Hard to believe, but the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival is only one year away. Many of us have, no doubt, begun to make arrangements to return to Bethel for the jubilee but, for those unable to join us, do not be concerned … this celebration is certain to be thoroughly recorded and reported upon; at least six film and documentary production groups from the United States and Europe have projects under way, with a number of print media series’ in development as well.
Given the certainty of wall-to-wall coverage, it might not be a bad choice to simply remain home and watch all the hoopla from the comfort of a recliner. If you intend to show up in person, though, you will likely notice a few differences from the last time we got together in that soggy meadow in rural upstate New York:
Clothing Tie-dyed fashions seem never to have gone out of style, but I suspect that some of us now purchase our jeans with expandable waistbands. And while huarache sandals will surely be in evidence, many of us may opt, instead, for comfortable walking shoes.
Alcohol and Drugs Yes, we will be drinking some wine but, given the passage of time, we will probably be consuming a goodly amount of Metamucil as well. And when it comes to drugs, any substances we consume this time will be less “recreational” and more “therapeutic” (think cholesterol, blood pressure and arthritis).
Traffic Jams Unlike the region-wide gridlock we all endured in 1969, this time the roads will not be clogged with Volkswagen Beetles and dad’s station wagon. Any traffic tie ups during this gathering will result from tour buses stopping to drop us off where Yasgur’s Farm used to be.
Mud During our last get together, it was cool to get a running start and then slide in the ever-present mire. That won’t happen this time; many of us have learned how hard it is to get back up once we have fallen and, besides, somebody could break a hip.
Public Nudity Many of us have gained a few pounds and are less sure-footed than we were during those glorious days in 1969, so skinny dipping may be more challenging. Be sure to take extra care climbing in and out of those local bodies of water.
So, with those cautions and nuggets of advice in mind, it is time to start some serious planning. Somebody should call Wavy Gravy and ask him to make sure the Hog Farm bus is tuned up and ready to roll. And for a culinary trip down “memory lane,” ask him to bring along the granola recipe he prepared as his iconic “breakfast in bed for 400,000” in 1969.
Finally, it will be important to have adequate medical services on hand this time. Dr. Bill Abruzzi (the “Rock Doc”) achieved stardom for his treatment of “bad trips” at Woodstock and other rock concerts, but his talents (if he can even be located) may be less in demand this time. For next year’s anniversary, organizers should line up medical staff with skills appropriate to the needs of those most likely to be in attendance … in other words, doctors with experience in geriatric medicine … who accept Medicare.