The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro. He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.
Throughout August 15-18 1969, the Love Generation bonded as they never had before at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, held at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, NY. I’m not sure about the amount of peace there, but there was definitely much love and dope. And even more than that—–there was a lot of great music. I was 4 at the time and couldn’t make it, but seeing Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 documentary of the festival Woodstock is the next best thing to being there. Superbly shot and edited (one of the editors was future movie legend Martin Scorsese), the movie unspools great performances by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who, Country Joe and the Fish, Joan Baez, Sha Na Na, Richie Havens, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills and Nash and many more. Each of them is filmed in a style that captures the performers at their best (split-screen has never been used before or since to such amazing effect) and the music itself undoubtedly sounds even better than it did at the actual performance. In between the acts, there are shots of gatecrashers, the audience, the workers that maintained the festival (including an interview with the Port-O-Potty guy, God bless him!) as well as the horrendous traffic jam leading up to the festival (my wife’s uncle actually found himself stuck in it). Woodstock is one of the Great Movies of Summer. It’s a perfect snapshot of what it’s like to be young, in love, listening to great music and…well…doing all of this under the influence of questionable substances!
Editor’s Note: Great Stories does not endorse the use of aforementioned substances. 😉