DEFINED A GENERATION, OTHERS AREN’T CONVINCED. AREN’T CONVINCED.>>THE HIPPIES WHO KNEW WHAT>>THE HIPPIES WHO KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING SORT OF. THEY WERE DOING SORT OF. THEY WANTED TO STAGE A PERFECT THEY WANTED TO STAGE A PERFECT AND BUCOLIC FESTIVAL AND THERE AND BUCOLIC FESTIVAL AND THERE WAS YOUR SECOND CLUE. WAS YOUR SECOND CLUE. GREAT INTENTION. GREAT INTENTION. THEY NEVER FINISHED PUTTING UP THEY NEVER FINISHED PUTTING UP THE FENCES. THE FENCES. THEY BARELY FINISHED BUILDING THEY BARELY FINISHED BUILDING THE STAGE. THE STAGE. THEY DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD. THEY DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD. THEY HAD TO GET THE ARMY, THE THEY HAD TO GET THE ARMY, THE ARMY — HIPPIES HAD TO GET HELP ARMY — HIPPIES HAD TO GET HELP FROM THE ARMY TO FLY IN MEDICAL FROM THE ARMY TO FLY IN MEDICAL SUPPLIES AND FOOD AND OTHER SUPPLIES AND FOOD AND OTHER THINGS THEY NEEDED. THINGS THEY NEEDED. IT WAS A COMPLETE DISASTER. IT WAS A COMPLETE DISASTER. IT RAINED. IT RAINED. ALSO, THERE WERE TOO MANY ALSO, THERE WERE TOO MANY PEOPLE. PEOPLE. SO MANY PEOPLE THAT THEY HAD A SO MANY PEOPLE THAT THEY HAD A CHOICE BETWEEN PANDEMONIUM OR CHOICE BETWEEN PANDEMONIUM OR SAYING JUST COME IT DOESN’T SAYING JUST COME IT DOESN’T MATTER WHETHER YOU HAVE A FREE MATTER WHETHER YOU HAVE A FREE TICKET, IT’S A FREE FESTIVAL TICKET, IT’S A FREE FESTIVAL NOW. NOW. A COMPLETE DISASTER. A COMPLETE DISASTER. AND YET, ALSO A MIRACLE. AND YET, ALSO A MIRACLE. 300,000, 400,000 PEOPLE COME 300,000, 400,000 PEOPLE COME TOGETHER AND COEXIST FOR THREE TOGETHER AND COEXIST FOR THREE DAYS. DAYS. AND THEY MANAGED TO MAKE IT AND THEY MANAGED TO MAKE IT WORK. WORK. THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS TO LOOK AT 1969 RIGHT THEN WAYS TO LOOK AT 1969 RIGHT THEN IN THE SPACE OF FOUR WEEKS, MAN IN THE SPACE OF FOUR WEEKS, MAN WALKED ON THE MOON, THERE WAS A WALKED ON THE MOON, THERE WAS A WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, THEMAN SON WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL, THEMAN SON FAMILY KILLED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE FAMILY KILLED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE OUT IN LOS ANGELES. OUT IN LOS ANGELES. WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO BELIEVE WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO BELIEVE DESCRIBES AMERICA IN 1969? DESCRIBES AMERICA IN 1969? BECAUSE YOU CAN PICK ANY OF BECAUSE YOU CAN PICK ANY OF THEM. THEM. BUT IF YOU PICK WOODSTOCK, BUT IF YOU PICK WOODSTOCK, YOU’RE BUYING INTO A WONDERFUL YOU’RE BUYING INTO A WONDERFUL BABY BOOMER MYTH ABOUT LOVE AND BABY BOOMER MYTH ABOUT LOVE AND PEACE AND MUSIC. PEACE AND MUSIC. WHAT WAS GREAT ABOUT WOOTH WHAT WAS GREAT ABOUT WOOTH STOCK? STOCK? IT WAS AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. IT WAS AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE. SOCIAL THEORISTS CALLED IT A SOCIAL THEORISTS CALLED IT A TEMPORARY AUTONOMOUS ZONE. TEMPORARY AUTONOMOUS ZONE. IT’S A THEIRRY IN ANARCHIST IT’S A THEIRRY IN ANARCHIST POLITICAL THEORY THAT YOU CAN POLITICAL THEORY THAT YOU CAN PUT PEOPLE TOGETHER AND LET THEM PUT PEOPLE TOGETHER AND LET THEM MAKE THEIR OWN RULES AND IT WILL MAKE THEIR OWN RULES AND IT WILL WORK. WORK. THEY CREATE A TEMPORARY THEY CREATE A TEMPORARY AUTONOMOUS ZONE. AUTONOMOUS ZONE. THEY RULE THEMSELVES. THEY RULE THEMSELVES. