MUS-150-SL History of Rock ‘n Roll
May 12, 2015
Three Days of Music, Peace and Love
In 1969 the most memorable music festival and art fair in America happened on August 15 thru August 18. This three day long gathering was called Woodstock Art and Music Festival. This event was not just about the music, it was an event that changed America. In the early 60’s the United States was in turmoil over the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Civil Right Movement. There was also assassinations of four influential men such as Robert Kennedy, J. F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. Sick of the violence and millions of deaths, many young men and women of their late teens to mid-twenties took their stand by rallies, protests, and attending concerts. It appeared to this young generation that the world their parents had made for them was a world full of hate and war and they wanted to distance themselves from it, creating a hippie counterculture. Calling themselves hippies because to be hip was one who is aware. They believed that they were fully aware of what they wanted, what they believed in and how they perceived the world. They wanted egalitarianism between races, peace among men and its country, and they wanted to be heard without being persecuted by the “The Establishment” which was any sort of government institution that ordered them to fight for a war they did not believe in. In 1964 the draft began for the Vietnam War. The youngest age for the draft was eighteen. It bewilder these young people that at the age of eighteen they were old enough to die for their country, but could not vote until the age twenty-one. This led to many antiwar protest. These rebellious hippies turned to music and drugs. Their choice of music was folk music and psychedelic rock. They used drugs that gave those means to explore alternate state of conscious such as LSD and marijuana. They used the “crow’s foot” designed by Gerald Holtom in the 1950s that protested against nuclear arms, as a symbol of the antiwar movement which by the end of the decade became the international symbol of peace. Their means of transportation was the VW bus, it was big enough to pile many friends and hitchhikers in, and so they could attend protest, concerts, and festivals. These VW buses were always painted with bright colored flowers, peace signs and messages of love or antiwar. With the introduction of birth control in the 60’s, it helped women to explore their sexual liberation. All these events helped pave the way to the three days of peace and love that become known as Woodstock Music and Art Festival an Aquarian Exposition in White Lake, New York.
Michael Lang was one of the co-founders, age twenty-five, while in New York to promote a band he was managing, met and quickly become friends with fellow Brooklyn native, Artie Kornfeld. Artie Kornfeld, age twenty-six, was the youngest vice-president of Capital Records. These two self-motivated men had big ideas, one wanted to open a recording studio in Woodstock, New York and the other wanted to have a series of concerts to finance it. The only thing holding them back was neither one had the capital for such events. This is where John Roberts, age twenty-three, an inheritor of a wealthy family-owned business and Joel Rosenman, age twenty-six, whose background was in law, came into play. These two friends had ideas of their own. They wanted to write a television series about two pals with more money than brains, which every week would get into some nutty business ventures. The only problem was they could not think of any plots of their own, so they decided to put an ad in the Wall Street Journal and in the New York Times that read: Young man with unlimited capital looking for legitimate investing opportunities and business propositions. This ad was to only look for ideas and plots for their television series. However, Lang and Kornfeld saw the ad in Wall Street Journal and though this might be