Why Woodstock & Occupy WS are Different - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Why Woodstock & Occupy WS are Different

I read Lisa Fabrizio’s article which likens Occupy Wall Street to Woodstock.

While I’m sure those at Occupy WS see this as their Woodstock there are significant differences.

The Woodstock Music & Art Festival: An Aquarian Exposition was intended as a profit making venture and was funded by two New York City businessmen, Joel Rosenman and John P. Roberts who formed a partnership with Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld.

The concert was originally supposed to take place in Wallkill, New York but the city fathers bailed a month before the show. All things considered, how could you have three days of peace and music in a place called Wallkill?

But Max Yasgur, a dairy farmer from Bethel, New York, would soon come to the rescue offering Woodstock Ventures a portion of his land for $75,000. It is worth noting that Yasgur did not share the politics of the countercultural generation with regard to the War in Vietnam and other matters. But as Michael Lang told me back in 2009, Yasgur thought “everybody deserved a chance to prove themselves.”

Tickets to Woodstock cost $6 or $8 for a one day pass and $18 to $24 for a three day pass. Of course, as we all know, the event turned into a logistical nightmare when far more people showed up than expected. Woodstock Ventures was left with little choice but to declare it a free concert and soak in the financial bath that went with it. Although money was made from both the soundtrack and the movie, they did not recoup their losses until the early 1980s.

As of this writing, Zuccotti Park has been occupied for forty days with no end in sight. By the time Jimi Hendrix played “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the final morning of the concert more than 95% of the estimated half million who attended Woodstock had already left Yasgur’s Farm.

I must also disagree with Fabrizio’s assertion that the music at Woodstock was awful. I think Joe Cocker’s cover of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends”, Richie Havens’ “Freedom” (which was improvised on the spot) and Santana’s “Soul Sacrifice” have stood the test of time. I doubt that anybody in the drum circle at Zuccotti Park could a hold a candle to Michael Shrieve’s drum solo in support of Carlos Santana.

Then there was Bert Sommer. If the name draws a blank, that’s OK. He was the forgotten man of Woodstock having been left off the soundtrack, the movie and even its plaque. Sommer had little success in the music business following Woodstock aside from a stint as part of Kaptain Kool & The Kongs on The Krofft Supershow as well as on Donny & Marie in the late 1970s. But Sommer had an exquisite voice as demonstrated in his song “Jennifer.” Sadly, he passed away in 1990.

Somehow I don’t think there’s a lot of peace, fun and music to be had at Occupy Wall Street.

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