Retro Roundup: Woodstock Then and Now
What’s up everyone?! Hope y’all have been well since my last article here some many months back. I see this place has picked up great momentum with incredible podcasts and various other new projects, keep up the great work. I love seeing FNX.network thrive and continue to becoming our goal of a cohesive community sharing our passions through various multimedia platforms. I have nothing but great respect for the work you guys put into your work and I know Ryan, Kane, Evan and the other Brass members put in countless hours and sleepless nights making sure we’ve all got the best possible tools to do what we love.
An impact going on 46 years
[image src=’http://fnx.network/fnxnetwork/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/16022643835_375e50577a_m.jpg’ width=’240′ height=’173′ title=’Source: I. Erdnal via Flickr’ align=’right’]Speaking of love, passion and cohesiveness … let’s jump into our DeLorean, TARDIS or whatever your choice of time machine and dial it to Max Yasgur’s farm in the Catskills in Bethel, New York. The year? 1969. Nixon is putting the United States in the shitter. The Vietnam War is hot and heavy. Sesame Street airs its first episode. Led Zeppelin drops their first album. The hippie movement was in full swing. And lastly most of us weren’t even a thought in the minds of the people who wound up becoming our parents. It was a chaotic time to be alive.
But on August 15th, 1969 400,000 men and women congregated to the field proudly and happily offered up by smalltown farmer Max Yasgur. They only estimated some 50,000 people to show up but they had sold over 120,000 tickets leading up to the event and 400,000 showed up to enjoy some of the greatest, if not the greatest, musically talented men and women in the single greatest conglomeration of music over three days. Through the hours of rain and storm delays, the lack of food, basic sanitation, shelter and other basic life essentials that people our age would struggle without for three days … this mass of people peacefully sat and listened to beautiful music. Music that defined a generation. They smoked, they drank, they danced, they sang, they skinny dipped, they did copious amounts of recreational drugs, and I’m sure there was incredible orgies. Only two deaths were reported. One was due to a heroin overdose and the other was of a person sleeping and run over by a tractor. Both are sad tragedies that occurred but on the other side of the coin there were two births at Woodstock ’69 as well. The circle of life was completed within these three beautiful days.
It was all done peacefully during one of the most tense times in the world. The Soviets were threatening to take over the world with Communism. The United States were going through segregation in their homeland while fighting the spread of Communism globally. Riots and protests were nothing out of the ordinary whether it were race related, people vs. the government, or whatever. It was chaos. Much like it is today.
The Big Question
[image src=’http://fnx.network/fnxnetwork/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/6968435190_b164e6c7f4_m.jpg’ width=’240′ height=’161′ title=’Source: Jason Persse via Flickr’ align=’left’]With the Fergusons, the theater shootings, the terrorist attacks (domestically and foreign) and overall feeling of uncertainty … could a peaceful music festival be just what we, the Millenials, need to do in order to show we’re not just a bunch of self-entitled, lazy, unmotivated deadbeats that we’ve been labeled as? Yeah, those are the same labels those 400,000 people had when they all left their cars in the middle of the road for hundreds of miles and caused travel issues just to demonstrate that they’d had enough of The Man. Could something so peaceful, beautiful and necessary be done to help move the world in the right direction of togetherness?
Look at the stage these now legends performed on. Nothing fancy. Bare bones even. The top earning act was Jimi Hendrix who was the last performer and had the smallest crowd of the festival. At $30,000 he performed two separate sets and is probably the most iconic performer (and performance) of the three night extravaganza. Creedance Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, The Who, Santana … the list goes on and on. These people didn’t do it for the money (the cap was set at $15,000/act but they made the exception for Jimi Hendrix) they did it for the message. They did it for the cause.
But could this be done today? Could a gathering of this many people be done today in a peaceful manner in which police don’t arrest anyone for petty crimes like smoking marijuana? Look, I’m straight-edge. I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke, I don’t even take Tylenol for my aches and pains accrued from my professional wrestling career. However, I know there are great benefits to the use of marijuana. There were no stabbings. No shootings. No riots. None of that took place at Woodstock.
