Monday, November 23, 2009

The Road To Woodstock…

3 days of peace, love and music, 600,000 people, more than 30 bands/performers, a rainy weather, no govt support yet 0 crimes reported and one vision, Woodstock '69 is the name oWoodstock_music_festival_posterf the era.


For a certain point onward there
is no longer any turning back.
That is the point that must be reached
-Kafka

"Its 10AM, Monday August 18, 1969: Jimi Hendirx is playing to a crowd of forty thousand. Another half million or so have left during the night."

I read the above lines and I knew what I will be doing for next week... diving back into the '60s music and reading the account of events from the era which I always wanted to live. Michael Lang, the organizer, the visionary, the master mind of this epical music fest, tells us the story through interviews of people involved in the venture and through a number of performers at the event. The books chapters have been laid out in a smart fashion in chronological order.

Michael a kid from Brooklyn, NY is into jazz since his early days. He is a smart ass who convinces his folks as a teen that marijuana does no harm. His life was centered all around music marijuana n lsd yet he was never a wasted kid. At the age of 24 what he pulled off (regardless of a million $$ loss to investors) is a classic management study well illustrated through this book. Reading through his accounts you realize that nothing is felling in his favor and yet the inner feeling that "it will work out" is what kept Mike from turning back. The city union is against a festival for hippies, the council wouldn't allow any security or traffic support for a crowd of estimated 300,000 hippies. The locals filing law suites, the last minute change in venue, the weather, the investors opinions, the artists managers everything seems to be working against his plans... and yet that inner drive keeps the boy n his team going and here this pull off a miracle of managing more than 600,000 (more n more people turned in which was beyond estimates and the concert had to be made free) people doped n high just enjoying 3 days of "peace, love and music".

1023340-gf The rains came pouring, bad acid under circulation, shortage of food and then locals stepping in to feed the doped kids. Peace n harmony kept floating in the air, music was the only language that people communicated with. All of a sudden the things kept felling into its place, and its the culture (hippies) that just made this phenomenon immortal. Along with Mike's vision, determination and faith. Needless to say it was never possible without the wonderful team of willing young men n womenhe had. People who attended the festival can never forget the moment they lived for 3 days and people who were not born will just miss the days they couldn't witness.

Michael in this book also presents the black n white pictures of various events towards the road to Woodstock which just makes me nostalgic and wants me to live the 60s n 70s. The Epilogue and Where they are Now? chapters of the book leaves me with mixed emotions. The chapter describes the aftermath of the event and a current whereabouts of all people mentioned in the book. A lots been documented in all forms of celluloid and magnetic media forms, yet this book is one wonderful attempt to make one wonder; How Woodstock changed the life of who witnessed it and who still believe in it.

Michael Shrieve, Santana Drummer: "The size of the crowd so big, it was like standing in the beach and looking at the ocean, and you see the water and the horizon and sky. It was a sea of people as far as you could see. We were like a little street gag there making music together and hoping that it went over. But when I look at the drum solo I took, it drives me crazy because of some choices that I made in terms of stopping the groove and going really soft. but for the audience it worked. It was very tribal."

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