The Woodstock Festival, 1969

The Woodstock Festival, 1969


The Woodstock Festival happened during a time of foreign conflict and racial tensions in America. Woodstock, however, was not just about the music. This event was a center for the 1960s counterculture, and for three days drugs were basically legal and love was free. Woodstock was a statement by a generation that they were not going to support hate and violence any longer, and so nearly half a million people gathered and listened to music without violence and little theft. The slogan of the festival was “three days of peace and music,” and while a massive mob may not have been peaceful, those that gathered on Yasgur's farm embraced a feeling of peace in a time of turmoil. Woodstock became a legendary event because it symbolized a culture and a generation that were dissatisfied with the world and wanted to make a change.

The Unintentional Censor

    Along with Michael Wadleigh's movie cameras, several television stations showed up to document the three-day concert event. One Bethel town member, local historian Bert Feldman, became an unintentional censor for the television cameras during the festival. It was Feldman's job to keep frontal nudity away from the cameras. Feldman stood between the swimming hole on the farm and the cameras reminding people to cover up after skinny-dipping. Since the average temperature during the festival was in the 80s, Feldman had his work cut out for him. He commented about the task, saying, “Lemme tell you, after five minutes, it was work. You never saw a fight in there [to put on their clothes]. You could argue, of course, that it was because everyone was stoned." While this may not have seemed like an important task for a historian, his unintentional job as censor certainly gave him a front seat to a memorable event in the history of the counterculture in the United States.


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