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September 20, 2018

Sandra Scott Travels: Woodstock’s Impact Still Felt Today

Last week, I asked: What famed event took place in Bethel, NY?

Woodstock 1969.

Woodstock - 1969

Woodstock – 1969

On a recent shopping trip I was surprised to see designs that reminded me of the 1960s: bold, bright circles and flowers.

Some clothing styles are back in style: strapless prom dresses and low-slung pants – once called hip huggers.

The senate sit-in brought to mind what a turbulent time it was during the ’60s and ’70s.

What was old is new again – or so it seems.

It is amazing how tumultuous times fade with time.

The site of Woodstock

The site of Woodstock

The year before Woodstock is called “1968: A Year That Shook America.”

During that year there was the TET Offensive, Vietnam War protests, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, presidential conventions, and man’s first visit to the moon.

Woodstock was a gathering of young people who wanted to escape to a peaceful place and listen to music.

And they did.

Thirty-two well-known music groups played to a crowd of more than 500,000 – sometimes in the rain.

Three days of peace and music

Three days of peace and music

The Museum at Bethel Woods tells the story of the Woodstock Music Festival and puts it in historical perspective.

The small village of Woodstock was the promoter’s first choice but local citizens raised such a fuss about a three-day invasion of “hippies” that the venue was changed to Wallkill and again the local citizens raised a fuss.

Finally, a farmer in Bethel offered his 600-acre dairy farmland for the event.

Checking out a Love Bug

Checking out a Love Bug

The conservative Max Yasgur convinced the local town board to issue the necessary permits by saying, “Look, the reason you don’t want them here is because you don’t like what they look like and I don’t particularly like what they look like either. But, that is not the point. They may be protesting the war, but thousands of American soldiers have died so they can do exactly what they are doing. That’s what the essence of the country is all about.”

The museum puts the Woodstock Festival into the framework of what was going on in the world during the ’60s.

Even today, traveling to the museum along the country roads it is hard to envision thousands converging on the site.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Homeowners along the route made sandwiches with the help of concert-goers and gave them to those stuck in traffic.

Max Yasgur, addressed the cheering crowd.

“I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. … you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids — and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you are — a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and God Bless You for it!”

A bus from the Age of Aquarius

A bus from the Age of Aquarius

The Museum at Bethel Woods, is a captivating multi-media experience that combines film and interactive displays, text panels and artifacts.

The museum is part of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts where concerts are still held – from classical to Cajun to Rock and Roll.

Promoters have tried to create other Woodstock-like events but they failed.

Remembering Woodstock

Remembering Woodstock

Woodstock was unique and legendary.

Travel Trivia Tease™: Where is a great place to take children in CNY?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!

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