Thursday, October 11, 2007
Why is it that moviegoers, filmmakers, the press, lovers of live music and tons of other people flock each year to the Woodstock Film Festival each year?
Well, first off, it's the films. There are lots of them. Second off, it's the scene, which is very inviting. And there is also the fall colors, which manage to entice even when the sky is gray and the air is damp, as it is today in Woodstock.
But there is also the magic of Woodstock....that rebellious, artistic spirit from the last two centuries, that drew mavericks and artists of all types to this very special spot of global coordinates.
But in 1969 there was this little festival about 80 miles away, called the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, that changed America forever, gave the counter-culture their opportunity to draw a line in the sand and delivered three days of pretty incredible music.
The Town of Woodstock, where promoter Michael Lang lives, and whose goal for holding the festival was to raise capital to open a recording studio in Woodstock, has been, for better or worse, living off the reputation of that festival for nearly 40 years. I think that's a great thing. I've done an awful lot of writing and reporting on that festival and it seems to me that just about all the reports, from musicians, organizers, cops who worked there and even a guy I met whose job it was to escort a sandwich truck in each day, while packing heat, are that it went off swimmingly.
Peace. Love. Music. (Or movies!)
Those are good things.
And peace and love were what Grandpa Woodstock was talking about just a few minutes ago at the edge of the village green in Woodstock, where Tinker Street meets Mill Hill Road. He was decked out like a wizard, hand in the air, two fingers outstretched making the peace sign.
I asked him for his name. "Grandpa Woodstock," he tells me. He is 63 and comes from "the other side of the mountain."
I then asked him what was the one thing he remembered the most about the Woodstock festival....his reply, "If you remember Woodstock, you weren't there!"
I asked him what he was doing at the edge of the village green in downtown Woodstock, fingers stretched in the air, with the peace sign..
"Spreading peace and love."
"That's what the world needs today and that's what Woodstock was all about."