Almanac Music: 50 Years Since Woodstock




Just a week after we celebrated the golden anniversary of the iconic Beatles Abbey Road photo, we have cause to rejoice once again with the anniversary of the Woodstock Festival of Peace and Love in upper New York State which began 50 years ago today. Where were you and what were you doing? How aware were you of what was happening there? Which performers did you really ‘dig’?


In 1969, I was a 16-going-0n-17-year-old Matriculation student at a quite conservative independent College in Toowoomba. To the best of my memory, we were totally unaware of what was happening at Max Yasgur’s farm. In fact, we were far more focussed on the upcoming annual College concert. For the first time, we were to perform twice, firstly in Kingaroy on August 31st and then at the Town Hall in Toowoomba on September 1st.


Our school was in the early days of establishing a tradition of performing high quality musicals that continues today. At that time, it was all about Gilbert and Sullivan, the staple of the era. In 1968 it was ‘HMS Pinafore’ and in 1969 we did ‘The Mikado’. With a small student population to draw upon, I was lucky enough to get the comic lead in those productions, firstly as Sir Joseph Porter KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty, and then as Koko, the Lord High Executioner. We were fortunate to have Mr John Penny, a highly respected figure in musical circles in Toowoomba, on our teaching staff. His productions became a measuring stick for other schools to try to emulate. They were great times. (John was also my Modern History teacher and a wonderful influence in my adolescent life.)


Meanwhile, it was all happening at Woodstock – apparently. I only became familiar with the event in the following year but soon fell for its allure of peace, love, music, chaos – and mud! The resultant movie was an instant icon of the time for that generation. I remember seeing it at the drive-in at Panorama in Adelaide with Andy, Dale and Jenny. By that time, I was a devoted CSN&Y fan so I particularly loved Stephen Stills’ comment, “This is the second time we’ve played in public, man, we’re scared shitless.” And who wouldn’t be with 500,00 people in front of you?


It still makes me smile. So here’s a clip to get you going, Joe Cocker at his very best, tie dyed T-shirt, manic gyrations and all, with one of the best covers of all time. Enjoy!


And please share your memories.






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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.

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