How crazy of a concept is that?! Togetherness. Brotherhood. Sisterhood.
That’s what we on this Earth are. Not always through blood. Not always through marriage. But through existing and living on this planet, we’re all FAMILY.
Speaking of family, my four brothers and I don’t get to do a whole lot together. It’s tough to get us all in the same place at once now that we’re all older and doing our own things. But this month we’ll be going to a concert together in Chicago, IL. A place notorious for its violence, killings and terrible gun control. It’s also a city that even in the ugliness that is all these unnecessary deaths … it’s a family brought together through culture, sports, and pride.
A Modern Woodstock
[image src=’http://fnx.network/fnxnetwork/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/5837306378_1a14df5104_m.jpg’ width=’240′ height=’160′ title=’Source: Judith Rongyos via Flickr’ align=’right’]That band is actually one of the bands I’d use, probably as my headliner, for a Woodstock-esque festival today. I had this idea when I saw that today was the 46th anniversary of Woodstock and realized that the world was in a very similar place in 1969 as it is in 2015 and it honestly disgusts me. Which is why I wrote this article.
Yeah, it’s a little bit of a plea from myself to the world to move towards peace because even though I’m a quiet recluse that sticks to myself and stays in my bedroom all day, I’m a very big-hearted softy. I come from a family of seven kids. I grew up playing various sports. I’m a professional wrestler. All of those require lots of patience, understanding, coexisting when things aren’t always fun and easy, and lastly love.
So here I am with a list of performers for a hypothetical Woodstock: Millenials lineup. A mix of old musicians that are still performing and the hot acts of today. It’s all also based on the anti-war/pro-peace message that their music exudes. Sadly, I’m not “hip” on what the Top 40 or whatever groups are these days, so bare with me. Also, I abhor country music, so it’s not included here. My list, my rules.
[list_item]Joan Baez – The last act from Day 1 of the original Woodstock (also six months pregnant at the time) would open my dream Woodstock festival as an honor to the impact Woodstock ’69 had on music.[/list_item]
[list_item]Bob Dylan – Turned down the original Woodstock, I’d hound him to perform at this one.[/list_item]
[list_item]Linkin Park – A group I don’t care for but they’ve got some good anti-war messages in their catalog.
[list_item]Steve Miller Band – One of my favorite bands. No direct ties to Woodstock. Just love their stuff. [/list_item]
[list_item]MGMT – Spice up the “old” lineup with current psych-rock band MGMT. Great mellow music and I think would be a hit with the older crowd.[/list_item]
[list_item]Neil Young – Well known for his anti-war songs and impact on multiple generations of fans and musicians alike.[/list_item]
[list_item]System of a Down – One of the top anti-war groups of the 2000s. The Serj Tankjian led hard rockers will melt your face off.[/list_item]
[list_item]Roger Waters/Pink Floyd – Lead man of legendary rock group Pink Floyd. I’d try my damnedest to get him and David Gilmour to put their differences aside for one night of magical bliss. He’d close Night 1.[/list_item]
[list_item]Rise Against – One of the most popular acts of today with their pro-peace songs. Kick off Day 2 with some hard rock.[/list_item]
[list_item]Rolling Stones – Not a fan of this band at all but they’d draw a great crowd and have fans of all ages that would come see them.[/list_item]
[list_item]John Fogerty/Creedance Clearwater Revival – My favorite American rock band of all time. If you’ve seen any Vietnam-era movie, you’ve heard their music but I don’t think they’d get together so we’ll just get Fogerty.[/list_item]
[list_item]Tom Morello – Guitarist for Rage Against The Machine … I think you all know where those guys stand…[/list_item]
[list_item]Thirty Seconds to Mars – I love their sound and they’ve got some great anti-war stuff. Another band I think would transcend well with an older/younger mix of people.[/list_item]
[list_item]Santana – His performance at Woodstock ’69 is one of the most memorable. Especially considering he wasn’t a musical powerhouse like many of the other performers that appeared on the show.[/list_item]
