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Published:August 15th, 2014 16:37 EST
As Far As The Woodstock Music Festival Goes, I Fall In The 'Worship It As A Cosmic Event' Camp!

As Far As The Woodstock Music Festival Goes, I Fall In The 'Worship It As A Cosmic Event' Camp!

By John G. Kays

The Woodstock Music Festival (An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music) turned 45 years-old-today; as such, I had to read up on some of the stuff that was posted on the internet, as well as pull out my 40th Anniversary Edition (two discs, the director`s cut) in storage, cleaning the discs up/off and popping them into my trusty Samsung player (one at a time, of course) for a fresh watch. It`s back, the magic is still here (for me)!

Watching the Real Deal helps to take the edge off all the hype and spin zoomin` down the pike, through the years that then have a way of piling up to 4 and 1/2 friggin` decades. It starts to get diluted, so returning to the film and the music as the only primary source I can get my hands on, for now (seeing Jerry Garcia roll a jay is an out-of-body-experience). 

Sometime I`d like to pay a visit to the museum in Woodstock; for me, the ambience is still the same as it was when first experiencing the film (a tremendous rush of inspiration!), when I was 17-years-old. 

Santana`s performance is still the best moment for the music, as far as I`m concerned! That will never change; a technicality, just noticed today, is that Carlos and Pete Townsend are both playing Red Gibson SGs. That does it; before the year expires (2014), I`m going to get me a Gibson SG (Black or White), yea, it`s that important and inspiring. The drumming of Marcus Malone (Santana`s original drummer) is the best I`ve ever heard for a rock performance. 

Furthermore, I`m curious about how the show was recorded for the triple vinyl record that came out, then also how the music was recorded for the movie. I suspect it didn`t just come off the soundboard, that there were microphones positioned around the stage, but I just don`t know for sure.

Wikipedia has some particulars about the sound, which was designed by Bill Hanley (maybe the museum has some of these ALTEC designed plywood cabinet loudspeakers, which were 6 feet tall and 4 feet deep, each containing four 15-inch JBL D140 loudspeakers). The technical side of the Festival would make a good documentary (if it hasn`t already been made).

As far as the legacy goes, the picture starts to cloud up a tidbit. I guess I`ve always been it the Worship-It-As-A-Once-In-A-Millennium-Cosmic-Event-Camp. I can deal with the criticism, downplay, and those who say it was a muddy, miserable mess, however! I`ll agree it`s been put up on a pedestal; I`m probably as guilty as anyone for advocating just that. 

Nonetheless, I grew up in Dallas and this event contributed a great deal to softening up the conservative stronghold-grip that`s always had a hold on Dallas. When the news of 400,000 kids got together in Upstate New York for a bit of R & R, the news traveled swiftly across the country, like a big puff of smoke blown in the face of Ma & Pa Kettle! It shuck things up quite a bit! 

It`s safe to say it`s still having the same affect; not over with yet, Jimi waxing the Star-Spangled-Banner doesn`t leave-what it means to be a Great American could just as easily mean Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, or Janis Joplin, as it could, say, John Wayne, Audie Murphy, or Kate Smith! Manson doesn`t nullify three days of Peace, Love, and Music; never did, never will!