Forty years ago, hundreds of thousands of people descended on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York to enjoy "3 Days of Peace & Music."
Over a period of three days, the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival tapped in to all the raw emotion, all the confusion, and all the struggles of the Sixties and gave young people a moment in history to show that they could come together in a time of war, inequality, and despair in a broken society.
I did not live through Woodstock, but part of me has always been drawn to and spellbound by the festival---its music, the people in attendance, the turmoil and historical events surrounding it.
Michael Lang, a man who is partly responsible for developing the concept of Woodstock, went ahead with plans after contemplating the state of his generation. He ultimately decided to celebrate the social movements of the Sixties by organizing a music & arts festival.
Lang intended to show that a generation could believe in one another. He wanted hundreds of thousands of people to come and just enjoy the music and participate in something that was about "ideas and music interwoven through their lives." He wanted them to experience a festival that they could "hang [their] hope for change" on.
When I think of Lang's success, I'm stricken with jealousy and cynicism. Not just because my generation's music is a lot of bullshit---auto tunes for the masses---but because as I imagine what it would be like if somebody in my generation organized a Woodstock I am disappointed.
I imagine what it would be like if today I had heard about a music & arts festival and was on the road to Woodstock and think that I would not come away with the sense of pride and rebellion that hundreds of thousands of people came away with after that event was over.