Woodstock News Links

April 14, 2010 at 4:40 am (Uncategorized)

For a project in my journalism class, I decided to research old news articles about Woodstock.  This topic interested me because I heard and read many things about the historic event in the present, but I wanted to find out how it was actually covered during that time.  What I found out was that the New York Times actually started to cover the event months before it actually happened in August of 1969.  I found an article called “Peaceful Rock Fete Planned Upstate” by Louis Calta, from the New York Times, June 27, 1969.  I found this both interesting and funny, because at this time, no one knew how big and crazy it was actually going to be.  Head of security Wesley Pomerory says “I’m not worried about security particularly…if people have enough to do, there won’t be any trouble”.  Promoter Michael Lang says “ We don’t anticipate that we have to turn anyone away”.  Also, this was written when Woodstock was still going to be held in Walkill New York.   They later changed the location of Bethel, New York.  Here are two news advertisements, each one promoting the two places:

The producers of the Woodstock Festival had originally planned to hold it in Wallkill, NY. Shortly after this poster was printed the permit was revoked With less than thirty days to go, this advertisement was run in major magazines to let everyone know of the move.

http://www.woodstockpreservation.org/PastPresent/wallkill.html

I found two more articles.  One is from the New York Times called “300,000 at Folk Rock Fair Camp Out in a Sea of Mud” by Barnard L. Collier, on  August 16th 1969.  This was a day into the 3 day event.  Not to my surprise, it was described in a negative light, focusing on what went wrong instead of right, probably a move to get people interested in the article.  It described arrests, mostly because of the possession of drugs, 75 on first day.  Other facts highlighted were that a thousand people were treated by the 200 doctors badly manufactured LSD drugs, food shortages, and bus services cancelled because of police.  The last article I found was written by Billboard on August 30th of that year, a couple of weeks after Woodstock was over.  It is called “Woodstock: Peace Mecca” by Daniel Goldberg.  It had a much more reflective and positive tone.  He says: “The spirit of cooperation was at times more remarkable than the music that inspired it. Encouraging this was a sense of excitement and emergency… Woodstock was a celebration of joy which wiped out, at least temporarily, the persistent feelings of meaninglessness that permeate our culture.”   These ideas are similar to how we view Woodstock today; he says that people were able to forget about things like the War and the Watergate Scandal and just enjoy themselves.  I think the difference in the more positive tone here is the time that it was written.  In the one written during Woodstock, it was more about the excitement and drama of  the moment.  After a few weeks, Goldberg was able to take it all in and think about what it truly meant for our country. 

First Article:

http://woodstockpreservation.org/PastPresent/NYT-PDF/01_PeacefulRockConcertUpstate.pdf

Second Article:http://woodstockpreservation.org/PastPresent/NYT-PDF/9_300000CampInSeaOfMud.pdf

Third Article:

http://www.billboard.com/features/woodstock-at-40-billboard-on-the-scene-1003999292.story#/features/woodstock-at-40-billboard-on-the-scene-1003999292.story

Website with many primary sources about Woodstock: http://woodstockpreservation.org/

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