Thank you, Max Yasgur.
Even though your farm was about 90 minutes from the town of which the rock festival was named, it created an event that is still revered and cherished almost 52 years later.
I’m writing this post from my brother’s house in Woodstock, where my niece Claire graciously let me have her room as my guest room for the past two nights. In some ways, this feels very “full circle”, as I remember thinking about many memories of hanging out in Woodstock the same way I did as a teenager 35 years ago.
Because of a couple of floating holidays I needed to use at work, I decided to drive up to Woodstock on Thursday. As I had not been here since 2018, I knew I’d get the chance to catch up with my family and a lot of great friends, but I knew I’d get to do something very near and dear to me….I got to hang out on the Woodstock Village Green, and listen to Todd Rundgren’s “Something/Anything?” album….this was a ritual I started back in 1991, after I’d graduated and moved back home from Ithaca, but was struggling to find a job (thank you, recession) and face the world as an adult. I could come here, put on my Walkman, and enjoy a few moments of inner peace. And when I was going through my separation and divorce 11 years ago, this was somewhere I felt I could come to put on my headphones and gather my thoughts.
Yesterday was a perfect afternoon to sit there and enjoy the sunshine (in the afternoon) and feel very thankful for the love I felt these last two days. I’ve spent quality time with my brother Lee, my sister-in-law Margaret and my nieces Rose and Claire, and I got to see very close friends like Sean Tarleton, Paul Rakov, Bobby Weiss and Maureen Swingle. I’ve reconnected with former work colleagues, and I even did my part to support the local clothing stores, trust me!
The original Woodstock was about love, peace and music. After the incredible turbulence of the year 2020, it’s nice to not only see these three things starting to reappear in our society, but I got to come up here to see and feel them in the place where I grew up. Listening to Todd Rundgren’s “Hello, It’s Me”, my favorite lyric in the song is “It’s important to me that you know you are free. ‘Cause I never want to make you change for me.” I’ve spent many years meditating on those words, and yesterday this brought me a tremendous feeling of peace, as I know have have the love of my family and friends.
This is what I call “The Woodstock Effect.” And it’s pretty groovy, man. ☮️💟🎶