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Woodstock

Dominador Awiten . 

BOBBY Balinado is inviting our XUHS ’73 batchmates to visit New York this August for the  50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival. We’ll have a peppy batch reunion in the Big Apple, and will possibly have the delightful opportunity to re-connect with our friends and acquaintances there. We will be coming to America.

Woodstock 1969 remains the biggest, loudest, most boisterous, raucous even, rock concert. It had an attendance of about half a million fans who came from all across the country and its four corners, dressed mainly as hippies. It was billed as the three days of peace, love and music, big music indeed. Featured were the biggies then of the recording business: Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  There were the superstars of the boomer generation, including Jimi Hendrix, John Sebastian, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Crosby, Stills and Nash (minus Neil Young). There were the bands with their mesmerizing names:  Ten Years After, The Grateful Dead,  Canned Heat, Shanana.

I got to view the concert’s movie at Fox Theater (now defunct, at corner JR Borja and Corrales Streets) in 1972,  and it fully grabbed my attention that I watched it from 1 in the afternoon till the close at near midnight.

I had other moments with rock music, aside from my incessant listening to the radio in my free time. At the start of the school year, the entire XU high school student body was assembled at the gym to witness a local rock group and it was a giddy, dizzying, enthralling experience of an ear-splitting, electric band dishing with gusto the songs of Chicago, including 25 or Six to Four and Questions 67 and 68, to mention just two.

When I transferred later to my hometown high school in Salay, I remained a rock music aficionado.

Jingle Magazine was a favorite pastime. They carried a contest on who would succeed Bob Dylan as the poet laureate of the boomer generation. They liked the entry that nominated John Lennon for his songs that celebrated love, youth, and passion.  His song, “Revolution” was adjudged  the most representative of the young generation, for it espoused activism and advocacy  sans violence and destructiveness.

At the opening of the festival Max Yasgur’s welcome remarks were proud and vigorous.

“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—not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that, 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… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. 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—a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God bless you for it!”

The Times Herald Record, a daily newspaper of Middletown, N.Y. (a northwest suburb of New York City) had this perspective:  “(Woodstock) has a terrific meaning not only to the young and old, but to the world.”

Grammy.com quotes organizer Michael Lang: “Woodstock, in its original incarnation, was really about social change and activism. And that’s a model that we’re bringing back to this festival.”

On Tweeter, the meme is resounding and clear: “The Bird of Peace is Back”@Woodstock50

To recall the scintillating lyrics of Joni Mitchell (who was present at the festival only in spirit):

“I came upon a child of God

He was walking along the road

And I asked him, ‘Where are you going?’

And this he told me…”

“’I’m going on down to Yasgur’s Farm

I’m gonna join in a rock and roll band

I’m gonna camp out on the land

I’m gonna get my soul free.’”

“We are stardust

We are golden

And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

The haunting theme and the pleasant melody speak of belonging to the Divine, return to home, sweet deliverance.

Several of our XUHS ’73 batch mates are agog about being at the concert.   Lucky for them for being residents in the “States”.  

I am not sure to be there, but I will view the concert  right after the festival winds down.

My high hope is that they will be able to have the living legends on stage, Bob Dylan especially.

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