By Brian Finelli – I arrived at Woodstock in Bethel, N.Y. from New Jersey – home from the University of Tampa for the summer. I was familiar with music festivals, having made it to the Miami and Atlanta pop festivals in 1968.
We set up our camp with tents and sleeping bags and awakened the next morning to a sea of people. The Woodstock Generation was born. Woodstock might be the most famous rock concert and festival ever held. In an era of cultural and political shifts, activism and war, one weekend 50 years ago defined an entire generation.
The age of peace, love and rock-n-roll celebrates its golden anniversary at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Aug. 15-18, marking 50 years since the Woodstock festival. Think about it – half-a-million people living together under poor conditions for three days and not the least bit of trouble. Instead, people went out of their way to be good to you.
“Milestoning,” as we’ll call it, might offer a chance to escape the current troubling reality of ecological emergency and mass shootings. The frenzy of collective remembering supplies an excuse to briefly forget everything else. I want to be reminded of the power of love, and I hope current and future generations use the lessons of Woodstock to fix these modern problems.
Looking back on that experience, and uncovering our words from so long ago, I never expected Woodstock’s impact to carry through for half a century. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the Woodstock Generation, it’s to live in the present and be there now. It’s funny how today I feel like I’m returning the spirit of that glorious event. Peace on earth.