A li.st of Woodstock Memories

Requested by Angela G
  1. First of all, I was only 16 years old.
    I loved rock, folk rock, and folk music.
  2. Performers such as Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Donovan, Janis Joplin, the Who, Stones, Beatles, Joni Mitchell
    Pretty much all the music associated with hippies, a label I hated.
  3. I was young, but politically aware, liberal, optimistic, and idealistic
  4. Against the war in Vietnam Nam, pro civil rights and women's rights, and believed to my core peace was possible
  5. I looked the part.
    Patched together denim bell-bottoms, round wire rim glasses, homemade beads, moccasins, my beloved suede fringe jacket
  6. I grew up in urban NJ, a short bus ride to NYC for free concerts in Central Park, the Village, big and small music venues.
  7. My closest friend in HS (18 years old) called to say he and another friend (17 years old) were driving up to a concert in Woodstock. It was on for three days but we would just go for one. Of course I wanted "in."
  8. We drove up with nothing - no food, beverages, blankets, folding chairs, jackets, etc. We were just kids. I had a small amount of cash and a pack of cigarettes.
  9. I remember clearly listening to Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan on the radio.
    We sang along loudly the way you do when you are a carefree young person.
  10. We were a long way from the venue when traffic slowed and slowed until it almost stopped.
    We were being passed by walkers.
  11. We pulled the car off the shoulder, parked it, and joined the walkers.
  12. Turned out it was almost 7 miles to walk so when we got tired we sat on the hoods of cars still slowly snaking along.
  13. We arrived at a huge open field with lots of people sitting on the grass. I asked a guy in a security t-shirt where we could buy tickets.
    He said they gave up on tickets, pointed to the stage and suggested we sit as close as we could to the stage. We were pretty far away.
  14. One of us had the presence of mind to sit within sight of a group of porta-potties and a water fountain hooked up to a hose.
  15. When the music started it was magical but people kept on moving in and the crowd was growing enormous.
    We were afraid to lose each other so we went as a group to wait on the porta-potty line and to get drinks of water.
  16. Everyone near us seemed to be "older" like in their 20s. We were lucky they shared with us their food, wine, and weed.
  17. I remember literally NONE of the music.
  18. I remember the announcement that the roads were jammed and there were half a million of us there.
    We decided we couldn't get out until the next day.
  19. Lots of news and police helicopters flew over.
    We decided our parents would see on the news why we didn't come home yet.
  20. I remember all of us lighting matches and how beautiful it looked.
  21. And most of all I remember the pouring rain.
  22. Once it started we were soaked, cold, dirty and tired. We had no shelter, nothing. We were totally miserable!
  23. Late the next morning we decided to head out.
    We heard some music before we left so I was there for all of day 1 and part of day 2.
  24. We walked the 7 long miles back to the car exhausted.
  25. In the car we turned on the heat to dry off and when we finally untangled ourselves from the beautiful mess that was Woodstock, we stopped for something to eat and called home.
  26. When I saw the news from home and later heard the albums, and saw the books and the movie I felt like I missed most of it.
  27. We were too young, tired, high, hungry, and dirty to really listen to the music.
  28. We didn't see the camp outs, the tents, or the nude swimming.
  29. We just remember the atmosphere and that we were there.
  30. Back home my mother was mortified I was there but my dad, a former professional musician thought it was cool and told all the neighbors and his customers on his home delivery milk route!
  31. It was an iconic 60s event and I was thrilled to be part of it despite missing a lot of it, fuzzy memories, and relentless rain.
  32. We were most proud that the event was peaceful.
  33. Thank you so much for requesting this li.st!
    It's a happy trip down memory lane!
  34. ADDENDUM
    After writing this list I spoke with my HS friend who I went to Woodstock with. He remembered a lot and, as we talked at length I recalled more of the music and experience. We had lost touch for more than 40 years but rekindled our wonderful friendship as if no time passed. We learned our other friend who accompanied us died young in his early 30s from cancer.
  35. My friend recently died from complications of open heart surgery. I still mourn his loss but I am so grateful for the time we had. Now I am the only one of the little band of three HS friends who went to Woodstock together.
  36. I had forgotten that my friend talked us into leaving.
    Once the rain stopped the other two of us wanted to stay. He needlessly worried about it all those years and avoided talking about Woodstock because he believed we must be upset with him for not staying for the entire experience. I was glad I could reassure him about that.
  37. So his memories tumbled out and I was happy to remember more.