Film Review: Woodstock - Three Days That Defined a Generation

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WOODSTOCK

Three Days That Defined A Generation

PBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The important thing that you've proven to the world is that a half a million kids-and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you-a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music!”– Max Yasgur

My life changed in 1994 when I watched the 25th Anniversary Woodstock concert on pay-per-view. Primus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blind Melon, Violent Femmes, and of course, Green Day, all played a major role that weekend in shaping the rest of my life.

Anyone who knows me, knows that when I get intrigued by something, I want to know everything about it. So, my studying begins; Woodstock was no different. I scoured libraries looking for books and music on the original festival, read liner notes to try and understand the protest music of the day, talked with people (like my dad) who lived in the era, and hit up the video stores looking for any extra pieces of the puzzle I could find.

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined A Generation - a 2019 retrospective film in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the legendary concert - takes you directly into the social and political climate of the day that resulted in the massive gathering of peace and music that is the original Woodstock.

But as with anything monumental, there’s always a ton of information already out there on the subject; countless books, films, and documentaries from many different perspectives. In that regard, while this film touches on the different aspects that led to the creation of the festival, and showcases the festival’s three days of music, I personally always dig deeper than the surface (aka the stuff already well-documented) to connect the dots between the past and present to find the similarities and how it relates to the music scene that I know and love today – and there’s plenty of that correlation to be learned from this documentary.

The carefree attitude:

“We didn’t plan where we were going to stay or what we were going to do for food, it was just hey, this sound like fun; Let’s go!”

The community:

“We were looking for answers. We were looking for other people that felt the same way as we did.”

The music:

“There weren’t a lot of people who felt like I did, but I could always escape into my music. These were my friends.”

Just how Woodstock ’94 changed my life, as the title of this film suggests, the original incarnation of the festival changed an entire generation. The big questions I always ask whenever I study the past are: what can we learn from it and how can it apply to today’s generation so their lives can be changed, too? Those really aren’t questions I can answer for you, but perhaps a film such as Woodstock: Three Days That Defined A Generation is a good place for your studying to begin!

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