[list_item]Bruce Springsteen – No anti-war/peace music festival is set without The Boss, right?![/list_item]
[list_item]The Gorillaz – One of their biggest hits is a song geared towards what I’m aiming for with this concert. Plus, I love this group.[/list_item]
[list_item]Imagine Dragons – A Top 40 hits band that I don’t care for but I’m sure they’ve got a great stage show.[/list_item]
[list_item]Pearl Jam – Lead man Eddie Vedder is well known on his political stance and activism for world peace. His hard rock group would close out Night 2 on a high note.[/list_item]
[list_item]U2 – Let’s get one thing straight; I —hate— this group but they’re probably the most famous for what they do in in their efforts of world peace. Mad props to them. They open Day 3.[/list_item]
[list_item]Fall Out Boy – This is a Top 40 hits band that I know and they’ve got some anti-war stuff in their catalog. Sure why, not. Let’s appeal to the masses, people![/list_item]
[list_item]Green Day – Come on, if you don’t know they hate The Man and want peace, then you don’t know who Green Day is.[/list_item]
[list_item]Florence + The Machine – This banshee-led English rock band will rock the house on the last night of the festival.[/list_item]
[list_item]Lupe Fiasco – The lone hip-hop act of this festival is Chicago born Lupe Fiasco. A man that grew up on the South Side of Chicago has seen things few can imagine. He’s got a great catalog of pro-peace songs.[/list_item]
[list_item]Paul McCartney – I’m not a Beatles fan, nor do I enjoy Paul McCartney but he’s one of the most influential musicians of all-time.[/list_item]
[list_item]Foo Fighters – The closing act of this festival. Dave Grohl is a living rock legend. He’s also a great, genuine human being and while they don’t have anything that’s straight forward with their political stances, they’ve got some really great songs that could be seen as uplifting and all that kinda stuff.[/list_item]
Could it happen?
So there we have it, my list of 25 groups/musicians brought together over the course of three nights to bring the masses together for a common cause and goal. Is it the best list? No, but I tried to appeal to an absolutely massive spectrum of people. Is it a list that money could pay for? Jesus, I doubt that. I’d hate to see the bill for it all.
Is it a list of old and new all sharing the same message that people can relate to? Is it a list of what I think could pull an event like this off? Is it an event that I think everyone that reads this article would attend?
Yes, yes I do.
We all want peace, love and happiness in our lives. None of us asked to grow up and deal with the horrors of adulthood but that’s part of growing old. That’s part of life.
[image src=’http://fnx.network/fnxnetwork/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/hippie-girl-360×240.jpg’ width=’360′ height=’240′ title=’Source: Doktorpeng Website’ align=’right’]As a generation that has been given the distinction of lazy, unmotivated, entitled and all the plethora of other demeaning monikers we’ve been given … we’re also the generation that’s about to be in control of what happens in the world. At this rate, the world may not exist by the time we are the ones in Congress, the President of the USA, the Prime Minister, the Dictator … whatever. Earth may cease to exist before we ever have a chance to prove our doubters wrong as the leaders. But instead of being in a position of power to lead the charge of change, why not continue to do so now? The world is literally at our fingertips with social media, smartphones, tablets, wifi everywhere we go, and all other electronics at our disposal.
Put aside our differences that lead to hate, killing and violence and spread the love that we all have in our being to one another. Stop the violent protests that plague the headlines. Quit with the slander and libel that run rampant on the news and other media outlets. If we put the effort into caring for one another as humans that we put into hating one another for having a different color of skin, different beliefs in religion/politics and came together and worked things out like adults … we’d be in a greater place. Life is priceless and it’s horrific that politicians make money off of war and tyranny that they expose for their lucrative gains. As the next generation in charge, we can change that. It’s up to us to do so.
My fellow Millenials, let’s do the right thing…