Fifty-three years ago today, Aug. 15, 1969, some 400,000 people began descending on a dairy farm in Sullivan County for what was billed as an “Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music” and is now best known, simply, as Woodstock. Rock music, and the live music experience in general, haven’t been the same since.
A concert on the scale of Woodstock had never before been held, and the four-day concert was plagued by logistical problems (and poor weather). But it was also a moment of mass mobilization for the 1960s counterculture, who gathered to uphold the ideals of peace, love and music coming at the end of a turbulent decade in American life.
“Woodstock was an opportunity, a moment, a home we had all been waiting for and working toward,” organizer Michael Lang wrote in his 2009 best-selling autobiography, “The Road to Woodstock,” co-authored with Phoenicia resident and SUNY New Paltz professor Holly George-Warren. Lang died earlier this year at 77.
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