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Hello bonnie weans, hope your reading is ok, if not keep at it and take help if you can!!

 

This short piece is a bit random, it’s mostly focused on an event known by those in the know as ‘Woodstock’, a title passed on from decade to decade from the late 1960’s, and yes, I was there.
Not at the festival, it took place in up state New York USA, just around then. 14/15 years old and I saw the film on release at the ABC Lothian Road, Edinburgh, 1970.

 

Woodstock was and is a giant festival of music, people, love and mud. Not always in that order but usually all mixed in, for sure. I say ‘was’ and ‘is’ because the event took place in1969 yet the tale and story echo to this day with huge meaning for hundreds of thousands of people.it happened near Bethel, NY in Catskill mountains.

 

Why this random blog though? Well, it’s not 50 years or so as many commemorations or celebrations currently are, it’s rattled my memory because one of the founders and organisers of the festival passed away last month. So what you might say? Well this man Michael Laing is an image of the free love and music scene that whilst on the go across the states, was captured in this event, Woodstock, and some would say even further, in the film that closely followed, same name.

 

Lang’s face became well known, well remembered, to be fair with a couple of colleague hippie’s. The story of Woodstock, how it nearly never happened, how it did and how it embraced unique threads of life that keep its memory to the fore. Look it up GOOGLE kids, it’s a story that can inspire!! Max Yasgurs Farm, a venue and also a destination for decades. As for Max, a saviour.

 

400,000 attended, huge numbers though there had been a couple on the West coast a bit bigger – Monterey at 500,000. It cost 2.5 million dollars but took in only 1.5 million, though offer by film and music recordings. 80 arrests – yeah!? Drugs offences, no violence charges and no marijuana
offences.
It was the film of course that googled my head – first time I saw four screens in one, different bands and loud, loud music. I can say that the bands I was introduced to at 15 years of age have stayed with me for life. And….no I don’t give a toss about the music snobs, a nasty nuance of the genre.

 

33 acts – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, whoa! The voice! The Who – I can see for Miles, Hear me, See me, Feel Me, Ten years after, introduced me to the Alvin Lee guitar solo, ‘I’m Goin’ Home’. Oh Jings folks!
Santana, a guitarist for life….drummer for ever and rock Samba rhythms.
Grateful Dead, not as good as could be apparently, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash and Young – what harmonious genius, Joan Baez, Richie havens – gobsmacking accoustic sound, Joe Cocker, Joe Cocker, I say him twice – a cover of ‘A Little Help from My Friends’ my respect paid forever – he passed away just recently. Overall there was 3 covered Beatles songs.

 

Sly and the Family Stone and Ravi Shankar – both eye popping. More, more bands and individual tracks changing peoples lives! Yes, really!
Melanie, I stayed a fan for years…amongst the 163 musicians who with fans suffered from next to no toilets, knee deep mud and constant rain and lack of medical facilities but love, love and kindness prevailed as they all sang..’THE WHOLE WORLDS WATCHING’. It kind of was too.

 

I loved it still do and have got Joe cockers ‘A Little Help’ down to a tee and air guitar Alvin lee’s going Home – out of the room.

 

I just bought – another – 2 DVD ’s of the movie – I’ll put one in the memory box and you can share – have a WOODSTOCK night

 

Oh that I am around to be there with you.
Love, love and love! The Whole World is Watching’.