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Woodstock Seen Through A 4 Decade Haze Part 3
Completely throughout that memorable and historic Summer of Love held in 1967, and continuing on into the zenith paramount year Hippiedom which was 1968, it appeared to the majority of Americans that the Hippie movement was truly a new force in the societal structure of the United States of America, and that a completely new and innovative culture was rising like a phoenix from the cold dead ashes of the Fifties Eisenhower nation of the previous generation with its lack of individuality and the adoption of the cookie cutter formats of living. It was clear that the Hippies were growing in influence and number by the day and due to their extremely distinctive apparel, language and the peace sign hand gesture, could easily recognize each other and band together virtually in random synthesis.
The Woodstock Festival of Music and Art and Aquarian Exposition held in August 1969 proved without a shadow of a doubt, and for the rest of American history, that the message and lifestyle of the Hippies had clearly influenced and profoundly changed a whole generation. It is interesting to note that although the stereotype of the Hippie was extremely widespread by the time of the Woodstock Festival, the vast majority of the audience present at Yasgur's Farm at that time did not live in a communal environment and did not practice the brazen promiscuity known as free love at all.
Guitarist for the Who, Pete Townshend, is quoted as saying that the whole scene was chaotic and what was occurring around the stage was totally beyond human comprehension and he continued to state that he had believed that the entire nation had gone insane. He was not the only one with these impressions. The entire Woodstock Festival of Music and Art and Aquarian Exposition might have been a stellar once-in-a-lifetime anthology of all of the popular music and musicians of the age, but it was also a filthy, chaotic, unsanitary, and virtually riotous event which was so out of control that more than half of all the audience left long before the end.
The Woodstock Festival of Music and Art and Aquarian Exposition may have marked the high water point of the Hippie movement which had been generated in San Francisco a couple years earlier by a bunch of acid heads who loved to party and in a typical tent pole curve, the entire movement slid down the slope into demolition in about the same amount of time. Heroin and Speed had begun to infiltrate the San Francisco and New York City Hippie neighborhoods and the Flower Power movement began to be commercialized and adopted by corporations as different as auto manufacturers and airlines.
In 1969 the mock funeral took place in San Francisco to commemorate and mourn the Death Of The Hippie. The Hippie movement, which had for one brief shining moment seemed as if it could have been the true future of humanity, died in a drug-fueled depression.
Where are the Hippies and the Woodstock Generation now? Most are living in comfortable suburban homes or even homes for senior citizens. What became of their ideals? Lost in the mists of time, along with all the rest of America's innocence.
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