August 15, 2013
Forty-four years ago today half a million people gathered to celebrate peace, oneness, freedom of expression, and music.
On Friday, August 15, 1969, by the sheer luck and compassion of farmland owner Max Ysagur, the Woodstock Music Festival opened in Bethel, a town in upstate New York, forty miles from Woodstock.
Woodstock is known as, “three days of peace and music,”where people of different ages, cultures, color, and creed came together to be apart of a transformational music journey. It is best known as the perfect portrayal of the 1960’s youth culture, the “hippies,” that gathered to celebrate music and peace, something the rest of the United States was not concerned with at the time.
Musicians such as, the Who, the Grateful Dead, Sly & the Family Stone, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and many more performed songs that expressed their opposition of the Vietnam War. Some of the artists there like Santana, were up-and-coming acts that Woodstock helped to pioneer their careers. The closing set, one of the most famous to not only Woodstock, however to music in 1960’s, was Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” a guitar solo that changed the way music is viewed today.
Woodstock depicted a generation of youth in the 1960 counterculture that was not okay with being silent, a youth that used art and expression to express their desire for change.
Up Against the Wall Motherf**ker: With Notes On Reason, Obsession and the Dream of revolution by Osha Neumann is the story of Neumann’s account of his part in the 60’s counterculture and the establishment of the Motherfuckers. While the group existed, they forced their way into the Pentagon during a war protest, helped occupy one of the buildings in the Columbia University takeover, and cut the fences at Woodstock to allow thousands in for free, among many other feats of radical derring-do. Up Against the Wall Motherf**ker is a honest, insightful, and funny, portrayal of the 60’s unique and yet important counterculture.
In honor of what the singers/ musicians were singing in opposition of, we show tribute to Fred Wilcox, author of Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange and Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam. Wilcox has been researching, writing about, and teaching courses on the Vietnam War for the past thirty years. An Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, he has published articles on chemical warfare, environmental activism, mental health, trauma, and addiction, and has appeared on 100+ radio and television programs as a trusted authority among veterans and academics alike on the Vietnam War and its aftereffects. Both of these books are great resources in understanding why so many people in the 60’s counterculture were opposed to this unjust war.
Tags: 1960's, 60's, counterculture, fred wilcox, freedom of expression, hippies, Jimi Hendrix, music, peace, Santana, Sly & theFamily Stone, the Grateful Dead, the Who, three days of peace and music, Up Against the Wall Motherf**ker, Vietnam War, woodstock, Woodstock Music Festival, youth culture