Everybody’s talking about it. The 50th anniversary of the iconic Woodstock concert that took place in August 1969 at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel. How will you celebrate? Will you go to the shows at Bethel Woods, the site of the original concert? Or will you go to the three-day festival in Watkins Glen that is being put on by original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang? Or will you be like me, and go to neither?

Woodstock was an amazing event that has become a piece of our history. But keep in mind, it did not go as planned. When they did finally secure a spot for the concert, it drew in many more people than ever expected. So many, in fact, that people broke through the gates and it became a free concert. There was a lack of food and water, the weather didn’t always cooperate, and there were lots of bad drugs (remember the brown acid?). But somehow, through all the problems, the peace and love attitude got everyone through it. Can that happen again? Do we even want it to happen again? Probably not, because I don’t think the outcome would be what it was in 1969. It’s a different world now.

Michael Lang, who was very much involved with the first Woodstock has put together an impressive lineup of musicians for the Woodstock 50 concert in Watkins Glen. Many newer artists, and really good ones. And also a fair share of artists who were at the original show. How will the mix work? Will it all come together? I hope so. I feel that this concert appeals to mostly younger people, which is what Woodstock was really all about. Peace, love, music, youth, arts, freedom. I think the goal here is for another concert to make the history books, but with solutions for any problems that may arise.

If it’s nostalgia and history that you’re looking for, maybe a trip to Bethel Woods would be better. They are celebrating the anniversary with some great shows including Santana, Arlo Guthrie, and Ringo Starr. Plus quite a few cool presentations in the museum. And you get to be right there where it all happened. I think the goal here is to celebrate the concert that was. The history, the feelings of the youth in 1969, what they stood for, what the music meant, and how it changed their lives.

So I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for. Or maybe you’ll be like me. I’m not going to either venue Aug 15 - 17. Even though I was not at Woodstock, I have made my own concert memories through the years, and they didn’t include not being able to carry a purse, being checked for weapons, and $7 bottles of water. As I mentioned above, it’s a different world now. I’m definitely not going to a three-day event in Watkins Glen, although I hope it’s a huge success. And I probably won’t head to Bethel either, but I also wish them a successful week of celebrating. Whichever way you choose to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock, have fun and be safe!

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