Mar. 24th, 2019

defrog: (devo mouse)
Apparently they’re planning another Woodstock festival this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original.

Because, you know, the 25th and 30th anniversaries went so well.

Anyway, the lineup has been announced, and NPR ran a piece on it with the following headline:

Can Woodstock 50 'Re-Create The Magic' Of The Original Festival?

Here’s my short answer:


Here’s my slightly longer answer:

Hippie jokes aside, Woodstock was a one-off product of its time, unprecedented in scale and ambition – so much so that the organizers lost control of it early on. Which was in a way in keeping with the times themselves.

To be clear, I think the mythos of Woodstock gets overplayed a lot. But it WAS a culturally significant moment because of the youth-culture ideology that drove it, the sociopolitical changes in play at the time, and the unique role of rock music as an interactive motivational soundtrack for those changes.

Rock was still new and evolving in the late-60s to the point that it was part of the anti-establishment social movement itself. Consequently, I think Woodstock 1 has the reputation it does precisely because the music was integral to the youth movement at the time.

By contrast, pop/rock today feels relatively static and part of the institution, and structurally independent of sociopolitical movements. Yes, youth are starting to get engaged politically again (gun control, climate change, trans rights, #BLM, #MeToo, etc), but the music is mostly incidental or at best reactive to that. Certainly none of the big-name acts I've seen booked for WS50 have much to do with whatever new social movements are underway (their particular political beliefs and opinions of Trump notwithstanding) – maybe Miley Cyrus, but apart from that, not really. 

The organizers may have their hearts in the right place, but it sounds like to me they have no understanding of what made Woodstock 1 'magical' in the first place. In the end, Woodstock 50 (like WS25 and WS30) is just another overpriced corporate-sponsored music festival with a classic brand, and nothing more. 

This concludes my TED Talk.

Goin’ down to Yasgur's Farm,

This is dF


defrog: (Default)

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