Clearly cut in this editorial article were the two phases of how America perceived the event that was Woodstock. In the first two paragraphs of the editorial, it was depicted that the rest of America perceived the event to be a disaster that could go even bigger. Proof of this claim lies in the constant warnings of radio stations for people to leave the event if they were there and to not push going there if they were planning to, as reported in the Journal’s article. Newspaper editors were also portrayed to have awaited a catastrophe out of the event, and as it is, what newspapers write reflects how the people perceive things.
However, the succeeding paragraphs depicted a seeming change in the American sentiment over Woodstock. Though there have been no concrete quotations in the article about people’s positive reaction towards the event, what the writer expressed as an opinion could have mirrored what the rest of America might have also been thinking. One, the hippies are back and it’s a lovely and loveable thing, as the flowers all around. Two, the event should be seen, more than the nudity and drugs, as a triumphant and previously unimaginable gathering of half a million youths through a “benevolent happenstance. ”
And this, aside from being something to be amazed of and looked up to, is something that could have been seen by the people of America as a feat worthy of respect and emulation. In as much as America has been shocked by the fact that drugs and “obscenity” have become a commonplace for the youth of the nation, it has also been “astonished” that the youth could achieve such a feat. A. What the Event Symbolized and What it Meant to America What the event symbolized for America was explicitly stated in the editorial — Woodstock was the kind of success that could be achieved when there is benevolence among people.
Everyone saw a disaster out of Woodstock in the beginning. People predicted it would end out a havoc. Even hip radio stations warned people against it. It was easy for the Americans to think that such a large gathering of people in such a place would end up to no good, especially when it’s the youth that is involved. However, as the event turned out to be a success, America realized that it is not impossible for people to come together and be in a state of harmony at the same time.
More importantly, Woodstock became a realization for America that the power of benevolence could do such amazing things, and could rise above such adversities as shortage in water, toilets, bad trips, and even thunderstorms. Aside from these, Woodstock symbolized for the rest of America that their youth is not going down the drain. Instead, their youth is worthy of respect and emulation, because amidst the prejudice against their capabilities and their culture, is their power to rise above the adversity and to display such a culture of good will among perfect strangers.
For the parents of America at that time, Woodstock was a “wakeup call’ that their children did something worthy of their approval , and that this is what is important amidst the drugs and the display of nudity. The bottomline is that Woodstock, for America, had become as symbol of both the power of the youth and the power of benevolence, and the beauty that comes when these two powers work together. For the writer, not only was Woodstock Music and Art Fair an “Aquarian Exposition of music and peace . It was much more. It ranked among one of the most important sociological and political events of the decade.
Not only was it the largest happening that ever was in history at the time, it was also a public announcement of the culture of America’s youth in the sixties. It was a manifestation of their “strength, appeal, and power” (TIME, 1969). Along the article, the writer pointed out how massive the gathering was, even estimating that had the roads not been blocked, there would have been a million people between the age of 16-30 at Woodstock. And though the writer acknowledged the presence of the largest gathering of rock idols as a bait for the crowd to come, he pointed out a more analytical reason for the gathering.
According to him, Woodstock was a kind of “pilgrimage” where the youths sought to discover that there were hundreds of thousand of people who shared their culture, in other words, that they are not isolated, as they have previously thought they were (TIME, 1969). The writer was also quick to acknowledge the fact that the old generation of Americans initially saw the event as a “squalid freakout,” but had experienced a change of tune, which included even the New York Times .
Along with this, however, the writer ran a paragraph that told about both the “deplorable” and commendable things about the event that could be the reason for such a two-sided perception of the event. The bad side of Woodstock that the writer perceived included deaths and illnesses from drugs, as well as the deplorable case of sanitation, accommodation, garbage, and rains throughout the event. However, the writer exalted in the fact that “there were no rapes, no assaults, no robberies and, as far as anyone can recall, not one single fight” (TIME, 1969).