This past weekend I took a trip to the original site of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in Bethel, New York. August 15-17 marks its 45th anniversary.
It's interesting how it all happened, really; About a month ago I was given the business card of a Massachusetts photographer, who used to shoot for Rolling Stone doing concert photography- he actually has 28 of his photos in the Smithsonian, and has a newly published book of photographs out depicting the Boston Marathon Bombing Memorials (You can check out his work here). I figured I'd take a shot and shoot him an email- to which he replied about a week before this:
To my surprise, he told me he really admired my work and wanted to collaborate with me. He proposed that I visit The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for the Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music screening on the original concert site with him, and if we decided to send out the photos to various publications for review, that he'd split any profits with me. I agreed- I was happy just to have some unique weekend plans.
It turned out, though, that he couldn't make the event, but I still went on my own. It was a 4 hour trek there, a 4 hour screening, and another 4 hours back. I was pretty exhausted by the end; I think that's even an understatement. But, worth it.
There weren't nearly as many people there as we originally thought would be (maybe they're saving it for the 50th?) but there were some important people, and bright & colorful people there. Artie Kornfeld (one of the original music promoters) spoke, the couple wrapped in the blanket featured on the cover of the documentary were there, the 60s on 6 radio host, and others, made appearances.
Not only was it great to see the incredibly soulful performances and intriguing interviews in the documentary, but the coolest part about it all was the placement of the screen. It was placed in the very spot the stage was set; you could look all around you and see the exact same landscape as shown on film. It was a little surreal- it just didn't seem like that tiny field could fit that "city" of people.
Unfortunately, the circumstances just weren't right for anything to "really" come of these photos, but, I still like them and I enjoyed taking them! I'm glad I still attended and I plan on visiting again in the future.