What Happened to Woodstock Nation?
Woodstock became a national obsession for America’s youth. It grew to mythic proportions. We began to see Woodstock as a symbol, a defining moment in our generation’s history, complete with a “make love; not war” clarion call that seemed to sweep through our society like a wildfire .
When I was young, that’s what I saw. But here’s what happened:
“Today, this self-described Woodstock nation has morphed into the very beings they rebelled against during that August weekend in 1969: Straight-shooting, buttoned-down, stressed-out parents.” (American Reporter website, August 14, 2009).
No doubt students of American History can point to all the sociological and psychological factors that led to this. For me, it’s rather simple: It’s a youth glorification phenomenon. Every generation does this: We exalt an event, memorialize it…because it allows us to hold onto a precious time in our lives that exists only in our memories: Our youth. It stands as a testament to our greatness. We are unique. We are different. We did Woodstock.
Every generation has a “Woodstock” signpost in its youth – one that was lost when they were gone.
As baby boomers, we really do know the truth, even it it’s hard to admit to ourselves. They said we created the drug culture. It was born in the days of Woodstock Nation. And we still use drugs.
But we replaced the “living on the edge,” soaring visions of our LSD and Hashish trips…
with the “take the edge off” our middle class existence with Xanax and anti-depressants…
The idea for Woodstock was born six months prior to the festival by a couple of guys who wanted to build a recording studio in upstate New York to cater to musicians who were growing tired of city life in Manhattan. They would put on a music festival to pay for it. Others joined in the plan. It was a purely capitalistic idea that went wrong and became a spontaneous counter-culture event. That is an interesting development in itself…but not enduring enough to last after the baby boomer generation is gone.
To the chagrin of our sense of importance, Woodstock Nation was short-lived, if it lived at all.