Forty years later, what part of Woodstock lives on?
History's most famous music festival still shocks and delights – and draw generations together.
The three-day gathering (actually held in nearby Bethel, N.Y.) is still a Rorschach test for how people view an era marked by massive challenges to social assumptions and political authority. Woodstock has come to be seen as either a symbol of what ails America today – drugs, immorality, relativism, and a general decline of civilization – or a joyous, peaceful celebration of human potential, exploration, and fresh possibilities,
Little about the concert was overtly political. "[T]hey are the most courteous, considerate, and well-behaved group of kids I have ever been in contact with...," a local police chief told a New York Times reporter at the time.
Perhaps it was a relief, a timeout, a moment to unwind when the Vietnam War and racial tensions dominated the headlines. Perhaps, in coming a month after the first moon landing, it was time to show humanity could be as one.