Fifty years ago today, my friends and I drove up to the “entrance” to Woodstock, the festival: two local cops, wearing shorts and holding clipboards, stood near two saw horses painted yellow (would we call it a barricade? Not in today’s lingo).
Almost like magic, the four of us produced our actual tickets to the next “3 days of peace & music,” and one of the cops shook his head and told us “No, sorry, the festival is full.” I was at the wheel of Alice’s baby-blue VW squareback, feeling momentarily speechless. Everybody else laughed because we did have our tickets. We had followed the rules. Paid in advance. Drove 1500 miles to get there. Etc., etc., etc. I remember staring at the cop’s clipboard for a few seconds. Then the usual back and forth But we have tickets. Blah blah no way. Turn around. No. But we have tickets. Blah. No. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel.
What Happened Next . . .
Beyond the two cops and their clipboards and yellow construction-site saw horses, I could see a sea of people. And you know what?? (What?) Me and my friends were right there about to join them all! We had arrived at the festival a day early (Thursday) and nothing or no one was going to stop us. Be here now, right? Go home? Never. We had our tents. We had some food. We had other sustenance. “Thanks very much, sir” I said. Then with a big smile, I gunned the engine, and drove right past the laws and into the dusty rise that served as a road.
In a kind of Biblical way, the seas parted to embrace us: Bodies moved aside so we could make our way in to a bumpy, lumpy space between some other cars. We had arrived for our 3 days of peace and music. And we had fun. Yes we did . . . groovy.
Will This Ever Happen Again?
If you believe in magic, yes it will.