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YMMV / Wood Stock

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  • Awesome Music: Look at this list.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Sha Na Na. Not just because they were an obscure campy cover band amid all the rock heavyweights, but they didn't even have a recording contract at the time. And they were the second-to-last act on Monday morning, wedged between the electric Blues of Paul Butterfield and a searing Jimi Hendrix finale.note  Even crazier: it was Hendrix who recommended them to the festival organizers!
    • The New York Times ran an article called "Nightmare in the Catskills," calling the festival a filthy, mud-soaked "social catastrophe in the making," and the participants having "little more sanity than lemmings", featuring injuries, illnesses, drug overdoses, blah blah. The on-the-scene Times reporters had sent in much more positive, even glowing reports. When they realized that their paper was going to ignore their story and that editor Arthur Sulzberger had ordered all articles about Woodstock to focus on "civilization is doomed," they marched into his office and announced, "We quit!" When they explained, another article was written with a more upbeat tone cancelling out the previous one. It is called "Morning After at Bethel".
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Lighting and stage designer Edward "Chip" Monck was asked to be The Host of the '69 festival after the show started, when the organizers realized they needed someone to be an MC. Monck's calm, authoritative, almost Mid-Atlantic accented voice (he was from Massachusetts, and his father was English), plus his Badass Mustache, made him a memorable presence in the audio and film material, giving announcements about food and medical supplies, paging people, warning festivalgoers to stop climbing the lighting towers, and giving advisories about hazardous strains of LSD circulating among the crowd. Production manager John Morris ("It's a free concert from now on") and Hugh "Wavy Gravy" Romney ("What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000") of the Hog Farm Commune also helped with announcements and had some quotable moments as well.
  • First Installment Wins:
    • Two very loosely-organized 10th anniversary shows in New York in 1979 (one at Madison Square Garden, the other at an equestrian track on Long Island) reunited a handful of the original participants (some played both shows) but got a very lukewarm reception.
    • The officially sanctioned Woodstock '94 had great sets such as Metallica, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan (a huge get for the festival, since he had famously shunned the original), Green Day, Primus, and a career making performance by Nine Inch Nails, but it's usually considered to be far inferior to the original, and as for Woodstock '99 and 50, well...
    • Critics only praised Woodstock '99's less aggressive/non-metal acts, but all of these performances were both less remembered than 1994's and were completely overshadowed by the violence at the end of the festival. The more fondly remembered sets included Parliament-Funkadelic, The Tragically Hip, Jamiroquai, Los Lobos, G. Love & Special Sauce and one of James Brown's last great performances. The '99 festival was also notable as the first major American concert by Muse...who played on the "Emerging Artists Stage" to almost no attention.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Any scene in the movie where people are enjoying themselves, really.
    • The couple hugging each other wrapped in a blanket on the official album cover of the 1969 festival? Bartender/student Nick Ercoline and his fiancee, bank teller Bobbi Kelly, and as of 2019 on the 50th anniversary of the festival they are still Happily Married.
    • Various interviews of the locals who volunteered their time to help with food and supplies.
    • The Port-O-San maintenance worker (later identified in legal papers as Thomas Taggartnote ), getting interviewed towards the end of the movie. The interviewer tells him "You're doing a good job." Taggart answers back "Thank you very much. Glad to do it for these kids. My son's here too and I got one over in Vietnam too. He's up in the DMZ right now with all the flying helicopters." In that answer, Taggart spoke to the experience of millions of American families who had kids in Vietnam (and kids at Woodstock). David Crosby would ask in the 20th Anniversary issue of Rolling Stone if Taggart's sons both got out okay.
    • In a meta sense, how the 1969 concert turned out. Due to every bad thing that could go wrong - the unexpected turnout of 500000 people overwhelming the gate, lack of food, lack of shelter for the bad weather, acts not showing up, half of everything getting covered in mud, the traffic jam that literally shut down most of the state, bad drugs, what have you - there was every likelihood this could have turned into a riot... and indeed Governor Nelson Rockefeller was this close to declaring an official emergency and calling in the National Guard.note  Instead, cooler heads on the ground prevailednote , a lot of locals pitched in to help, a lot of concert attendees helped where they could, and the festival ended with few deaths (most of them accidental) and with a general sense from all involved that they had survived an incredible, uplifting event. In hindsight, the "Woodstock Nation" moment was considered - happening at the end of a very chaotic decade - one of the few shining moments in modern American history.
    • Wavy Gravy: We must be in heaven, man.
  • Moment of Awesome: The Who's "See Me, Feel Me" scoring the sunrise!
    Listening to you I get the music
    Gazing at you I get the heat
    Following you I climb the mountain
    I get excitement at your feet
    Right behind you I see the millions
    On you I see the glory
    From you I get opinions
    From you I get the story...
  • Signature Scene: Jimi Hendrix playing "The Star-Spangled Banner", not just for the festival or the movie, but, in some people's eyes, the entire decade of The '60s.


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