Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Fri

14

Aug

2009

Not In My Town: Remembering Woodstock
Friday, 14 August 2009 05:07
by Jayne Lyn Stahl

If given the chance, there are few things in life I'd change. Signing that petition, and boycotting what was to be most historic rock concert of all times, is one of them.

Back in the summer of 1968, locals circulated a petition to keep a big music festival out of the town of Woodstock proper, to protect the best kept secret, a small artist's colony roughly 90 miles outside of New York City, from becoming Atlantic City in the Adirondacks.

I was a teenager making an annual summer, and spring break, pilgrimmage to the mountains for a retreat from crowded subways, and perpetual noise. The town was so small back then that, sooner or later, you were bound to bump into yourself.

As memory serves, I had just finished liberating cigarettes, and crab meat from the local market, and handing them out on Tinker Street, when someone approached me to sign a petition. As one who has made a career of avoiding petitions, I cringed. "Why sign it?" I asked. "To keep the noise, and crowds, out of town" was the answer. Sounds good to me, so I signed it. I shared the vitriol, and resolved not only to keep the festival out of Woodstock, but not to attend as a gesture of defiance.

From the spring of 1966 through 1968, I boarded a Trailways bus, at Port Authority, and took off for weeks at a time on many adventures during the summer, and spring break without my parents knowing. Some days were spent listening to demos at Cat Mother and the All Night News Band's place with Tommy Flanders, hanging out at The Elephant with Jimi Hendrix at the next table, living with fair haired boys who studied at the Art Institute, and visiting Father Francis' church which he built with his own hands, and where I instantly fell in love with stained glass. It was, in the best sense, a magical time.

And, as autumn made its stubborn, inevitable approach, it grew more and more difficult to return to a middle class neighborhood in the borough of Queens where people still think surrealism is a socially transmitted disease.

You can see why even those, like myself, who were most opposed to petitions would sign one to keep a music concert from forever changing the face, and course, of a small country town.

Due to protest from the town, or for other unknown reasons, word spread quickly that the festival would instead be held in White Lake, not in Woodstock proper, though ironically, it came to be known as "Woodstock" anyway, despite being held in 600 acre dairy farm, in another county, 43 miles away.

Now, amazingly, as I look back, forty years later, the only thing I have less use for than petitions is regret, but I can say this: i f I had it to do over again, I would have gone to that festival instead of sticking my nose up at it, thinking it was a bunch of teeny boppers intent on commercializing something precious. Nothing has ever been that precious to me again. Like the song goes, "Oh but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."
More from this author:
Following in the Footsteps... (6474 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The manic warriors, in Washington, are at it again, only now they've found someone who can manage more than one syllable at...
Worldwide Open Season on the Press (9722 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl On an otherwise quiet street in Istanbul, this morning, a 53 year old Turkish citizen of Armenian descent was gunned down...
On Hillary's announcement... (5645 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl You may have read the transcript of a speech given by George McGovern in The Nation last week in which he rightly...
An Open Letter to "The Decider" (5984 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl While the odds are probably better of getting a response from Santa, there are a few things I'd like to say if you can...
"Notes from the Undergrown: State of the Oilman Address" (5974 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl The president's speech last night was more important for what it didn't say than for what it did. In an address that could...
Related Articles:
Comic Relief, Celebrity and Remembering Little Harry (7099 Hits)
by Linda Milazzo Hooray for Hollywood! Yes, I'm a believer. I'm not an 'ignoranti' who believes celebrities are vapid and have nothing to...
Remembering the Maestro: Music Master, Anti-Fascist (6521 Hits)
by Stephen Lendman The term maestro means a "master" or "teacher" in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. In English it refers...
Remembering the Downing Street Minutes (3701 Hits)
by David Swanson In the Marx Brothers movie "Duck Soup" which was a dark spoof of pre-war Germany, Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) who is...
Remembering John Lennon (3546 Hits)
by Jayne Lyn Stahl John Lennon would have turned 67 years old Tuesday were it not for the agitated roar of yet another madman's gun. If he were...
Remembering Victor Rabinowitz: Legal Giant of the Left (4595 Hits)
by Marjorie Cohn On November 16, 2007, Victor Rabinowitz, one of the giants of the legal profession and a tireless fighter for social...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top