August 27 — How could we pass up the opportunity to come to music concert mecca? We couldn’t! So when we crossed the state line from Pennsylvania into New York, we proceeded directly to Bethel, site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival.
While concerts are no longer allowed in Max Yasgur’s famed field, there’s a field & concert venue right next to it that hosts them (Zac Brown Band is playing tonight!) and it is here at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts that the Woodstock Museum resides.
I expected a well-done museum that featured psychedelia and music, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much more there was to it. Fred & I spent over four hours taking a trip (pun intended) through the 1960s to see how that time period influenced these young ‘hippies’ that many in the older generation came to not like and not trust – perfect family shows on television, Vietnam’s influence on the country, changes in fashion, the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, Haight Ashbury… the list goes on.
And then it told the story of a couple of guys who wanted to put on a ‘Music & Arts Fair.’ They secured funding and booked a location. [Incidentally, the concert was originally to be in nearby Wallkill, but concert organizers had to find a new venue just six weeks before the show because threats to the Wallkill site owner forced him to rescind his offer of his field.] Then they started lining up artists including Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin & a host of others. Unknowns Crosby, Stills & Nash (Young joined them for a second set) performed for just their second time here – “we’re scared $#!tless” exclaimed Steven Stills to the crowd. Bill Graham, Santana’s promotor, had to beg for them to be in the lineup, and got them on only because he also allowed another of his bands, The Grateful Dead, to play. It turned out that Santana was one of the best bands of the whole concert! Music aficionado that I am, and Woodstock nut that Fred is, we watched every movie and read every placard in this place. Afterwards, we strolled down the field to the monument, having been satisfied that, while we were both a little too young to be at Woodstock back in August of 1969 (and I could not see our parents letting us take this trek even if we were old enough), we at least got to come back and relive the experience now – well worth the trip here!
Hover your cursor over the below photo and scroll on the arrows to see some more photos of our groovy time at the Woodstock museum: