In just three days, they made history
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair was supposed to be a three-day celebration of the hottest bands at the time put on by four young men, but it ended up being a moment in time where a generation came together like no other generation had done before or since. In mid-August 1969 when young men were being drafted into the Vietnam War, the Manson Family murdered people to start Helter Skelter, and protests for civil liberties turned violent, 400,000 young people who called themselves hippies descended on a small farming community in New York. The festival organizers couldn’t handle the flow of people and just started letting everyone in. Despite the massive crowds, there was no violence. The hippies were all about love and peace, and they just wanted to have a good time with each other to spread their message of joy to the rest of the world.
Hunter S. Thompson wrote about the hippie generation in his celebrated book <em>Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas</em>: “And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
But this generation, this movement centered by unconditional love did come to an end, though their spirit lives on whenever you see a group of strangers meeting and enjoying each other’s company. Let’s take a look back at the crest of their high and beautiful wave that peaked at Woodstock in the summer of ’69.
These hippies had no idea that a little music festival in a farming community in New York would be one of the most historical moments of the 20th Century.