Froma Bird's Eye View

By Raven West

You Can’t Plan Spontaneity – Why the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock Failed

I was not all that surprised the 50th anniversary of Woodstock concert was cancelled.

The “reunion” failed in 1994 and again in 1999. The HuffPost covered this in “The Day the Music Died” (apologies to Don McClean)

In 1969, what is now known as Woodstock, was originally billed as an “Aquarian Expo” (as noted in my diary entry). This was a party. It was a celebration of peace and love at a time when there was nothing but war and hate on the nightly news. This music festival was going to unite us and bring us hope that our generation was going to change the world… for the better.

Thousands of people came together. There were only 3 accidental deaths, no fights, no shootings, no violence at all!  Thousands of people listened to great music, got stoned and drenched, loved openly and experienced joy and freedom unlike any other event before or after.

Woodstock was a spontaneous celebration of humanity and all that we are and could become. You can’t plan spontaneity – it happens only once in a lifetime.

We came away from the weekend with hope that anything was possible. That somehow, the thousands that came together for one wet weekend would stay together and bring that feeling of peace and love to the entire world, or at the very least to our entire country.

It didn’t happen.

The next entry in my diary was the same as it had been before the festival. In fact, I didn’t write anything at all until December of that year, the week I turned 16 and could drive.

We all went back to our “regularly scheduled lives” and days later, we pretty much forgot all about Woodstock. So, is it any surprise that a 50th reunion was going to fail in today’s world? We accomplished nothing. We learned nothing.

Vietnam became Afghanistan and Iraq. Violence against the Black community is now violence against the immigrant community. The glass ceiling has been reinforced with concrete in many sectors, including pay and the right to choose what we put into, or have come out of own bodies. Politicians are corrupt. Those in the entertainment, sports industry and religious communities are exposed as sexual predators. Mass shootings and violence against the “other” is being reported on the 24-hour news networks.

We blame the rich for not giving more to the poor. We blame the poor for taking everything from the rich.

And everyone still hates the Jews.

For anyone to think, for one second, that the hopes and dreams of the Peace and Love generation could be re-lived, even for one day let alone an entire weekend is living in a fantasy.

Woodstock 50 was destined to fail, because many who attended Woodstock, or were even a small part of that weekend 50 years ago became the very establishment we were fighting against!

If anything positive came out of that time, it’s the legalization of recreational marijuana. Everyone should get high. It’s very difficult to fire a MK-47 assault rifle when you’re stoned. It’s nearly impossible to be angry at anyone for anything when you’re laughing at EVERYTHING!

And 2019 is not, nor will it ever be 1969.

Who knows, with a little luck and a whole lot of hope, not to mention peace and love, and hard work in another 50 years, Woodstock 2069 will be a success.


*Note – there WILL be a 50th Anniversary celebration on the site of the Original Woodstock festival, but no matter, it still won’t be the same!

Original Woodstock Site Will Host 50th Anniversary Festivities This Weekend



  1. I agree with a lot of what you say. It was a one-time event that can’t happen again. Woodstock was spontaneous, organic – when events like this are planned, you lose the magic. The music was good and much of it had meaning. Death (the Vietnam draft) was staring young men in the face. There was a tremendous generation gap, which pulled young people toward each other. Madison Avenue and rock music (youth culture in general) hadn’t intertwined yet. All much different from today.

    I disagree that the only positive result is marijuana legalization (which is only in isolated states, with restrictions). Despite our moronic president and his extremist cohorts, women, minorities, gays, and the environment have all benefited from the Sixties. We lost the economic battle…exploitative capitalism is everywhere…but we did win on many social issues.


    • I was being a bit sarcastic with the marijuana remark! Obviously many positive social changes came out of the turbulent 60’s, Woodstock was just one weekend – but we have such a LONG way to go. Thanks for the comment – much more to follow in the coming weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

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