The Good Lord looked down at the carnage of WWII, saw the world in a terrible state, inhumanity, despair, the loss of all things of beauty. He saw the invention of weapons that could eventually end his beloved earth. He knew he had to do something. What would bring joy to the world in the coming decades, bring peace and love? Music! So he waved his magical hand over the huge array of souls about to descend on earth in the coming baby boom and sprinkled the genius of music the likes of which the world had never seen. The divine spirit decried “Let there be songs to fill the air”.
That spark landed in England and as the babies grew so came forth the Beatles, the Stones, Eric Clapton and a flood of others. As the USA was the first to feel the confidence to reproduce after the war, the US was blessed with the spark of the divine music, rock and roll the most. In the South it was Elvis, in the East it was Dylan, Joan Baez, and the folk revival. In the West, where the Great Spirit clearly has preference it was the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Beach Boys and too many to list all from that spark of music. Some of that magic dust even blew north to Seattle, bringing us the genius of Jimmy Hendrix. This spark eventually created the music of the sixties, undeniably the greatest decade of music ever.
The Almighty music fan heard his music and said it was good. He said let the message of peace and music ring in one place for all to hear and remember. He sent the spark to two young visionaries who would become obsessed with the idea of bringing the music to one place and Woodstock was born.
Forty six years ago this past weekend the divine muse saw his best work, the best music the world would ever see. He saw the results of his post war idea to bring peace and love to the world as 400,000 young people gathered in harmony. He even tossed in some rain to test his theory. The best of the best came, The Who, Credence Clearwater Revival, and Ten Years After. some were introduced at the event, the very young Santana captured the audience in his first major performance. Sha Na Na was a club act that one of the producers liked, both are still making music. The starts aligned the night Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young took the stage. Each an accomplished musician in their own rites but the combination proved to be a mystical phenomenon.
The event started with so many mishaps, roads clogged, electrical disasters and over whelming crowds. Richie Heavens was a long time icon in the folk world but unknown to most. Other performers could or would not take the stage first, so Richie without his usual backup band went on. He “sang every song that truck driver knew” and after two hours was exhausted and out of material. There was no one to follow him yet so they pushed him back on the stage. Sweat dripping from his African tunic, he gazed at the massive crowd and the word “freedom” came to mind. He began a riff that the band picked up and simply sang “freedom freedom” adding some words form an old blues song. That performance became the symbol of Woodstock and Richie Heavens became a national hero.
The small rural conservative farm community became flooded with long haired, bead wearing, love chanting youth. There was not nearly enough food to feed them or places for them to stay. The spark of love overcame their fears as they embraced the groups with food and kindness. Many gave testimony to how courteous and polite the festival goers behaved.
The entire festival hinged on one man, Max Yeager. Multi-generational dairy farmer no more likely to embrace pot smoking long haired kids than any other rural farmer, he took the gamble. Then he became the champion of the hippies because the town tried to tell him what to do with his property and he said no. For ever more we will know where “Max Yeager’s Farm” is.
So the Great Rocker in the sky looked down and smiled, the spark he had planted year earlier in baby Janis, Pete, Arlo, Grace and Jerry had worked. Rock and Roll music brought peace and love to his shattered world. Seeing how wonderful the music was the Almighty wanted to dance on a cloud too. It was just after Woodstock that he returned Jimi, and Janis to God’s band. Many would follow and now having lived full lives more are returning to jam by the Pearly Gates. All leave us with the divine gift they were given, the music! So on this anniversary of Woodstock, do something “Woodstockish” meet a new friend, share something, and dance in the rain.
Authors notes: As Furthur and crew will be tied up safely thru the rainy/typhoon season there will not be much nautical to talk about. I will take this opportunity to cover some other ideas. For those who seek the cruising info only we will be back at it in December, new adventures and new crew. For now, I do hope you enjoy the new path. Oh and on this particular blog I use a non-gender “he”, we all know the Goddess reigns. The pictures may be copyright covered.
Make Your Dream Your Story
Capt. Brian Calvert