musicians who were listed to perform on the advertisements but did not perform: The Jeff Beck Group, Iron Butterfly, and Moody Blues . There were more changes to the performance line-ups. Woodstock 1969 was far from what was planned.
Now look at location on both advertisements. Wallkill, New York was the planned location for Woodstock ’69 until the venue changed to Bethel, New York. Furthermore, Michael Baum states in his blog: “…As it turned out, due to the last minute change of venue, the fences weren’t up, so I walked in. That was the beginning of an amazing experience .” However, while Michael Baum was able to walk into the music festival, there were many people who climbed over the fences in order to get into the concert. According to the video footage from the Woodstock documentary made in 1970, there were huge crowds of people breaking down fences during Richie Haven’s performance , and this was the first performance. Through some of the sources that I explore, we will see the expectations that Woodstock ’69 overcame.
Michael William Doyle, Ph. D. prepared Statement on the Historical and Cultural Significance of the 1969 Woodstock Festival Site from the Woodstock – Preservation Archives. This article was a really good start when looking at the historical context, the impact to the region, the symbolic influences, and more . Historically, there was a lot happening during the time of the Woodstock music festival including: the African-American civil rights, the America-Vietnam involvement, the Women’s liberation, and the Gay and Lesbian liberation movement . Furthermore, one of the most interesting things I found in this article was the impact on the region on the local residents in that specific region. According to figures 1 and 2, the original venue for Woodstock Music and Art Fair was Wallkill, New York [1,2]. However according to Doyle, the movement of Woodstock 1969 from Wallkill, New York to Bethel, New York was because of the local population and the resident officials were not prepared for the potential influx of people to the concert [5,6]. Furthermore, the movement of venues was not just credited to the local population and the resident officials; besides the lack of resources, the change of venue was fueled by bias towards the hippie counter-culture . More so, when the location of the concert was changed to the dairy farm of Max Yasgur in Bethel, New York signed of opposition read: “Stop Max’s Hippie Music Festival. No 150, 000 hippies here. Buy no milk .”
The sources that I researched really helped me understand many of the threads attached to the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. However, my interview with Roger McCabe, local musician and bass player for the Jumpin Jax, set me on a different direction. Within the interview, there were many facts that he said that I wanted to research into. I wanted to know if they were true; I wanted to know more. One thing that I wanted to know if it was true was his 45 record. Roger says in the interview that he was told by the engineer that the Jumpin Jax record the first stereo 45 record . This is something that I want to know if it was true, because this is super cool! This would be something very interesting that I can add to a biography.
I found Roger’s Woodstock story to be extremely ironic. The Jumpin Jax had met with two producers of Woodstock ’69 on the side on the road. The producers asked them to come play at Woodstock, but they wouldn’t get paid a lot. The Jumpin Jax turned down their invitation to Woodstock due to another gig at the end of the state, and began their way to stardom. And it was all because the Jumpin Jax didn’t want to perform at a cow pasture.
I found it interesting when Roger said that he didn’t really thing anything of the politics at the time. However, he said that they talked about the war a lot. Roger was drafted; after examination, an ulcer in his stomach—which leads to emotional problems—and classified him as 4F, which is a designation that you are physically or mentally incompetent to go into the service . Roger said that he didn’t really think of the politics; however, we see a few political within his life.
Lastly, I wanted to end on a photo of the Jumpin Jax—figure 3. Roger McCabe is on the far left.
- Baum, Michael. Advertisement for Woodstock Music and Art Fair from Ramparts Magazine. Digital Image. Journal of Michael Baum / Travels of an Artist. Michael R. Baum, 1969. 11 March 2016. http://www.michaelbaum.com/journal/woodstock_ad.htm.
- Baum, Michael. “Woodstock.” Web Blog Post. Journal of Michael Baum / Travels of an Artist. Michael R. Web. 11 March 2016. http://www.michaelbaum.com/journal/woodstock_ad.htm.
- Schafer, Jason. “Original Woodstock Ads Show How Much of a Slipshod Operation the Whole Thing Was.” DangerousMinds. 24 March 2015. 30 March 2016. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/original_woodstock_ads_show_how_much_of_a_slipshod_operation_the_whole_thin.
- Dir. Michael Wadleigh. Perf. Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Roger Paltry, etc. Wadleigh-Maurice Ltd., 1970. DVD. Documentary Heaven | Food For Your Brain. DocumentaryHeaven, 26 March 1970. Web. 20 March 2016. http://documentaryheaven.com/woodstock/.
- Doyle, Michael William, Ph. D. “Statement on the Historical and Cultural Significance of the 1969 Woodstock Festival Site.” Statement on the Historical and Cultural Significance of the 1969 Woodstock Festival Site. Woodstock – Preservation Archives, 25 September 2001. 26 March 2016. http://www.woodstockpreservation.org/SignificanceStatement.htm.
- “Woodstock Pop-Rock Fete Hits Snag.” The New York Times 17 July 1969: 56. Woodstock Preservation. Woodstock Preservation Archives. 8 April 2016. http://woodstockpreservation.org/gallery/NYT-PDF/02_WoodstockFestivalHitsSnag.pdf.
- “Pop Rock Festival Finds New Home.” The New York Time 23 July 1969. Woodstock Preservation. Woodstock Preservation Archives. 8 April 2016. http://woodstockpreservation.org/Gallery/NYT-PDF/04_RockFestivalFindsNewHome.pdf.
- “Interview with Roger McCabe.” Personal interview. 6 April 2016.
- Cee, Tony. The Jumpin Jax. From Roger McCabe, Utica, New York.