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED IN WOODSTOCK. WOODSTOCK. THERE WERE A BARTER SYSTEM. THERE WERE A BARTER SYSTEM. THERE WAS COMMERCE. THERE WAS COMMERCE. YOU COULD BUY AND SELL THINGS. YOU COULD BUY AND SELL THINGS. YOU COULD BUY TIE-DYED SHIRTS YOU COULD BUY TIE-DYED SHIRTS AND HIPPIE THINGS. AND HIPPIE THINGS. A LOT OF THE SUMMER CONCERT A LOT OF THE SUMMER CONCERT EXPERIENCE RIGHT NOW FOR KIDS EXPERIENCE RIGHT NOW FOR KIDS ARE FESTIVALS. ARE FESTIVALS. IT DOESN’T NECESSARILY SURROUND IT DOESN’T NECESSARILY SURROUND WOODSTOCK. WOODSTOCK. SOMETIMES A BIT OF INCENSE IN SOMETIMES A BIT OF INCENSE IN THE CORNER. THE CORNER. HERE’S THE THING PEOPLE DON’T HERE’S THE THING PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND ABOUT WOODSTOCK IS IT UNDERSTAND ABOUT WOODSTOCK IS IT WAS FREE. WAS FREE. TICKETS WERE SUPPOSED TO COST TICKETS WERE SUPPOSED TO COST $18 FOR THREE DAYS. $18 FOR THREE DAYS. IT’S ABOUT $125 IN 2019 MONEY. IT’S ABOUT $125 IN 2019 MONEY. COACHELLA BY THE WAY COSTS AT COACHELLA BY THE WAY COSTS AT LEAST THREE TIMES THAT. LEAST THREE TIMES THAT. BUT THEY DIDN’T END UP TAKING BUT THEY DIDN’T END UP TAKING THE TICKETS. THE TICKETS. THEY DIDN’T MAKE MONEY. THEY DIDN’T MAKE MONEY. AND THAT SET THE EXPECTATION AND THAT SET THE EXPECTATION AMONG FANS. AMONG FANS. FESTIVALS SHOULD BE FREE. FESTIVALS SHOULD BE FREE. FESTIVALS STRUGGLED AFTER FESTIVALS STRUGGLED AFTER WOODSTOCK TO ACTUALLY HAVE WOODSTOCK TO ACTUALLY HAVE TICKETS. TICKETS. AND NOT BE CHARGED AS CAPITALIST AND NOT BE CHARGED AS CAPITALIST PIGS RIPPING OFF THE CULTURE. PIGS RIPPING OFF THE CULTURE. THE WHOLE IDEA THAT WOODSTOCK THE WHOLE IDEA THAT WOODSTOCK WAS ABOUT THREE DAYS OF LOVE, WAS ABOUT THREE DAYS OF LOVE, PEACE, AND MUSIC, THAT IS GREAT PEACE, AND MUSIC, THAT IS GREAT MARKETING. MARKETING. THAT’S GREAT BRANDING. THAT’S GREAT BRANDING. AND DON’T THINK THOSE GUYS AND DON’T THINK THOSE GUYS DIDN’T KNOW IT. DIDN’T KNOW IT. THE LOVE AND PEACE? THE LOVE AND PEACE? THAT’S AN ENDURING WAY OF THAT’S AN ENDURING WAY OF THINKING OF THAT FESTIVAL. THINKING OF THAT FESTIVAL. THAT WAS ON THE POSTER THEY THAT WAS ON THE POSTER THEY PRINTED UP WHEN THEY THOUGHT PRINTED UP WHEN THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO MAKE MONEY THEY WERE GOING TO MAKE MONEY OFF OF THE MUSIC. OFF OF THE MUSIC. THERE WAS A WOODSTOCK ’94, THERE WAS A WOODSTOCK ’94, WOODSTOCK ’99. WOODSTOCK ’99. IT WAS A DISASTER. IT WAS A DISASTER. IN A REPLAY OF HISTORY, IT WAS A IN A REPLAY OF HISTORY, IT WAS A COMPLETE DISASTER. COMPLETE DISASTER. GOT KICKED OFF OF ITS ORIGINAL GOT KICKED OFF OF ITS ORIGINAL FESTIVAL SITE. FESTIVAL SITE. IT WASN’T GOING TO HAPPEN. IT WASN’T GOING TO HAPPEN. EVERYONE WAS TRYING TO SHUT