It is hard to believe that Woodstock was already 40 years ago.Â I am one of the people who was really there – not just feeling like I was there from the movies.Â I still have my tickets … and the little ceramic animals someone threw from the stage.Â It was a wonderful experience … it was amazing as we drove toward the festival, the traffic just stopped … the whole highway was clogged by abandoned cars .. abandoned on the way to Woodstock.Â So we got out of the car with whatever we had … and started walking …
Woodstock Tribute I, DigitalÂ Â© Diane Clancy
Much has been said about the Woodstock experience … each person had a different thread of being and yet we all wove together an incredible tapestry …Â the details of my own individual time seem so unimportant … it the beauty of the whole that truly matters .. and there are plenty of stories all around.
Woodstock Tribute II, Digital Â© Diane Clancy
Woodstock is an important milestone on the journey of creating a better world.Â In my opinion the Civil Rights Movement, then the anti-Vietnam war (anti the war, NOT anti the soldiers – my friends and I was always very clear about that!) moved us toward Woodstock.Â Music has been such a vehicle to inspire and transform people (like art can be too) .. and there was already very powerful music from both of those movements.
To me, much of the explosion of movements for various social justice issues were supported by Woodstock.Â Woodstock was part of their foundation, just like the Civil Rights and anti-war movements were foundations of Woodstock.Â Of course, these are only snapshots of movements through history … lots happened before the lifetime of the Flower Children.
Clamshell Alliance brought together large groups of people, committed to a common purpose (supporting alternative energy that was good for the environment – now, of course, most people realize we need sustainable energy). Of course, there were no drugs or alcohol allowed there … and much of the good will and all working together were formalized into affinity groups where people knew they were responsible for and to each other.Â Every participant was trained in non-violence theory and practice and needed to make a commitment to non-violenceÂ – that was a continuation of Woodstock, among other influences (like Ghandi).
Many other groups came together in the 1970’s to create the world of peace, love and social justice.Â I do not see Woodstock as separate from this at all … but as part of a continuum.Â In the movie I watched last night -Â “Woodstock: Now and Then” – it suggested that Woodstock was an incredible stand alone phenomenon.Â (At least that was my understanding of what was said by some of the organizers.) There were lots of interviews including Michael Lang, Artie Cornfeld, Richie Havens, Graham Nash and others….
Wonderful as Woodstock was (as an idea even more than the actual experience …), it’s impact is multiplied by understanding it in the context of the history of the wondrous journey of people coming together to create a better world.Â Ghandi in India, union organizers in the US, the Freedom Train to help escaped slaves and the Suffrage Movement for women to get the vote – all these movements are part of the foundation that made Woodstock the fantastic time, memory and inspiration that it remains.
Thank you for listening to my thoughts and thank you for coming by!!
~ Diane Clancy
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