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Happy Anniversary Woodstock

To borrow a phrase from Sergeant Pepper, it was 39 years ago today that the music world showed up to play. Of course I'm referring to the Woodstock music and arts festival of 1969. As everyone knows, the event took place at Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, NY and was four days of peace, love and music. And rain, lots of rain. Or so I hear. Of course, I was only 2 years old at the time, therefor I wasn't in attendance. But if there's one pop culture event that has plenty of coverage, even after 39 years, its Woodstock.

To be sure, the musical line-up was impressive: Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Grateful Dead, Arlo Guthrie, Santana, Janis Joplin, CCR, The Who, The Band and Jimi Hendirx, to name a few. All headliners at one time or another during the course of their career.

But, there were also quite a few bands that played who weren't as well known and some others that, looking back, seem a bit out of place. For instance, Sha Na Na. That's right, the "At the Hop", greaser, doo wop group Sha Na Na played Woodstock. Also bands that no one remembers like Burt Sommer, TIm Hardin, Quill and Sweetwater played.

But this is probably one of the things that made the event even more memorable. Not only the diversity of music but also you can't have every act be of equal stature. Any good performance, whether its 3 minutes, 3 hours or 3 days needs lows so that the highs become more memorable. The Who sounds so much better after you had to endure a set of the Keef Hartley Band (no offense Keef).

Anyway, in the tried and true tradition of the entertainment industry, Woodstock I led to its sequel Woodstock II (1994) and then to Part III, the disastrous Woodstock 1999. I do remember these two events. My best friend from college met his future bride as she was returning home to Baltimore from Woodstock 1994. He came to visit me in DC the next night and told me he had met someone pretty interesting the night before and was headed back to Baltimore the next night to hang out with her. Six weeks later they were engaged.

Woodstock 1999 was less happy - I was in NYC at the time and remember watching them literally burn the place down after that event. Pretty ironic for the follow up to the festival dedicated to peace, love and music.

There's no sequel to Woodstock this year. In fact, not too much media attention to it at all. Event anniversaries are like birthdays in that way though - after a while only the round years seem to matter. No matter, here are Marksonland we say happy 39th anniversary. And here's a great number from one of the long forgotten bands (10 Years After) that played there:

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 15, 2008 11:30 AM.

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