Woodstock, 50 years later, a landmark festival and a cautionary tale
The spirit of Woodstock lives on, 50 years
after the most famous rock festival ever drew
between 400,000 and 500,000 young rock music
fans to a farm in upstate New York on a mid-August
weekend in 1969.
Together, they made history, overcoming rain,
mud and an alarming lack of any infrastructure.
They were fueled by a palpable sense of “we-areone”
unity — and performances by nearly three
dozen acts, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin
and Santana. […]
Skateboard legend Tony Hawk is equally aware
of Woodstock’s impact, even though he was only a
year old when the festival took place.
“It was definitely a very perfect storm of musical
talent, political movement and unrest,” Hawk, 51,
said. “So it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Those sentiments are shared
by two Woodstock veterans —
Tijuana-bred guitarist Carlos
Santana and Sha Na Na leader
John “Jocko” Marcellino, who
was just 19 when his band played
“I tell people Woodstock was
the best of times and the worst
of times,” said La Jolla resident
Marcellino. “All these people
cooperated and made what
could have been a disaster into a
great success. It was the birth of
“Woodstock changed my life,” said Santana, 71.
[…] “Because of Woodstock, I was able to witness
firsthand that a mass number of humans can
co-exist in harmony,” Santana said.
“The festival took place at the end of a strong,
volatile decade in American culture, with the
assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and John
and Robert Kennedy, the mass protests against the
war in Vietnam, the police violence in Chicago
[…], the women’s liberation movement. That was
when ‘Woodstock Nation’ was born.” […]
But with or without a festival next month,
Woodstock’s 50th anniversary is already being
commemorated in multiple ways.
“Woodstock, 50 years later, a landmark festival and a cautionary tale”, George Varga, The San Diego Union‑Tribune, 2019.
Santana Onstage At Woodstock, by Bill Eppridge, 1969.
A group of hippies sit on top of a graffiti-painted bus during Altamont free rock concert, 1969.
Hippies change a Generation, Decades TV Network, 2016. (Timing: 00:00 to 01:42)
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, interview someone who attended the festival. Ask her or him about the socio-political context of the time, her or his experiences and views on contemporary American society.