IT EVERYONE WAS TRYING TO SHUT IT DOWN. DOWN. THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE. THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE. AND THEN IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. AND THEN IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. AND THAT’S THE AMAZING THING. AND THAT’S THE AMAZING THING. AT 50 YEARS LATER AND SOME OF AT 50 YEARS LATER AND SOME OF THESE SAME PEOPLE THOUGHT THEY THESE SAME PEOPLE THOUGHT THEY COULD PULL IT OFF AGAIN. COULD PULL IT OFF AGAIN. THE SAME WAY. THE SAME WAY. BY THE SEAT OF THEIR PANTS. BY THE SEAT OF THEIR PANTS. WITHOUT GETTING IT ALL DONE SIX WITHOUT GETTING IT ALL DONE SIX MONTHS OR A YEAR EARLIER. MONTHS OR A YEAR EARLIER.>>MORE THAN 350,000 PEOPLE CAME>>MORE THAN 350,000 PEOPLE CAME LOOKING FOR PEACE AND MUSIC. LOOKING FOR PEACE AND MUSIC. MANY SAID THEY LEARNED A LOT MANY SAID THEY LEARNED A LOT ABOUT THEMSELVES. ABOUT THEMSELVES. I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT GETTING I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT GETTING ALONG TOGETHER AND PRIORITIES. ALONG TOGETHER AND PRIORITIES. AND FOR MOST, THAT ALONE MAKES AND FOR MOST, THAT ALONE MAKES IT ALL WORTHWHILE. IT ALL WORTHWHILE.>>IT BECAME PRETTY INSTANTLY>>IT BECAME PRETTY INSTANTLY THE WAY THE GENERATION WANTED TO THE WAY THE GENERATION WANTED TO THINK ABOUT ITSELF. THINK ABOUT ITSELF. IT WANTED TO THINK OF ITSELF AS IT WANTED TO THINK OF ITSELF AS THE WOODSTOCK NATION. THE WOODSTOCK NATION. RIGHT? RIGHT? THE IDEA THAT INSTANTLY WAS MORE THE IDEA THAT INSTANTLY WAS MORE ENDURING THAN THE THING ITSELF. ENDURING THAN THE THING ITSELF. IT WAS THE SYMBOL AS MUCH AS IT WAS THE SYMBOL AS MUCH AS ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED. ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED. AND WHAT HAPPENS THAT WAS AND WHAT HAPPENS THAT WAS REMARKABLE WAS THAT PEOPLE GOT REMARKABLE WAS THAT PEOPLE GOT TO PUT SOME PRINCIPLE INTO TO PUT SOME PRINCIPLE INTO ACTION. ACTION. AND FOR THREE DAYS, BY MUTUAL AND FOR THREE DAYS, BY MUTUAL AGREEMENT INSIDE THE FESTIVAL AGREEMENT INSIDE THE FESTIVAL SITE AND WITH SOME OF THE SITE AND WITH SOME OF THE AUTHORITIES OR THE TOWNSPEOPLE AUTHORITIES OR THE TOWNSPEOPLE OUTSIDE THE FESTIVAL SITE, IT OUTSIDE THE FESTIVAL SITE, IT WORKS. WORKS. THAT’S THE MIRACLE OF IT. THAT’S THE MIRACLE OF IT. THAT’S WHY WE STILL CARE. THAT’S WHY WE STILL CARE. IT WAS A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT. IT WAS A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT. AND THE EXPERIMENT WORKED. AND THE EXPERIMENT WORKED. AND THEN IT WASN’T SO EASY TO AND THEN IT WASN’T SO EASY TO RECREATE.

5 thoughts on “Woodstock At 50: The Miracle Behind The Festival | NBC News Now”

  1. Inaccurate to say "two hippies who were living upstate." Artie Kornfeld was a record executive living in Manhattan on Sutton Place. You could say Michael Lang was the only "hippie." Joel Rosenman and the late John Roberts didn't "know what they were doing" but took a giant chance.

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