Woodstock: The 1969 Rock and Roll Revolution

WOODSTOCK                                                ERNESTO ASSANTE

How can you explain the Woodstock Festival, 50 years after the event, to those who were not fortunate enough to take part? The concert that changed the history of rock music and an entire generation cannot be reduced to the photos. Half a million young people come to Bethel, New York, from every corner of the world to experience three days of music together.

This event, now legendary, resounds with the psychedelic notes of Santana and the sublime guitar of Pete Townshend of The Who, the rich voices of Joan Baez and Janis Joplin, and the many other artists who appeared one after another on the stage. Yet, it was perhaps the guitar of Jimi Hendrix as he played his version of the American national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” as Woodstock screamed its impetuous, revolutionary protest against the war in Vietnam, that became the symbol of an epochal dissent.

In Woodstock, journalist and music critic Ernesto Assante presents those unforgettable days through exclusive interviews and photos he has recorded throughout his entire career. Michael Lang, Carlos Santana, Joe Cocker, Grace Slick, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Bob Weir, Roger Daltrey, Graham Nash, will all take us to Bethel to re-live and give thanks to the extraordinary figures that made Woodstock a legend that still echoes today.


Woodstock 50 years, who would have thought that. As a young boy watching the news, all I remember hearing about was a group of young hippies showing up for what was supposed to be three days of singers. Then later more talk, but that was all. This book with the history at the beginning taking you through the movement and how everything got started, from the term “Beatnik”, from a book written in 1958 by Jack Kerouac. The author then moves you through the times of the sixties with different festivals, “Tripps” in 1966 in San Francisco, another one in 67 at the Golden Gate Park. Each one of these would have the Grateful Dead, Big Brother & the Holding Company, as some of the performers. They were only known to people from San Francisco and Bill Graham the local promoter handling the music. This would also be the time of “Summer Love”, then the first big rock festival in Monterey California that was for three days in June of 1967. Now the author takes you to how they came to Betel New York and Max Yasgur’s dairy farm. How they started clearing the land, making all of the arraignments, for food, water, bathrooms, and other items. Of course, all they did would not matter. Tickets they printed and sold they figured out they could not collect on them, they were thinking 200,000 people, but 400,000 above showed up. What was supposed to be three days, went four days. The stage was not complete as people and performers arrived so Richie Heavens would not go on until much later. The rains would come but people stayed and the acts still performed. The author takes you through each one. This is an excellent book and gives you a true story of the history of the time leading up to the event, and really the end of the sixties. The photographs that go along with the book are fantastic and you really get a feel of the area. Especially why the people of Bethel were so upset as people just left their cars in the streets and ended up walking the twenty miles to the farm. Overall a very good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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